An investigation into bee assemblage change along an urban-rural gradient

Fowler, Robert Edward (2015). An investigation into bee assemblage change along an urban-rural gradient. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Urban densification and a rise in human population call for greater investigation into how the urban-rural gradient can influence bees and their pollination services. This thesis aimed to further current knowledge by: (i) sampling bee assemblages along the urban-rural gradient in Birmingham, UK; (ii) increasing documentation of bee traits associated with pollen carryover; (iii) incorporating a trait-based analysis to bee assemblage change along the urban-rural gradient; (iv) testing whether the pollination services along the same gradient varied between land-use types and (v) investigating the provisioning and reproductive success of bees in the urban environment. This thesis supports previous evidence of species-specific variation by urbanisation and shows how trait composition and trait diversity are influenced by bee assemblage change along the urban-rural gradient. However, this recorded assemblage and trait variation appeared not to alter seed-set in Campanula glomerata between urban and rural areas. I also found that nutritional quality could play an important role in provisioning rate in the solitary bee \(Osmia\) \(bicornis\), with greater offspring produced in sites where more protein was found in provisioned pollen in urban areas. Furthermore, the inter-specific variation in pilosity (which could have an important role to play in pollen carryover and subsequent pollination) can be explained by body size and species’ pollen transport adaptation. From this work, I suggest trait based analysis could be a common framework for future studies to measure bee assemblage change between urban and rural areas. Moreover, this research builds on previous work which suggests that particular traits affect pollen transport and subsequent pollination, and that further detailed study could give clues as to how changing bee assemblages could influence pollination.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QL Zoology


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