Reconstructing the ecological history of native California bees using preserved museum specimens

Tuesday, November 12, 2013: 11:00 AM
Meeting Room 6 B (Austin Convention Center)
S. Hollis Woodard , Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Bumble bees (family Apidae, genus Bombus) play an enormously important role in both agricultural and natural ecosystems, and yet several species are exhibiting precipitous population declines. A major factor that appears to be negatively impacting bumble bee populations is habit loss. Loss of habitat leads to the unavailability of important resources, such as floral food, which may result in nutritional deficiencies that negatively impact bee physiology and behavior.  Across the annual colony cycle, nutrients may vary in their availability and importance to bumble bees, and nutritional requirements might also differ between queens, workers, and male bees. Here, we discuss the nutritional requirements of bumble bees and how these fluctuate across the annual colony cycle. Additionally, we discuss the ways in which this line of research can contribute to strategies for conserving our native bumble bees.