2016 Research in the Capitol

Title

Comparing Bee Abundance and Diversity in Candidate Biomass Crops

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Keywords

Bees--Conservation; Bees--Ecology; Bees--Habitat;

Abstract

Over the past 50 years, wild bee populations have been declining due to combined stresses from pesticides, loss of habitat, lack of flowers, and parasites. The need to survey, stabilize and grow wild bee populations is urgent and crucial to future farming success. As the bees draw their own attention, biomass crops are emerging as potential competitors to corn ethanol and fossil fuel energy production. It is important to take into consideration the effects such a landscape change would have. This study compared bee abundance and diversity among different candidate biomass crops to estimate the small-scale effect of each crop on pollinators. Using standard sweep netting methods, we found a higher abundance and greater diversity of bees in biomass crops that were more diverse. Overall, we find that species-rich biomass crops provide better habitat to a greater number of bee species than monoculture biomass crops.

Start Date

29-3-2016 11:30 AM

End Date

29-3-2016 1:30 PM

Event Host

University Honors Programs, Iowa Regent Universities

Faculty Advisor

Kenneth Elgersma

Department

Department of Biology

Comments

Location: Iowa State House, Rotunda, Des Moines, Iowa

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Mar 29th, 11:30 AM Mar 29th, 1:30 PM

Comparing Bee Abundance and Diversity in Candidate Biomass Crops

Over the past 50 years, wild bee populations have been declining due to combined stresses from pesticides, loss of habitat, lack of flowers, and parasites. The need to survey, stabilize and grow wild bee populations is urgent and crucial to future farming success. As the bees draw their own attention, biomass crops are emerging as potential competitors to corn ethanol and fossil fuel energy production. It is important to take into consideration the effects such a landscape change would have. This study compared bee abundance and diversity among different candidate biomass crops to estimate the small-scale effect of each crop on pollinators. Using standard sweep netting methods, we found a higher abundance and greater diversity of bees in biomass crops that were more diverse. Overall, we find that species-rich biomass crops provide better habitat to a greater number of bee species than monoculture biomass crops.