Patch-level and landscape-level correlates of suburban bee diversity.
Fetridge, Evelyn*,1, Langellotto, Gail2, Ascher, John3, 1 Fordham University, Bronx, NY2 Fordham University, Bronx, NY3 American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY
ABSTRACT- Developed landscapes are both evolutionarily novel and, for certain taxa, potentially hospitable. Bees, which are highly mobile, may be able to navigate between fragmented habitat patches occurring in suburban and urban areas, and may thrive on plant populations established by humans. Frequent ornamental flower gardens make suburban areas, in particular, potentially important conservatories for bee diversity. I assessed bee diversity and abundance in 20 suburban gardens in greater metropolitan New York using UV pan traps and hand collection in July of 2005. To address whether amount of green space in the landscape surrounding each garden is correlated with diversity and abundance of bees, I ranked the gardens by percent green space within a 1 km radius. I found that a diverse and beneficial assemblage of flower-visiting bees utilizes suburban flower gardens. Greater than 23 species, representing 12 genera, were hand-collected. Analysis of the effects of 1) lot size, and 2) surrounding green space on relative bee abundance showed no significant differences between smaller and larger lots and gardens with greater or lesser surrounding green space. These results suggest that bee communities may be relatively insensitive to development density in suburban areas. Since much of privately and publicly-owned green space in suburbia is lawn, green space may not be a good indicator of bee habitat. Further GIS analysis of habitat surrounding the gardens will allow a more detailed look at landscape-level features affecting the suburban bee community.
Key words: apoidea, biodiversity, suburban ecosystem
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