Landscape composition and configuration affect nest founding but not success of bumble bee colonies in agroecosystems in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada.
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AbstractLandscape structure influenced by land-use is likely to affect pollinator demography. Using naturally colonized nest boxes placed at 27 sites in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, I assessed demographic responses of bumble bees to the availability of resources as inferred from landscape structure (i.e., landscape composition and configuration), and examined the spatial scale that best explained responses to the landscape. I used mixed model regression analysis to model the influence of semi-natural habitat, beneficial agriculture, suburban cover, and habitat edge density, all measured in six radii (250 m - 2500 m) around colonies, on nest founding and success of bumble bee colonies. Semi-natural habitat had no relationship with nest founding and colony success. Nest founding decreased in surroundings with more “beneficial agriculture” cover (i.e., mass flowering berry crops), however, nest founding increased at locations with more edge habitats. Higher amount of suburban cover decreased nest founding. Nest founding was best explained by the landscape at a 1500 m radius around the nest, however, there was no evidence of colony success responding to the landscape at any spatial scale. I conclude that beneficial agriculture and suburban cover had negative consequences for nest founding in bumble bee populations within my study landscape. Edge habitats seemed to attract more bumble bee queens to nest and may maintain bee populations while serving as sources of wild bumble bee pollinators, who might forage within nearby commercial blueberry crops to improve crop yield.
CitationKwafo, R. (2021). Landscape composition and configuration affect nest founding but not success of bumble bee colonies in agroecosystems in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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