Master of Science (MS)
Longleaf pine savannas are perhaps the most threatened ecosystems in North America. Despite a well documented and highly diverse flora, little has been published on insects in general and, in particular, on bees that provide the valuable service of plant pollination. Thus, the aims of this study were to: 1) survey bees found in two savanna types in southeastern Louisiana; and 2) contrast the diversity and species composition of these two savanna types. An ancillary goal was to contrast two collecting protocols for bees in the savanna habitat. Overall, a total of 3,407 bees were collected representing 125 species. Of these, there were two possible new species, 67 state records, and 23 range extensions. Upland savannas consistently showed higher richness and abundance than the wet savanna by about ten species and by many hundreds of individuals. Despite this, diversity statistics yielded no significant differences. Similarity indices between upland savanna sites were consistently more similar than to the wet savanna sites, suggesting greater compositional similarities within upland sites. Of the two collecting protocols compared, both were effective at collecting bees though pan traps showed a tendency to capture more species and individuals than malaise traps. There were several management implications of this research. First, a savanna in the early stages of restoration had a relatively high level of bee diversity suggesting pollinators are capable of rapid colonization or recovery in this ecosystem. Second, there was a trend toward increased bee abundance and richness after prescribed fires consistent with increased flowering after fires. Third, size of preserve appeared to have no effect on bee diversity. An important outcome of this study was creation of a checklist of bees with distributional and biological information for each species.
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Bartholomew, Chanda Sara, "Bees associated with Louisiana longleaf pine savannas" (2004). LSU Master's Theses. 128.