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Six years of wild bee monitoring shows dramatic seasonal shifts in biodiversity and species declines
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  • Nash Turley,
  • Neelendra Joshi,
  • David Biddinger,
  • Margarita López-Uribe
Nash Turley
The Pennsylvania State University Department of Entomology

Corresponding Author:nashuagoats@gmail.com

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Neelendra Joshi
University of Arkansas Department of Entomology
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David Biddinger
The Pennsylvania State University
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Margarita López-Uribe
The Pennsylvania State University Department of Entomology
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Wild bees form diverse communities that pollinate plants in both native and agricultural ecosystems making them both ecologically and economically important. The growing evidence of bee declines has sparked increased interest in monitoring bee community and population dynamics using standardized methods. Here, we studied the dynamics of bee biodiversity within and across years by monitoring wild bees adjacent to four apple orchard locations in Southern Pennsylvania, USA. We collected bees using passive Blue Vane traps continuously from April to October for six years amassing over 26,000 bees representing 144 species. We quantified total abundance, richness, diversity, composition, and phylogenetic structure. There were large seasonal changes in all measures of biodiversity with month explaining an average of 72% of the variation in our models. Changes over time were less dramatic with years explaining an average of 44% of the variation in biodiversity metrics. We found declines in all measures of biodiversity especially in the last 3 years. Analyses of population trends over time for the 40 most abundant species indicate that about one third of species showed at least some evidence for declines in abundance. Bee family explained variation in species-level seasonal patterns but we found no consistent family-level patterns in declines, though bumble bees and sweat bees were groups that declined the most. Overall, our results show that season-wide standardized sampling across multiple years can reveal nuanced patterns in bee biodiversity, phenological patterns of bees, and population trends over time of many co-occurring species. These datasets could be used to quantify the relative effects that different aspects of environmental change have on bee communities and to help prioritize conservation efforts.
25 Mar 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
26 Mar 2022Submission Checks Completed
26 Mar 2022Assigned to Editor
28 Mar 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
24 Apr 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
04 May 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
04 Jul 20221st Revision Received
05 Jul 2022Submission Checks Completed
05 Jul 2022Assigned to Editor
05 Jul 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
11 Jul 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
15 Jul 20222nd Revision Received
16 Jul 2022Submission Checks Completed
16 Jul 2022Assigned to Editor
16 Jul 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
19 Jul 2022Editorial Decision: Accept