Ian Gingerich: Independent Projects and Midsummer

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts from Whitties studying on Whitman’s Crossroads: Pollination Biology in Sweden program this summer with Professor Heidi Dobson. Ian Gingerich ’19  plans to major in biology.

Hello! Exciting times here at Station Linné! We have a week left, and we are all right in the thick of things. Everyone is working on independent projects, and studying for the final. The lab has been very busy with people mounting insects, collecting data, and making graphs of their findings. The photo on the right is an example of the honeybees we have been catching around the Station. For my project I’ve been looking at the pollen baskets on different species of bees and doing weight comparisons.

Last Friday was midsummer and here in Sweden it’s a big deal. We went to a nearby village and danced around under a maypole with the entire town.

Afterwards were had a big dinner with everyone in the Station. It was a ton of fun!  A fun thing everyone does on midsummer is make flower crowns. It seems even the dogs here like to dress up!

Tomorrow we are headed to a big summer market! Everyone is excited, despite the looming plant and insect identification test that is also happening tomorrow.

Natalie Gregorius: On “becoming an insect”

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts from Whitties studying on Whitman’s Crossroads: Pollination Biology in Sweden program this summer with Professor Heidi Dobson. Natalie Gregorius ’19  plans to major in biology-environmental studies.

Stepping outside is stepping into another world at Station Linné. You are no longer in a human dominated world, but a world that belongs to the buzzing of pollinating bumble bees, the stretching of opening flowers, and the talking of birds. We constantly view the world from our perspective and make assumptions about the lives of these organisms. After two weeks of studying pollination biology, this common perspective we have has changed to that of the organisms, revealing their intricate and essential roles within our ecosystems. One of the most important pieces of advice I have gained thus far at Station Linné is to “become the insect” (a quote from our professor, Heidi). By becoming the insects that we have observed, collected, and identified, I am able to slip into the incredible world of pollination where flowers emit odors to attract visitors and worker honeybees cooperate to raise their entire colony. We owe a lot to these organisms that participate in the continuation of plant species, more than I knew before emerging myself into their lives.

I think that there is a lot to learn from the study of pollination biology, especially in terms of how organisms interact and relate to each other. It is amazing how a relationship between a flower growing from the minerals and chemical compounds in the soil can respond and influence a pollinator that originates in a completely different way. Our world is full of unusual relationships and collaborations that we can learn from and apply to our own human world.

We have three more weeks of waking up to the sun at 4 am, wandering through meadows of flowers, putting insects into glass vials to identify, biking the dirt roads of Skogsby, and learning about the astonishing world of pollination. I look forward to all these moments and will miss this beautiful island with its small wonders hidden everywhere.


Allie Seracuse: Hej from Sweden again!!

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts from Whitties studying on Whitman’s Crossroads: Pollination Biology in Sweden program this summer with Professor Heidi Dobson. Allie Seracuse ’20  plans to major in biology.

Hej from Sweden again!!

Now we are getting settled into the station that we are sharing with around 20 researchers.  Although there have been some minor setbacks (for me mostly in the kitchen… chili does not include cinnamon), we are having a blast.  The time here is flying by and each day is full of activities. With the sun setting at around 11 pm (these sunsets are the perfect end to a busy day), there is plenty of daylight for us to use every minute.  




On the weekends we have visited Kalmar, the local town of about 30,000, which is situated just across the bridge on the mainland.  Here we got to see the castle and wander the cobblestone streets in search of lunch and chocolate shops.  

Along the way we found some cool art like this!!!!

We also visited a lighthouse this past weekend.  Here we got to go all the way to the top of this 1700’s lighthouse!  What a view!  

We were taught about the bird tagging project at the southern tip of the island.  Here they keep track of the migrating birds population and can see any changes over the years.

Finally we got to explore the island a little bit on our own!  This is my favorite type of traveling, because it is how my mom and dad discover new countries, and have taught me to explore a new world.  In this way we found a beach and a sand soccer field (my coach will be very happy to know I have been playing).  And how could we avoid going for a swim!  The water wasn’t too salty and was very warm too.


I have just bought a ticket to First Aid Kit, a Swedish band, who will be performing in a castle on the island and can’t wait.  I am so excited to get to know this country more though exploring the windmill riddled country sides and narrow city streets.

Bye for now!

Allie Seracuse

Oh I almost forgot, we are making sure to try all the Swedish treats!!