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Abundant, distinct, and seasonally dynamic bee community in the canopy-aerosphere interface above a temperate forest
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  • Michael Cunningham-Minnick,
  • Milam J,
  • Kane B,
  • Henry Roberts,
  • King DI
Michael Cunningham-Minnick
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Corresponding Author:mcunninghamm@umass.edu

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Milam J
University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Kane B
University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Henry Roberts
University of Massachusetts Amherst
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King DI
USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station
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Abstract

1. Our understanding of how bees (Apoidea) use temperate forests is largely limited to sampling the understory and forest floor. Studies over the last decade have demonstrated that bee communities are vertically stratified within forests, yet the ecology of bee assemblages immediately above the canopy, the canopy-aerosphere interface, remains unexplored. 2. We sampled and compared bee communities above the canopy of a temperate forest to the understory (1 m), midstory (10 m), and canopy (20 m) on the campus of the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, Massachusetts, USA from April – August, 2021. 3. Overall, we found that assemblages above the canopy had more bees than in the understory, were distinct in composition from all other strata, and included the greatest proportion of unique species. Bee abundance and species richness were highest in the understory throughout the spring (April and May) and decreased as the season progressed, while bee abundance and species richness at higher strata increased into the summer months. We also found that bees with preferences to nest in moist and rotting wood were largely restricted to canopy and midstory strata. 4. We conclude that bee assemblages occupying the space above the forest canopy are abundant and diverse, and their unique composition suggests that this canopy-aerosphere interface plays an additional role in the bee community of temperate forests. Alternatively, our findings question how forest bee communities should be defined while highlighting the need for research on fundamental processes governing species stratification in and above the canopy.
19 Sep 2022Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
20 Sep 2022Assigned to Editor
20 Sep 2022Submission Checks Completed
22 Sep 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
21 Oct 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
23 Oct 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor