Title

Bumblebee Pollination Ecology in a Restored Prairie Ecosystem: Foraging Rates, Pollen Sources, and Resource Partitioning

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

1998

Advisor

James Poff

Abstract

A major factor in evaluating the success of prairie, and other, ecosystem restoration projects is a determination of the extent to which pollinator communities have been reestablished along with the flora. I studied bumblebee pollination ecology of a prairie restoration project in central Minnesota to determine the extent to which the several bumblebee species were interacting with the reestablished native prairie flora and with each other to reestablish a viable pollinator community. This was accomplished by determining if the bumblebees are majoring, if they are majoring on the native prairie plant species conservation efforts are attempting to restore, and if resource partitioning is occurring. My study shows that individual bumblebees are specializing on one or a few of the restoration's target plant species. Fifty-five of the 75 bumblebees sampled were majoring on at least one of ten native plant species. The combined result is that the bumblebee population as a whole is pollinating many of the native prairie plants. In addition, the data suggests the various species are demonstrating resource partitioning by concentrating on different assemblages of the available bloom. I have concluded that bumblebee portion of the prairie pollinator community is reestablishing itself.

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