Native bees in the urban jungle: Effects of urbanization on community composition

Monday, November 17, 2014: 11:48 AM
C123 (Oregon Convention Center)
Kimberly Ballare , Graduate Program in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Texas, Austin, TX
Shalene Jha , Integrative Biology, University of Texas, Austin, TX
Urbanization is happening at a faster and faster rate across the globe, with over 60% of the human population expected to live in cities by 2030.  This creates urgency to assess the impacts of urbanization on wildlife populations and ecological processes.  Native bees are a group of particular importance to study in urban areas as many species are likely in decline due to human activities and land-use change, and thus the pollination services they provide may also be at risk.  However, we currently know very little about how urbanization affects native bee community composition. From May – August 2013 I conducted a community-level survey of native bees and flowering plants at 20 agricultural and parkland sites in and around the urban core of Austin, TX. Over 5000 total bee specimens were collected.  Preliminary results from a subset of collected specimens suggest that both bee and floral species richness is greater at urban vs rural sites.   Future analyses will include GIS investigation of local and landscape features as predictors of both bee community composition and genetic population structure of selected bee species.
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