Wild bee species abundance and richness across an urban–rural gradient
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Choate, Beth A.
Hickman, Paige L.
Moretti, Erica A.
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SubjectBee conservation; Biodiversity; Urban development; Nesting behaviors; Floral preferences; Land use
Long-term and widespread monitoring programs are essential to understanding the role of human-dominated landscapes in supporting wild bee populations. Urbanization results in increased impervious surfaces throughout the landscape, fragmentation of green space, and a loss of naturally occurring floral vegetation. All of these changes have a negative impact on pollinator diversity. The objective of this study was to assess the abundance and richness of wild bee species throughout a small city in northwest Pennsylvania and identify how management of land throughout the city may influence bee communities. Seventeen sites across a land use gradient, moving from areas with large open spaces and mainly permeable surfaces, to sites in the city center consisting of mainly impermeable surfaces, were sampled over a 2-year period. During this time, 106 known species were identified with four state records and 1 undescribed species. Bee species richness was greatest at sites with the largest amount of permeable surface and naturally-occurring, native vegetation. Richness decreased on the college campus and city center where landscapes were highly managed and impermeable surfaces were most abundant. While floral richness was not related to bee abundance and richness, the number of open blooms near traps did have a positive impact on bee species richness. Overall, this survey revealed considerable richness never before recorded for northwest Pennsylvania, suggesting the importance of conservation management in homeowner and community yard space.