Lower bumblebee colony reproductive success in agricultural compared with urban environments

Author: Samuelson, A. E., Gill, R. J., Brown, M. J. F., & Leadbeater, E.

Description: Urbanization represents a rapidly growing driver of land-use change. While it is clear that urbanization impacts species abundance and diversity, direct effects of urban land use on animal reproductive success are rarely documented. Here, we show that urban land use is linked to long-term colony reproductive output in a key pollinator. We reared colonies from wild-caught bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) queens, placed them at sites characterized by varying degrees of urbanization from inner city to rural farmland and monitored the production of sexual offspring across the entire colony cycle. Our land-use cluster analysis identified three site categories, and this categorization was a strong predictor of colony performance. Crucially, colonies in the two clusters characterized by urban development produced more sexual offspring than those in the cluster dominated by agricultural land. These colonies also reached higher peak size, had more food stores, encountered fewer parasite invasions and survived for longer. Our results show a link between urbanization and bumblebee colony reproductive success, supporting the theory that urban areas provide a refuge for pollinator populations in an otherwise barren agricultural landscape.

Subject headings: Animals; Bees; Cities, England; Environment; Farms; London; Reproduction; Bombus terrestris; Land use; Pollinator ecology; Reproductive success; Urbanization

Publication year: 2018

Journal or book title: Proceedings. Biological Sciences

Volume: 285

Issue: 1881

Pages: 20180807

Find the full text:  https://www.strategian.com/fulltext/SamuelsonA2018.pdf

Find more like this one (cited by): https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=3980538417374708783&as_sdt=1000005&sciodt=0,16&hl=en

Type: Journal article

Serial number: 3093

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.