Date of Award
Master of Science
Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Diane M. Debinski
Brian J. Wilsey
In the face of rapidly declining pollinator populations, habitat restoration is increasingly being used to 1) help stabilize and enhance pollinator numbers by providing pollen and nectar resources throughout the growing season and 2) create habitat for bee nesting. This study aims to evaluate the efficacy of tallgrass prairie reconstructions and pollinator habitat plantings, which have been promoted through the U.S. Farm Service Agency as a part of their Pollinator Habitat Initiative for the conservation of bees and other pollinators. Evaluation occurred by comparing floral and bee species richness, abundance, and Shannon diversity at pollinator habitat plantings (N=5), tallgrass prairie reconstructions (N=6), and remnant tallgrass prairies (N=6). Additionally, community composition for both floral and bee species was examined to determine dissimilarity among site types. Floral resource availability data were collected using standardized inflorescence counts. Bee data were collected using sweep netting and pollinator bowl traps. We found no significant differences in floral resource availability among site types in 2014. However, floral resource richness was significantly lower at pollinator habitat planting sites than either reconstruction or remnant sites in the year 2015. Similar to floral resource availability in 2014, we found no significant differences in bee abundance, species richness, or diversity among site types for 2014 and 2015. However, the floral and bee community compositions of pollinator habitat plantings were significantly different than either reconstruction sites and remnant sites, which were nearly equivalent. These results suggest that pollinator habitat plantings and reconstruction sites may be providing similar floral resources and supporting similar bee abundances, species richness, and diversity as remnant prairies, but pollinator habitat plantings are catering to a significantly different community of floral resources and bees.
Haley, Hilary, "Evaluating native bee community responses to tallgrass prairie habitat restorations" (2018). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 16367.