Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6590-2991

Defense Date

2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Rodney Dyer

Abstract

Insect pollination is vital to ecosystem function. However, climate change, habitat loss, pesticides, and a variety of other anthropogenic sources are contributing to a decline in pollinator diversity. Fragile small ecosystems with a high composition of specialized plant species that rely on specific pollinators such as Appalachian shale barrens, are especially at risk of losing biodiversity. This study combines the use of active sweep net sampling of endemic shale barren forbs and passive trap methods over the course of a bloom season (April-August) in three barren sites to identify bee community populations and visitation relationships between pollinator species and endemic flowers. From all samples, 72 species of bees were identified. Both Shannon’s Diversity Index and a rarefaction analysis of Month x Site indicate May is a time of highest species diversity for bees. Among individuals caught visiting flowers, June was indicated as a time of highest flower visitations. A pollinator network was created to identify unique relationships between pollinators and flowers, providing information on species of particular value to those systems for future conservation purposes. Species records from this survey contribute to expanding the currently limited data on bee species range, life history, and flower associations.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

8-3-2020

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