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Changes in the bee fauna (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of an old field site in southern Ontario, revisited after 34 years

  • Jennifer C. Grixti (a1) and Laurence Packer (a1)


We investigated changes in a wild bee community by repeating a detailed historical study of bee biodiversity in Ontario. In 1968 and 1969 (period 1), an inventory of bee species was taken from an old field habitat in southern Ontario. We resampled the bee fauna in 2002 and 2003 (period 2), following the same methods. Bee species richness, diversity, and evenness were significantly greater in period 2, and this was observed in all functional guilds except wood-nesting, pollen specialist, and nonnative bees. In period 2, a total of 150 bee species were found (2002, 98 species; 2003, 143 species), whereas in period 1, a total of 105 species were found (1968, 98 species; 1969, 76 species). Although 90 bee species collected in period 1 were re-collected in period 2, bee community composition was remarkably different between periods, with an estimated community similarity of only 7.5%. Changes in the bee fauna, specifically the increase in the proportions of pollen specialist and wood-nesting bees, might be best explained by changes in the habitat as a result of succession over the intervening 34 years. We compare and contrast our findings of bee community change with the published literature and discuss the possible factors driving the change.

Nous avons étudié les changements dans une communauté d'abeilles sauvages en répétant une étude détaillée de la biodiversité des abeilles réalisée en Ontario dans le passé. En 1968 et 1969 (période 1), un inventaire a été fait des espèces d'abeilles dans un habitat de champ abandonné dans le sud de l'Ontario. Nous avons refait l'inventaire de la faune d'abeilles en 2002 et 2003 (période 2) en utilisant la même méthodologie. La richesse spécifique, la diversité et l'équitabilité des abeilles étaient toutes significativement plus élevées dans la période 2 et cela dans toutes les guildes fonctionnelles, à l'exception des espèces qui nichent dans le bois, des spécialistes du pollen et des abeilles non indigènes. Un total de 150 espèces d'abeilles a été récolté (98 espèces en 2002 et 143 espèces en 2003) durant la période 2 et de 105 espèces (98 espèces en 1968 et 76 espèces en 1969) durant la période 1. Bien que 90 espèces de la période 1 aient été retrouvées durant la période 2, la composition de la communauté d'abeilles avait changé de façon remarquable d'une période à l'autre avec une similarité des communautés estimée à seulement 7,5 %. Les changements dans la faune des abeilles, en particulier dans la proportion de spécialistes individuels de pollen et d'abeilles nichant dans le bois, s'expliquent probablement le mieux par les changements de l'habitat résultant de la succession écologique au cours de ces 34 années intermédiaires. Nous comparons nos résultats sur la modification de la communauté d'abeilles avec les résultats de la littérature scientifique et nous discutons des facteurs possibles responsables du changement.

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Changes in the bee fauna (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) of an old field site in southern Ontario, revisited after 34 years

  • Jennifer C. Grixti (a1) and Laurence Packer (a1)


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