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Effect of Floral Diversity and Urbanization on Bee Species Community Composition in Phoenix, Arizona

Lowe, Adam D., Foltz-Sweat, Jennifer L.
Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 2017 v.47 no.1 pp. 6-18
bees, community structure, gardens, habitats, monitoring, pollinators, population dynamics, species diversity, urbanization, Arizona
A growing trend, motivated in part by reported declines in pollinator populations, is the evaluation of pollinator population dynamics within urban habitats (McIntyre and Hostetler 2001, Cane et al. 2006, Kearns and Oliveras 2009, Bates et al. 2011, Gotlieb et al. 2011, Baldock et al. 2015). Along these lines, we collected preliminary data on bee communities in two degraded urban habitats on the Arizona State University campus (ASUT1 and ASUT2) and the semi-natural desert habitat at Piestewa Peak (PP) within the Phoenix area for five weeks. We predicted that areas sustaining a higher diversity of floral resources would yield a richer group of bee species. We determined that bee relative abundance was higher at the semi-natural site (PP) than either urban site (p=0.02, 0.04). Bee species diversity and richness was higher in the urban habitat than at the semi-natural site (PP) (p=0.04). High floral species richness in surrounding gardens is likely the underlying driver leading to increased bee species richness in the urban site. This report is an initial assessment of an ongoing long-term monitoring study of bees in urban Phoenix.