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Bumblebee family lineage survival is enhanced in high-quality landscapes

Carvell, Claire; Bourke, Andrew F.G.; Dreier, Stephanie; Freeman, Stephen N.; Hulmes, Sarah; Jordan, William C.; Redhead, John W.; Sumner, Seirian; Wang, Jinliang; Heard, Matthew S.. 2017 Bumblebee family lineage survival is enhanced in high-quality landscapes. Nature, 543 (7646). 547-549. 10.1038/nature21709

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Abstract/Summary

Insect pollinators such as bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are in global decline. A major cause of this decline is habitat loss due to agricultural intensification. A range of global and national initiatives aimed at restoring pollinator habitats and populations have been developed. However, the success of these initiatives depends critically upon understanding how landscape change affects key population-level parameters, such as survival between lifecycle stages, in target species. This knowledge is lacking for bumblebees, because of the difficulty of systematically finding and monitoring colonies in the wild. We used a combination of habitat manipulation, land-use and habitat surveys, molecular genetics and demographic and spatial modelling to analyse between-year survival of family lineages in field populations of three bumblebee species. Here we show that the survival of family lineages from the summer worker to the spring queen stage in the following year increases significantly with the proportion of high-value foraging habitat, including spring floral resources, within 250–1,000 m of the natal colony. This provides evidence for a positive impact of habitat quality on survival and persistence between successive colony cycle stages in bumblebee populations. These findings also support the idea that conservation interventions that increase floral resources at a landscape scale and throughout the season have positive effects on wild pollinators in agricultural landscapes.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1038/nature21709
CEH Sections: Pywell
ISSN: 0028-0836
Additional Keywords: conservation biology, ecological genetics, entomology, restoration ecology, population dynamics
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 19 Apr 2017 09:46 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/516880

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