Annual Variation in Bee Community Structure in the Context of Disturbance (Niagara Region, South-Western Ontario)
Cordero, Rodrigo Leon
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This study examined annual variation in phenology, abundance and diversity of a bee community during 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2008 in recovered landscapes at the southern end of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. Overall, 8139 individuals were collected from 26 genera and sub-genera and at least 57 species. These individuals belonged to the 5 families found in eastern North America (Andrenidae, Apidae, Colletidae, Halictidae and Megachilidae). The bee community was characterized by three distinct periods of flight activity over the four years studied (early spring, late spring/early summer, and late summer). The number of bees collected in spring was significantly higher than those collected in summer. In 2003 and 2006 abundance was higher, seasons started earlier and lasted longer than in 2004 and 2008, as a result of annual rainfall fluctuations. Differences in abundance for low and high disturbance sites decreased with years. Annual trends of generic richness resembled those detected for species. Likewise, similarity in genus and species composition decreased with time. Abundant and common taxa (13 genera and 18 species) were more persistent than rarer taxa being largely responsible for the annual fluctuations of the overall community. Numerous species were sporadic or newly introduced. The invasive species Anthidium oblongatum was first recorded in Niagara in 2006 and 2008. Previously detected seasonal variation patterns were confirmed. Furthermore, this study contributed to improve our knowledge of temporal dynamics of bee communities. Understanding temporal variation in bee communities is relevant to assessing impacts caused on their habitats by diverse disturbances.