Calling All Gardeners in Corvallis and Portland 

My mother introduced me to gardening at a young age, growing parsley, tomatoes, marigolds, and basil. With spending much time in the garden, so came spending time with the insects. We would catch bumble bees in little jars to look at before letting them continue with their day. We would ooh and ahh over the butterflies that would visit our lilac bush in the late spring. With learning to garden came an interest in insects that I could not shake. With optimism that I would find a field that I would connect with, I started my voyage within academia in general Biology. Through a series of university transfers and focusing my passions, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Botany and Entomology from Oregon State University in September of 2023. During my time as an undergraduate student, I came across a paper discussing pollinators in the Arctic. I knew little about the process of pollination in an environment of such varying climates, and soon came to learn that flies were one of the most predominant pollinators in this curious ecosystem.  

I took this image in 2021 of the garden space I was lucky to spend my time in. Featured is my beautiful dog, Francis, who is also a fan of insects!

Thus began my exploration into the world of fly pollinators. Underexamined and typically unassuming, I became enamored by these curious insects. As I was living between temperate and continental climates, moving from British Columbia, Quebec, New York, and Oregon, I looked to the ecosystems that I interacted with. Though “flashier” than the arctic muscid fly, as seen in the compelling report by Tiusanen et al. (2016), flower flies became both my academic and personal ardor. Also known as hover flies and syrphid flies, flower flies are integral pollinators in urban environments. Stopping at the flowering bushes and herbs during the blooming seasons to hunt for the flower flies and watching videos about them during the colder months, I ceased to subdue my fascination.  

A beautiful image of the flower fly, Eristalinus aeneu. Photo by: Gabe Schp (CC0 1.0). Source:

During the final term of my undergraduate degree at Oregon State University, I met Dr. Langellotto who shared my adoration for flower flies. Dr. Langellotto introduced me to the predatory nature of flower fly larvae, expanding my once-exclusively lens of flower flies as pollinators to flower flies as essential managers of insect pests, such as aphids and mealybugs. Under the expert advisement of Dr. Langellotto, I began my master’s degree at the beginning of April 2024 and have dedicated my thesis project to my flower fly friends. As an ode to all invertebrate and vertebrate pollinators, entomologists, gardeners, citizen scientists, and nature-enjoyers, I hope that my research project calls to you. 

Image of predatory Dioprosopa clavate larva consuming aphids. Photo by: Juan Carlos Fonseca Mata (CC BY-SA 4.0). Source:

Thus comes my announcement for folks who garden. For this Summer 2024, the researchers of the Garden Ecology Lab are looking for people who garden in Corvallis or Portland, Oregon, to participate in a study of flower flies. In this study, student researchers of the lab will be examining how garden size, tree cover, and floral abundance changes the composition of flower flies. Excellent at mimicry, voracious predators of plant pests as larvae, and valuable pollinators as adults, flower flies are important insects in urban garden systems. Also known as hover flies or syrphid flies, they are often seen on warm and sunny days collecting nectar. We are looking for gardens of many kinds; whether it is entirely covered by trees, without trees, a garden with a great variety of flowering plants, an edible garden, a highly maintained garden, or a minimally maintained garden. A wide range of garden types will allow us to see patterns in what attracts flower flies to urban gardens.  

If you are interested in volunteering your garden for the experiment of flower fly species composition, click on this link:

In a second, more informal experiment, student researchers of the lab will be looking at food preference of flower fly larvae. We will look at flower flies that predate on aphids and if there are aphid species of greater interest to the larvae. To narrow down this study, we will look at Brassicas in edible gardens. Brassicas are a family of plants that include broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, arugula, radishes, collards, mustard greens, and turnips. 

If you are interested in volunteering your garden for the Brassica experiment, follow this link:

If you are interested in sharing your garden in either of these studies, please submit your interest by May 20th, 2024, following the surveys above. After this date, we will close the surveys and contact participants if they were selected by June 1, 2024. If selected, your garden will be surveyed once a month between mid-June and mid-October 2024. 


  1. Tiusanen, M., Hebert, P.D.N., Martin Schmidt, N., & Roslin, T. (2016). One fly to rule them all- muscid flies are the key pollinators in the Arctic. Proceedings B, 283: 1839.