Wild bees in eastern US apple orchards: Documenting species diversity and effects of pesticides

Project ICP researcher Jason Gibbs (Michigan State University) has co-authored two recent papers on wild bees in New York apple orchards, as part of his former work as a postdoctoral 24researcher in the Danforth lab at Cornell University.

The first paper, “The challenge of accurately documenting bee species richness in agroecosystems: Bee diversity in eastern apple orchards,” led by Laura Russo (Cornell University), was published in Ecology & Evolution. The authors sampled bees in 28 apple orchards in western New York over 6 years. Despite intensive sampling (190 hours of sampling and over 11,000 collected specimens), they captured less than 75% of expected species richness at more than half of the sites, exemplifying how diverse pollinator assemblages can be challenging to thoroughly sample. Read more at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.1582/full

The second paper, “Negative effects of pesticides on wild bee communities can be buffered by landscape context,” published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B., found that wild bee community abundance and species richness in New York orchards declined linearly with increasing pesticide use one year after application. However, the authors also found that pesticide effects on wild bees were buffered by increasing proportion of natural habitat in the surrounding landscape. For more, see the full paper here: http://www.danforthlab.entomology.cornell.edu/files/all/park_etal_2015_prsl.pdf.