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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology of Eastern Tallgrass Prairie: Integrating Issues of Management and Restoration for the 21st Century

Hendrix, Stephen [1], Kwaiser, Kyle [1], Hemsley, Chiara [1].

The effects of local and landscape features on diversity of solitary bees in tallgrass prairie remnants.

Solitary bees are critical pollinators of prairie forbs and therefore contribute substantially to the plant diversity of the tallgrass prairie. However, our understanding of the factors that affect solitary bee diversity at prairie remnants is incomplete because the foraging and nesting activities of bees may include the landscape surrounding remnants as well as the remnants themselves. In this study, we examined diversity of bee and floral communities at prairie remnants and surrounding landscape elements in Iowa. Our results indicate that the diversity (Shannon-Wiener Index) of solitary bees at large preserves (11-60 ha) was best predicted by the diversity and abundance of floral resources used by solitary bees at the site itself. In contrast, the richness of solitary bees at large remnants was best predicted by a measure of the floral resources in the landscape surrounding sites at a radius of 1 km. Relatively small remnants (less than 5 ha) also attract substantial bee communities. The abundance of many cavity nesting bees was greater at small, unmanaged remnants compared to large prairie preserves, possibly because of the abundance of stems of weedy species that could be used for nesting. Grasslands with few floral resources near large prairie preserves contain regionally common bee species in low abundance, suggesting they provide some nesting opportunities. Cornfields that dominate the Iowa landscape contain up to 10 common bee species in early summer, but have greatly reduced richness from mid- to late summer. Our results indicate that the bee communities of Iowa’s tallgrass prairie remnants are primarily dependent on them for floral resources and nesting opportunities, but the surrounding landscape, particularly the grasslands, can provide additional important resources and contribute to bee species richness. We suggest that prairie management objectives be expanded to include surrounding landscapes, ideally to areas within 1 km of the remnant.

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1 - University of Iowa, Department of Biology, 143 Biology Building, Iowa City, IA, 52242, USA

bee diversity
Tallgrass prairie
bee floral resources
landscape effects on bees
bees and grasslands.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: SY18
Location: Williford B/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007
Time: 1:00 PM
Number: SY18008
Abstract ID:1276

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