An Analysis of Bee Diversity and Sampling Techniques in Southwest Michigan
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As one of the most important pollinators in the world, wild bees are critical for maintaining ecosystems. However, wild bee populations have been declining due to threats such as habitat fragmentation, chemical pollution, decreased floral resource availability, disease, and climate change. In order to better understand the conservation needs of wild bees, long-term trends in diversity must be monitored. The techniques utilized in wild bee monitoring are still being studied, as there are biases and limitations associated with all sampling methods. Dr. Ann Fraser’s lab at Kalamazoo College has been monitoring wild bee populations in southwestern Michigan over the past twelve years. This study analyzed data collected during years in which regular sampling took place (2008, 2014, 2018, and 2019) to understand changes in regional wild bee diversity in regard to time, location, and sampling method. Sampling took place at a range of locations within the region, including Kalamazoo College campus, Lillian Anderson Arboretum, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, Sand Creek Preserve, Augusta Floodplain Forest, and Chipman Preserve. Multiple sampling methods were employed throughout the duration of the project, including bee bowls, blue vane traps, and netting. We found that genus composition and count varied annually and that genera count decreased in August of every year. In regard to sampling method, we found biases for certain taxa in both bee bowls and blue vane traps that were similar to those found in other studies. This emphasizes the need for the utilization of multiple sampling methods in future long-term monitoring projects to accurately assess wild bee diversity and abundance. Variations in genus composition and count were observed between sites in 2018, suggesting that it may be beneficial to use a variety of sampling sites that consist of habitats that are representative of the southwestern Michigan environment.