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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2015

Authors: Hulsmann, M; von Wehrden, H; Klein, AM; Leonhardt, SD

Title: Plant diversity and composition compensate for negative effects of urbanization on foraging bumble bees.

Source: Apidologie. 2015; 46(6): 760-770.

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

von Wehrden Henrik

Vetmed Research Units
Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, Conservation Medicine

Bumble bees play an important role as pollinators of many crop plants and wild flowers. As in many wild bees, their abundance and diversity have declined in recent years, which may threaten the stability of pollination services. The observed decline is often linked with the loss or alteration of natural habitat, e.g., through urbanization, the conversion of natural habitat into largely sealed areas (concrete) inhabited by humans. The effects of urbanization on bumble bees remain as yet controversial with both positive and negative effects reported. We investigated how habitat isolation through increasing areas of concrete, as well as the diversity, abundance, and community composition of floral resources, determine bumble bee abundance and diversity in cities. We found plant species diversity and abundance to be more important than the amount of concrete in driving the abundance and species richness of common bumble bees in a German city. Moreover, plant species composition, i.e., the presence of specific plant species and families (e.g., Fabaceae), played a prominent role. In particular, flower-rich parks and gardens can offer a continuous food supply for bumble bees and attract bumble bee foragers even to isolated patches in the city center.

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