An interspecific comparison of foraging range and nest density of four bumblebees (Bombus) species

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Knight, M. E., Martin, A. P., Bishop, S., Osborne, J. L., Hale, R. J., Sanderson, A. and Goulson, D. 2005. An interspecific comparison of foraging range and nest density of four bumblebees (Bombus) species. Molecular Ecology. 14 (6), pp. 1811-1820.

AuthorsKnight, M. E., Martin, A. P., Bishop, S., Osborne, J. L., Hale, R. J., Sanderson, A. and Goulson, D.
Abstract

Bumblebees are major pollinators of crops and wildflowers in northern temperate regions. Knowledge of their ecology is vital for the design of effective management and conservation strategies but key aspects remain poorly understood. Here we employed microsatellite markers to estimate and compare foraging range and nest density among four UK species: Bombus terrestris, Bombus pascuorum, Bombus lapidarius, and Bombus pratorum. Workers were sampled along a 1.5-km linear transect across arable farmland. Eight or nine polymorphic microsatellite markers were then used to identify putative sisters. In accordance with previous studies, minimum estimated maximum foraging range was greatest for B. terrestris (758 m) and least for B. pascuorum (449 m). The estimate for B. lapidarius was similar to B. pascuorum (450 m), while that of B. pratorum was intermediate (674 m). Since the area of forage available to bees increases as the square of foraging range, these differences correspond to a threefold variation in the area used by bumblebee nests of different species. Possible explanations for these differences are discussed. Estimates for nest density at the times of sampling were 29, 68, 117, and 26/km(2) for B. terrestris, B. pascuorum, B. lapidarius and B. pratorum, respectively. These data suggest that even among the most common British bumblebee species, significant differences in fundamental aspects of their ecology exist, a finding that should be reflected in management and conservation strategies.

KeywordsBiochemistry & Molecular Biology; Ecology; Evolutionary Biology
Year of Publication2005
JournalMolecular Ecology
Journal citation14 (6), pp. 1811-1820
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2005.02540.x
PubMed ID15836652
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or code509
Spatial modelling of Bombus terrestris and B. pascuorum populations in agricultural landscapes
Behavioural ecology of pollinators
PublisherWiley
Grant IDBB/E000932/1
ISSN0962-1083

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