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3.5 003p.urbanisationkearns
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The Effects of Urbanization on Pollinator Diversity and Abundance in Boulder Grassland Open
Space, Boulder, Colorado, USA.. . Principle Investigator: Carol Ann Kearns Ph.D.. in
collaboration with Drs. Diana Oliveras and Betsy Forrest . . Ecologists have called for more data
from North America in order to evaluate the extent of pollinator declines and to address the
problem. This ongoing study, begun in the summer of 2001, attempts to evaluate the effects of
urbanization on the pollinator community in the Boulder area of the Colorado Front Range..
Objectives. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of urbanization on species
composition and abundance of pollinators by comparing pollinators in grassland plots near urban
areas with those in areas less disturbed by human development. The study focuses on bees and
pollinating flies. . Hypothesis. Grassland plots in areas with little urbanization will attract a more
diverse assemblage of pollinators and a greater abundance of pollinators than grassland plots
near urban areas. More urbanized areas will be dominated by a smaller number of generalist,
cosmopolitan species. Grazing will impact flowering species composition which will in turn
have an affect on pollinator abundance and diversity.. Methods. Twenty grassland biodiversity
plots, characterized as remote or urban, and grazed or ungrazed were sampled. These same plots
have been used to study urban edge effects on birds, grasshoppers, rodents and butterflies.
Landscape parameters (e.g., vegetation type, area occupied by pavement, buildings, urban parks)
were quantified for each plot. Approximately 3600 insects were collected over four summers.
For three summers, each plot was sampled repeatedly from May to August and insects visiting
flowers were netted during standardized time periods. In 2004, plots were sampled with pan
traps. In 2005, urban gardens will be sampled as well.. The species composition of bees will be
compared with records in Dr. Theodore Cockerell’s paper “The Bees of Boulder
County― published in 1907.. EstimateS (a species estimation program developed by Robert
Colwell, University of Connecticut, Connecticut, USA) will be used to estimate total species
richness, species richness of urban and remote plots, and species richness of grazed and ungrazed
plots. Jaccard’s index of similarity will be calculated for urban and remote plots, and total
species richness will be compared to the subset of Cockerell’s (1907) records that can be
expected in grassland habitats. General Linear Models analyses will be used for comparisons of
the number of species in urban and remote plots, and grazed and ungrazed plots. Canonical
correlation analysis will be used to determine what habitat variables are most closely associated
with certain species of pollinators. The extent of pavement, buildings and other urban features
surrounding each plot will be quantified and used to determine which species are most tolerant of
urban conditions.. Preliminary Results. Currently only half of the bees have been identified to
species and Diptera identifications are pending. These following results pertain only to the bees
collected in 2001 and 2002, the only bees that have been identified to the species level. These
preliminary results indicate differences in species composition between urban and remote plots
and between grazed and ungrazed plots with significantly lower abundance in grazed plots. Only
54% of the anticipated bee species (based on Cockerell’s 1907 work) have been collected
and estimators predict that only 64% of the grassland species that Cockerell collected are still
present..
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