Research Abstracts and Presenter Biographies

The Mas­sas­oit STEM program’s Native Pol­li­na­tor Research project is an ongo­ing wild bee mon­i­tor­ing project that is help­ing sci­en­tists under­stand the ways urban­iza­tion affects the ecosys­tem. Bees are crit­i­cal to the sur­vival of many plants and the loss of these insect pol­li­na­tors would be dev­as­tat­ing in sev­er­al ways. Our researchers have been out in the field assess­ing the native bee com­mu­ni­ty every two weeks, from thaw until frost. As far as we know, we have the longest run­ning rig­or­ous bee-mon­i­tor­ing pro­gram in North America.

So, are the bees all dying off?

Believe it or not, we still aren’t sure. It may take anoth­er five years to ful­ly answer that ques­tion. How­ev­er, there are plen­ty of oth­er impor­tant ques­tions that this dataset can address. Our project is locat­ed in a per­fect place to pur­sue our over­ar­ch­ing ques­tion, “What does urban­iza­tion do the the native bee community?”

Each year we con­tribute nov­el research find­ings to our sci­en­tif­ic col­leagues at the Eco­log­i­cal Soci­ety of Amer­i­ca (ESA) meet­ing. To present work at a nation­al meet­ing like ESA, each presenter/author must sub­mit a short sum­ma­ry, called an abstract, for review by the soci­ety. Each Win­ter, our stu­dent researchers work with the senior mem­bers of the research team to craft their abstracts. Below you will find exam­ples of accept­ed abstracts from this and pre­vi­ous years.

ESA 2020 Abstracts

Are native bees declining in southeastern Massachusetts?

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Report­ed declines in native bees have led to con­cerns that these vital pol­li­na­tors may be threat­ened. How­ev­er, few mul­ti-year mon­i­tor­ing stud­ies employ­ing con­sis­tent sam­pling tech­niques are avail­able to define the cur­rent rate of decline, if any, of native bee com­mu­ni­ties. Fur­ther­more, even less is known regard­ing the long-term sta­bil­i­ty of the native bee com­mu­ni­ty as it exists in an urban/suburban ecosys­tem. The present study pro­vides an ini­tial assess­ment of year-to-year changes in native bee abun­dance over a four-year span. Bi-week­ly sam­pling of bees was con­duct­ed from 2016 to 2019 using pan traps and sweep net­ting at six urban-to-sub­ur­ban sites in Ply­mouth Coun­ty, Mass­a­chu­setts. Bees were col­lect­ed, pinned and iden­ti­fied to genus pri­or to inclu­sion in the data set.

Results/Conclusions
Year­ly bee abun­dance results are sug­ges­tive of a gen­er­al decline in the local native bee com­mu­ni­ty, but this trend failed to reach sta­tis­ti­cal sig­nif­i­cance (F3,23 = 2.90, p > 0.05). This obser­va­tion is like­ly due to sig­nif­i­cant year-to-year fluc­tu­a­tions, with bee abun­dance declin­ing 9.41% and 25.87% for the first two years of the study but rebound­ing 33.53% from 2018 to 2019. Sim­i­lar­ly, no sig­nif­i­cant trend was detect­ed for rich­ness over the four years (F3,23 = 3.04, p > 0.05). From 2016 to 2017 bee rich­ness declined by 9.09% and from 2017 to 2018 by 13.33% fol­lowed by an increase of 3.89% from 2018 to 2019. The sea­son­al vari­a­tions in abun­dance and rich­ness pre­clude sol­id con­clu­sions at this time. Fur­ther study will be required to ascer­tain if the vari­a­tion observed in this study is nor­mal sea­son-to-sea­son fluc­tu­a­tion or indica­tive a long term decline.

Authors

  • Ludimi­ra Ribeiro, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Joshua P Keady, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
Evidence for competition between honey bees and bumble bees in southeastern Massachusetts

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
As humans con­tin­ue to encroach on native bee habi­tats, the pop­u­lar­i­ty of back­yard bee­keep­ing in addi­tion to com­mer­cial hon­ey pro­duc­tion may exac­er­bate com­pe­ti­tion for resources already dimin­ished by urban­iza­tion. Sim­i­lar to the hon­ey bees (Apis mel­lif­era) that are used for these pur­pos­es, native bum­ble bees (Bom­bus spp.) are effec­tive pol­li­na­tors and social gen­er­al­ist bees. How­ev­er, pre­vi­ous stud­ies have shown that domes­ti­cat­ed hon­ey bees have the poten­tial to com­pete with native bees for flo­ral resources which could neg­a­tive­ly impact native bee fit­ness. Humans raise and care for hon­ey bees, and inter­ven­tion of this kind may put hon­ey bees at an advan­tage over native bees. This study aims to exam­ine the rela­tion­ship between hon­ey bee abun­dance and bum­ble bee fit­ness using female intertegu­lar dis­tance as a proxy for fit­ness to deter­mine if there is com­pe­ti­tion between hon­ey bees and bum­ble bees. Bees were caught using pan traps and sweep nets from April to Octo­ber of 2018 at six sites in South­east­ern Mass­a­chu­setts on an urban gra­di­ent. Bum­ble bees were sep­a­rat­ed by sex and their intertegu­lar dis­tances were mea­sured using cellSens imag­ing soft­ware and a dig­i­tal micro­scope camera.

Results/Conclusions
In the 2018 sea­son, 156 bum­ble bees and 347 hon­ey bees were col­lect­ed for analy­sis. The intertegu­lar dis­tances of the bum­ble bees ranged from 2.83 mm to 6.10 mm. Pear­son cor­re­la­tion analy­sis revealed a sig­nif­i­cant weak neg­a­tive rela­tion­ship (r = ‑0.49, p = 0.0066) between hon­ey bee abun­dance and female bum­ble bee size. This sug­gests that there may be com­pe­ti­tion between bum­ble bees and hon­ey bees that could neg­a­tive­ly affect the fit­ness of bum­ble bees. Although addi­tion­al data is need­ed to bet­ter under­stand this rela­tion­ship, these find­ings are con­sis­tent with oth­er sim­i­lar stud­ies and could indi­cate that there is a need to reg­u­late the use of domes­ti­cat­ed hon­ey bees in order to pro­mote a health­i­er native bee community.

Authors

  • Samuel Wong, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Vania Lopes, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
Forest fragmentation is a strong indicator of bee abundance and richness across an urban gradient in southeastern Massachusetts

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Urban­iza­tion is gen­er­al­ly thought to have a neg­a­tive effect on wild bee com­mu­ni­ties. For exam­ple, increas­ing imper­me­able land sur­face is like­ly accom­pa­nied by decreased green space and reduced habi­tat and for­ag­ing for wild bees. Desire to low­er the eco­log­i­cal impact of urban­iza­tion has led to the inclu­sion of green spaces and undis­turbed areas into urban land­scapes. Deter­mi­na­tion of the most effec­tive size and shape of urban green spaces will help to max­i­mize the ben­e­fits of these efforts. In par­tic­u­lar, wild bee com­mu­ni­ties may be espe­cial­ly sen­si­tive to green space frag­men­ta­tion. To deter­mine the impact of urban green space frag­men­ta­tion on wild bee com­mu­ni­ties, this study sam­pled bees along an urban gra­di­ent in South­east­ern Mass­a­chu­setts, from 2016 to 2019. The ratio of for­est edge to area at the spa­tial scales 300, 500, 750, and 1000m-radii was cal­cu­lat­ed using ArcGIS pro and used as a mea­sure of fragmentation.

Results/Conclusions
The pro­por­tion of for­est area and wild bee abun­dance was pos­i­tive­ly and sig­nif­i­cant­ly cor­re­lat­ed at all spa­tial scales with the high­est cor­re­la­tion at 1000m (R= 0.74; p < 0.05). Sim­i­lar­ly, rich­ness was pos­i­tive­ly and sig­nif­i­cant­ly cor­re­lat­ed with the pro­por­tion of for­est area at all spa­tial scales with the high­est cor­re­la­tion at 1000m (R= 0.87; p < 0.05). For­est edge was neg­a­tive­ly and sig­nif­i­cant­ly cor­re­lat­ed with abun­dance at 750m (R= ‑0.75; p < 0.05) and 1000m (R= ‑0.63; p < 0.05), while neg­a­tive­ly and sig­nif­i­cant­ly cor­re­lat­ed with rich­ness at 750m (R= ‑0.62; p < 0.05). Frag­men­ta­tion (the ratio of for­est edge to for­est area) had a strong neg­a­tive cor­re­la­tion with bee abun­dance at 750m (R= ‑0.82, p < 0.05) and 1000m (R= ‑0.86, p < 0.05), and a strong neg­a­tive cor­re­la­tion with bee rich­ness at 750m (R=-0.89, p < 0.05) and 1000m (R=-0.83, p < 0.05). These data sug­gest that increas­ing for­est pro­por­tion and increas­ing frag­men­ta­tion are both pre­dic­tive of abun­dance and rich­ness of wild bees in an urban set­ting. Opti­miza­tion of green space size may help ame­lio­rate the impact of urban­iza­tion on wild bee communities.

Authors

  • Michael DeMaess­chal­ck, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Jared Cullen, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
Spatial scale choice and its importance in urban ecological studies

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
The abil­i­ty to col­lect and process geo­graph­ic infor­ma­tion sys­tems (GIS) data is becom­ing eas­i­er and allows rapid large-scale analy­sis. These enhanced capa­bil­i­ties may ben­e­fit many sci­en­tif­ic fields, espe­cial­ly ecol­o­gy stud­ies. Many stud­ies employ GIS analy­ses in order to deter­mine the effects of human land use on organ­isms in local ecosys­tems. This requires choos­ing a spa­tial scale, which is often arbi­trary and may lead to incon­sis­ten­cies between stud­ies, specif­i­cal­ly when look­ing at high­ly vari­able com­po­nents of an ecosys­tem. In an extreme exam­ple, two inde­pen­dent research projects could find oppo­site effects sim­ply by hav­ing dif­fer­ent spa­tial scales, even if they are accu­rate­ly mea­sur­ing the same phe­nom­e­non. The impor­tance of choos­ing spa­tial scales is high­light­ed in this pre­sen­ta­tion by exam­ples of GIS quan­tifi­ca­tion of imper­vi­ous land cov­er and for­est cov­er for six study sites at three rel­a­tive­ly com­mon radii: 300, 500, and 800m. These land attrib­ut­es were cor­re­lat­ed with wild bee abun­dance from 2016 to 2019 as an exam­ple of how a study’s results can vary based on scale.

Results/Conclusions
There were notable changes in both imper­vi­ous land cov­er and for­est cov­er across the three scales with greater changes in urban sites com­pared to rur­al areas. Cor­re­la­tions between bee abun­dance with imper­vi­ous land cov­er were neg­a­tive with the strength of these cor­re­la­tions increas­ing as scales became larg­er. For exam­ple, cor­re­la­tions between bee abun­dance and imper­vi­ous land cov­er at 300m, 500m and 800m increas­es incre­men­tal­ly (R2 = 0.09, 0.1, and 0.12 respec­tive­ly). Cor­re­la­tions between for­est area and bee abun­dance also increased incre­men­tal­ly with increas­ing scale (R2 = 0.17, 0.15, and 0.21 respec­tive­ly). There­fore, how does the inves­ti­ga­tor decide how many increas­es in spa­tial scale and to what extent are legit­i­mate to achieve a bet­ter cor­re­la­tion? Incon­gru­ous con­clu­sions from the same analy­sis at dif­fer­ent spa­tial scales could be depen­dent on land­scape uni­for­mi­ty as is typ­i­cal of a rur­al set­ting com­pared to land­scape het­ero­gene­ity in urban gra­di­ents. There­fore, these con­sid­er­a­tions become more impor­tant in sit­u­a­tions where GIS are used to study urban ecology.

Author

  • Matthew Healy, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
The benefits of undergraduate research at an urban community college

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Under­grad­u­ate research is ben­e­fi­cial to stu­dents’ edu­ca­tion and career devel­op­ment. How­ev­er, first and sec­ond-year under­grad­u­ates, and par­tic­u­lar­ly com­mu­ni­ty col­lege stu­dents, rarely have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to ful­ly engage in chal­leng­ing, hands-on research expe­ri­ence ear­ly in their aca­d­e­m­ic careers. The research pro­gram at Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege pro­vides a unique oppor­tu­ni­ty for stu­dents to engage in high-qual­i­ty eco­log­i­cal research much ear­li­er than the typ­i­cal under­grad­u­ate. The required lev­el of engage­ment, ded­i­ca­tion, and per­sis­tence is achieved large­ly by the stu­dents’ belief that the research project is real and mean­ing­ful. In this case, the project is an eco­log­i­cal study mon­i­tor­ing the sta­tus of wild bees. Over­all, the pro­gram requires stu­dents to devel­op crit­i­cal think­ing abil­i­ty as well as so-called “soft skills” with a goal of pro­duc­ing more capa­ble, inde­pen­dent and con­fi­dent stu­dents. The two-year time frame forces stu­dents to move from trainee to train­er quick­ly and facil­i­tates a tight-knit and self-sup­port­ive group. The plight of wild bees in an ever-urban­iz­ing world pro­vides a cap­ti­vat­ing research ques­tion that can be addressed by rel­a­tive­ly sim­ple and inex­pen­sive methods.

Results/Conclusions
15 to 20 stu­dents are employed year-round for data col­lec­tion, analy­sis and pre­sen­ta­tion. Despite dif­fer­ent back­grounds and aca­d­e­m­ic goals, every stu­dent researcher receives spe­cif­ic train­ing in field­work, data­base man­age­ment, sci­en­tif­ic writ­ing, and pub­lic speak­ing to ensure con­sis­ten­cy and a high qual­i­ty of work. Also, with sup­port from men­tors and peers, stu­dents must access and inter­pret the pri­ma­ry lit­er­a­ture to ensure project com­pre­hen­sion and strong sci­en­tif­ic lit­er­a­cy. Stu­dents also design and imple­ment all project-relat­ed tasks and activ­i­ties, gain­ing valu­able orga­ni­za­tion­al, col­lab­o­ra­tive and prob­lem-solv­ing skills. Over four years of bi-week­ly sam­pling, 10,757 bees were col­lect­ed and iden­ti­fied to 36 gen­era and 140 species —includ­ing 40 new species to Ply­mouth Coun­ty records. Addi­tion­al­ly, 26 stu­dent researchers have pre­sent­ed their sci­en­tif­ic work at Eco­log­i­cal Soci­ety of Amer­i­ca con­fer­ences, while almost all interns par­tic­i­pat­ed at local sym­posia. In con­clu­sion, this pro­gram will con­tin­ue to gath­er pub­li­ca­tion-qual­i­ty data while enhanc­ing first and sec­ond-year under­grad­u­ates prac­ti­cal research expe­ri­ences in com­mu­ni­ty col­lege. Ded­i­ca­tion to both research and edu­ca­tion­al goals max­i­mizes stu­dent skills and often allows them to trans­fer to four-year pro­grams that were pre­vi­ous­ly out of reach, with skills that will ben­e­fit them for their entire careers.

Author

  • Vania Lopes, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
The impact of urbanization on Bombus vs. other wild bee genera in southeastern Massachusetts

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Report­ed declines in wild bees have led to con­cerns about the long-term sur­viv­abil­i­ty of these crit­i­cal pol­li­na­tors. Stud­ies have sug­gest­ed that human land use and urban­iza­tion neg­a­tive­ly impact wild bees. How­ev­er, the effect of urban­iza­tion on spe­cif­ic bee gen­era remains large­ly unknown. Anec­do­tal obser­va­tions sug­gest that the genus Bom­bus (bum­ble­bees) may be rel­a­tive­ly resis­tant to urban­iza­tion com­pared to oth­er bee gen­era. Bom­bus impa­tiens con­sti­tutes the major­i­ty of Bom­bus in East­ern Unit­ed States. Their adapt­abil­i­ty to a wide range of envi­ron­ments could sug­gest that Bom­bus impa­tiens may be par­tic­u­lar­ly suit­ed for urban set­tings. This study exam­ines the effect of urban­iza­tion on Bom­bus com­pared to oth­er wild bee gen­era, with spe­cif­ic focus on Bom­bus impa­tiens. Total non-Bom­bus gen­era, total Bom­bus, and Bom­bus impa­tiens abun­dances were exam­ined for cor­re­la­tion with imper­vi­ous land cov­er, for­est area, and frag­men­ta­tion. Bees were sam­pled biweek­ly via pan trap and sweep net­ting from ear­ly spring to late fall. Six study sites in South­east­ern Mass­a­chu­setts were ana­lyzed with ArcGIS to cal­cu­late the per­cent­age of imper­vi­ous land cov­er, for­est cov­er, and frag­men­ta­tion (ratio of for­est edge to for­est area) as mea­sures of urbanization.

Results/Conclusions
A total of 754 Bom­bus were col­lect­ed from 2016–2019. 181 Bom­bus from 2018 were iden­ti­fied as either Bom­bus impa­tiens or oth­er species of Bom­bus. No sig­nif­i­cant cor­re­la­tion was found between the per­cent­age of imper­vi­ous land cov­er and total Bom­bus abun­dance, while a sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive cor­re­la­tion was found between total Bom­bus abun­dance and for­est cov­er (R = ‑0.5493, p = 0.0054). In con­trast, a sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive cor­re­la­tion was found between non-Bom­bus and for­est cov­er (R = 0.6663, p = 0.0004). Addi­tion­al­ly, a strong pos­i­tive cor­re­la­tion between total Bom­bus abun­dance and frag­men­ta­tion was found (R = 0.4783, p = 0.018), while total non-Bom­bus abun­dance dis­played a strong neg­a­tive cor­re­la­tion with frag­men­ta­tion (R = ‑0.8466, p= <0.0001). These results sug­gest that urban­iza­tion may impact Bom­bus dif­fer­ent­ly than oth­er gen­era. Analy­sis of Bom­bus impa­tiens alone did not sug­gest this species was notably dif­fer­ent from the oth­er Bom­bus species. In con­clu­sion, increas­es in Bom­bus abun­dance seen with increas­ing for­est area and frag­men­ta­tion in an urban set­ting are oppo­site to changes seen in non-Bom­bus species of wild bees.

Authors

  • Jun­yves Valme Pierre, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Eric Viss­er, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Vania Lopes, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College

ESA 2020 Presenter Bios

Junyves Valme Pierre

My major is Lib­er­al Arts Trans­fer — Sci­ence. I have been a STEM intern for two years, I have learned from the best and this is one of the best choic­es I could have made as a stu­dent at Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege. I am plan­ning on trans­fer­ring to the nurs­ing program.

This pho­to was tak­en at the STEM­po­sium in 2019. I was pre­sent­ing Austin’s poster. It was actu­al­ly my first time talk­ing in pub­lic and I was stressed and afraid to not be able to do well. But thanks to the men­tors, the vet­er­ans and a lot of prac­tices I was able to do my best.

This pic­ture brings some won­der­ful mem­o­ries. It was tak­en dur­ing the STEM week at the pub­lic Brock­ton library. Peo­ple, espe­cial­ly the kids were delight­ed to know how many species of bee exist and to take a clos­er look at them under the micro­scope. We had a fun night.
Ludimira Ribeiro

I am Ludimi­ra Ribeiro and I am Cape Verdean. Join­ing the STEM pro­gram at Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege allowed me to draw a clear path towards my career’s goals. Besides the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn impor­tant skills such as sci­en­tif­ic lit­er­a­ture com­pre­hen­sion, pub­lic speak­ing, lead­er­ship expe­ri­ence, I was priv­i­leged to work with amaz­ing peo­ple and to make great friends. Now, I am trans­fer­ring to Stone­hill Col­lege where I will major in Biochemistry.

I par­tic­i­pat­ed in the 18th Annu­al New Eng­land Sym­po­sium on Sus­tain­abil­i­ty and the Envi­ron­ment where I pre­sent­ed Kinga Auguste’s poster. The event was held in 2019 at Bridge­wa­ter State University.

My col­league, Vania Lopes, and I took a self­ie in the 18th Annu­al New Eng­land Sym­po­sium on Sus­tain­abil­i­ty and the Envi­ron­ment at BSU.

Dur­ing the STEM show­case pre­sen­ta­tion at Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege, Brock­ton Campus.

Get­ting ready for Com­mu­ni­ty out­reach in Brock­ton Nature Fest event with men­tor Adam Germaine.

Note: I could not decide which pic­tures to use. All of them rep­re­sent mem­o­ries that I would like to share.

Matthew Healy

I am cur­rent­ly a Biol­o­gy trans­fer stu­dent at Mas­sas­oit. I am plan­ning on trans­fer­ring to a four-year uni­ver­si­ty such as UMass Amherst or Boston Uni­ver­si­ty to study bioinformatics.

Here is a pic­ture of me pre­sent­ing at Massasoit’s annu­al STEM­po­sium about the work I’ve done at the STEM intern­ship on campus.

Here I am dressed as a bee eat­ing ribs dur­ing an out­reach event for the Brock­ton nature fes­ti­val, rep­re­sent­ing the Mas­sas­oit STEM intern­ship program.

 

Michael DeMaesschalck

My name is Michael DeMaess­chal­ck and I was a part of the STEM intern­ship at Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege for one year. While with the intern­ship I was able to par­tic­i­pate in the Eco­log­i­cal Soci­ety of Amer­i­ca 2020 con­fer­ence by con­tribut­ing a poster titled “For­est frag­men­ta­tion is a strong indi­ca­tor of bee abun­dance and rich­ness across an urban gra­di­ent in south­east­ern Mass­a­chu­setts”. While at Mas­sas­oit I was able to obtain an asso­ciates degree in lib­er­al arts with a focus in sci­ence, main­tained a GPA of 3.8, par­tic­i­pat­ed in the hon­or soci­ety Phi Theta Kap­pa, and the stu­dent sen­ate. This fall I plan to attend the Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na — Chapel Hill vir­tu­al­ly and will major in biochemistry.

This is a pho­to of me plant sam­pling at Leland Farm last August.

This is a pho­to of me speak­ing with a col­league at the Bridge­wa­ter State Uni­ver­si­ty symposium.

This is a pho­to of me pre­sent­ing Tatyana Moreland-Junior’s poster at STEM fam­i­ly night last fall.
Samuel Wong

My name is Samuel Wong and I began attend­ing Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege as a high school stu­dent in the Gate­way to Col­lege pro­gram. I joined the STEM intern­ship in my first semes­ter at Mas­sas­oit and have been an intern for a year and a half. While I was in the intern­ship I pre­sent­ed at local sym­posia and schools and was able to cre­ate my own sci­en­tif­ic poster to par­tic­i­pate in the Eco­log­i­cal Soci­ety of Amer­i­ca meet­ing 2020. I learned skills from the intern­ship that I would not have from just tak­ing class­es. I gained pub­lic speak­ing, lead­er­ship, and crit­i­cal think­ing skills that I will be using for the rest of my life. Dur­ing my time at Mas­sas­oit, I grad­u­at­ed high school and main­tained a 4.0 GPA and I will now be trans­fer­ring with 61 cred­its to UMass Amherst to study mechan­i­cal engineering.

After a day of gar­den­ing in the edi­ble gar­den on campus.

This pho­to was tak­en at Massasoit’s 5th annu­al STEMposium.
Vania Lopes

My name is Vania Lopes. I moved to Amer­i­ca 5 years ago from Cape Verde as a junior in high school. Dur­ing my first year at Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege I joined the STEM intern­ship pro­gram. This pro­gram helped me devel­op invalu­able skills that I can car­ry out to my future career, inde­pen­dent­ly, of my cho­sen path­way. After a cou­ple of months in the pro­gram I start­ed doing pub­lic speak­ing at local schools as well as using our data to inves­ti­gate my own sci­en­tif­ic ques­tion. In 2018, I pre­sent­ed my sci­en­tif­ic poster at the eco­log­i­cal soci­ety of Amer­i­ca in Ken­tucky. In this year’s meet­ing (2020), even after suf­fer­ing a world pan­dem­ic I con­tributed to an oral pre­sen­ta­tion. In addi­tion, this pro­gram helped me devel­op crit­i­cal think­ing skills, lead­er­ship skills and oth­er soft skills that will help me sur­vive trans­fer at a 4‑year uni­ver­si­ty. This fall I will be trans­fer­ring to Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan as a Bio­chem­istry Major with a pre-med pathway.

Dean Dou­glas Brown and I rep­re­sent­ed the STEM pro­gram in an inter­view with the Depart­ment of High­er Edu­ca­tion in 2019.

Par­tic­i­pat­ed at Bridge­wa­ter State Uni­ver­si­ty sym­po­sium for the year 2018 and 2019.

Pre­sent­ed our work to Brock­ton High School stu­dents at Brock­ton library.

My col­leagues and I had fun dress­ing up as bees to present our pro­gram at Brock­ton Nature Fest and the Pump­kin Walk in East Bridgewater.

First time pre­sent­ing my sci­en­tif­ic poster at a nation­al con­fer­ence in Ken­tucky (ESA 2019).

ESA 2019 Abstracts | Posters

How does percent impervious land-cover affect the correlation between ground nesting and non-ground nesting bee abundance, richness and diversity?

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Inves­ti­ga­tions into the con­nec­tion between land­scap­ing habits and native bee com­mu­ni­ties sug­gests that urban gar­dens may pro­duce bio­di­ver­si­ty in urban­ized areas. We have pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed that the most com­mon bee nest­ing guild in Ply­mouth Coun­ty, Mass­a­chu­setts (ground-nest­ing bees) shows a pos­i­tive cor­re­la­tion in abun­dance with oth­er bee nest­ing guilds. In oth­er words, sites that pro­mote healthy bee com­mu­ni­ties do not favor one nest­ing guild over the oth­er. How­ev­er, it is cur­rent­ly unknown if high­er degrees of urban­iza­tion and agri­cul­ture alter the cor­re­la­tions between nest­ing guilds. For exam­ple, increas­ing imper­vi­ous land-cov­er accom­pa­ny­ing urban­iza­tion may neg­a­tive­ly impact the ground nest­ing bee com­mu­ni­ty by lim­it­ing nest­ing resources. There­fore, in order to deter­mine if urban­iza­tion specif­i­cal­ly impacts ground-nest­ing bees the cur­rent study inves­ti­gates how imper­vi­ous land-cov­er may affect the cor­re­la­tion between ground-nest­ing and non-ground nest­ing bee abun­dance, rich­ness and diver­si­ty. To test the hypoth­e­sis that more urban­ized sites will favor non-ground-nest­ing over ground-nest­ing bees, sam­pling occurred bi-week­ly from ear­ly spring to late fall of 2016, 2017, and 2018 by sweep net­ting and pan traps. ArcGIS was used to cal­cu­late per­cent imper­vi­ous land-cov­er and clas­si­fy sites as rur­al or urban.

Results/Conclusions
Over 3 years, 5540 ground nesters and 2143 non-ground nesters were sam­pled. Sta­tis­ti­cal analy­sis showed covari­ance between ground nest­ing and non-ground nest­ing bee abun­dance (F1,227=70.6, p<0.0001) with abun­dance dif­fer­ing at each site (F5,227=8.40, p<0.0001) and the same occur­ring for rich­ness and diver­si­ty. These sim­i­lar, pos­i­tive cor­re­la­tions between ground-nest­ing and non-ground nest­ing bees sug­gest a lack of com­pe­ti­tion between nest­ing guilds across dif­fer­ent lev­els of urban­iza­tion. Two rur­al sites with undis­turbed land and high bee abun­dance had the strongest cor­re­la­tions for abun­dance with R2 val­ues of 0.492 and 0.438. These sites also showed strong cor­re­la­tions for rich­ness with val­ues of 0.450 and 0.323, and the urban site with sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices had a com­pa­ra­ble cor­re­la­tion to the rur­al sites with a val­ue of 0.407. The rur­al com­mer­cial farm had weak cor­re­la­tions for abun­dance and rich­ness, com­pa­ra­ble to the unman­aged urban park­ing lot, with val­ues of 0.262 and 0.195 for abun­dance and rich­ness. There was no dif­fer­ence in cor­re­la­tion strength for ground nester and non-ground nester guild diver­si­ty across lev­els of urban­iza­tion, with all R2 val­ues being less than 0.3. Over­all, weak­er cor­re­la­tions at the most urban sites sug­gests that urban­iza­tion affects nest­ing guilds dif­fer­ent­ly, even though there is no indi­ca­tion of enhanced competition.

Authors

  • Tatyan­na More­land-Junior, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Jor­dan Palmer, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
Ecological research promotes critical-thinking, science literacy, and data-driven eco-centrism among diverse STEM student-interns at a community college

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
It is not dif­fi­cult to observe the ease and pace at which mis­in­for­ma­tion regard­ing envi­ron­men­tal issues enters the pub­lic through var­i­ous fast-paced media out­lets. Thus, the need to pro­mote crit­i­cal-think­ing and incor­po­rate sci­ence lit­er­a­cy into under­grad­u­ate STEM cur­ric­u­la may be con­sid­ered para­mount. How­ev­er, sci­ence stu­dents are not typ­i­cal­ly intro­duced to the rig­or­ous process­es of exper­i­men­tal design, data analy­sis, and peer-review until their edu­ca­tions begin to spe­cial­ize more as juniors, seniors, or grad­u­ate stu­dents. It is valu­able to engage STEM stu­dents with diverse aca­d­e­m­ic goals, and edu­ca­tion­al and cul­tur­al back­grounds, in the over­all process of sci­ence before they spe­cial­ize in their cho­sen majors. In this con­text, why not expose stu­dents, who oth­er­wise may nev­er deeply pon­der the links between human activ­i­ties and eco­log­i­cal change, to some basic eco­log­i­cal research? We argue this has the dual ben­e­fit of broad­ly increas­ing sci­en­tif­ic lit­er­a­cy while also help­ing to build a frame­work for bet­ter under­stand­ing socio-envi­ron­men­tal con­nec­tions. Our under­grad­u­ate research pro­gram, at an urban two-year com­mu­ni­ty col­lege, immers­es stu­dent-interns from diverse back­grounds into pub­li­ca­tion-qual­i­ty eco­log­i­cal research. When interns even­tu­al­ly major in var­i­ous STEM fields, they go with a deep­er appre­ci­a­tion for the com­plex­i­ty of ecosys­tems and a bet­ter toolk­it for eval­u­at­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing sci­en­tif­ic information.

Results/Conclusions
Mon­i­tor­ing the bee com­mu­ni­ty is a logis­ti­cal­ly and eco­nom­i­cal­ly sus­tain­able project as it requires min­i­mal spe­cial­ized train­ing and equip­ment. Stu­dent-interns have col­lect­ed bees from snow-melt until a zero-bee sam­pling event over three years (2016−2018), iden­ti­fy­ing 7,684 bees to genus (cor­rob­o­rat­ed by an expert tax­on­o­mist). Stu­dent-interns dis­cuss pri­ma­ry research arti­cles relat­ed to pol­li­na­tor research in a grad­u­ate-style jour­nal club. Build­ing on pri­or work and using their own cre­ativ­i­ty, they for­mu­late and address ques­tions from with­in our exten­sive data set. Using this mod­el, eight interns have pre­sent­ed posters at nation­al ESA meet­ings, nine more with cur­rent abstract sub­mis­sions. They also engage the com­mu­ni­ty pre­sent­ing at ele­men­tary schools, com­mu­ni­ty cen­ters, and gar­den clubs. We have employed 64 stu­dent interns since 2016, with greater than 75% either trans­fer­ring suc­cess­ful­ly to four-year col­leges, start­ing a STEM career, or still in the intern­ship. Interns reflect the demo­graph­ics of our col­lege being greater than 50% minor­i­ty, includ­ing self-iden­ti­fy­ing African-Amer­i­cans, Cape Verdeans, Haitians, Asians, His­pan­ics, and Native Amer­i­cans. While many of our interns seek biol­o­gy BS degrees rang­ing from mol­e­c­u­lar- to ecol­o­gy-focused, some are also pur­su­ing engi­neer­ing, psy­chol­o­gy, and pre-med path­ways. These stu­dent-interns will car­ry this eco-cen­tric, data-dri­ven per­spec­tive with them regard­less of the career path they follow.

Author

  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
Effects of differing land-use practices on genus-level metrics of bee community structure

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Bees play a piv­otal role in ani­mal-medi­at­ed pol­li­na­tion; their absence could mean a major loss in impor­tant food crops. Reports of their decline have prompt­ed research on dif­fer­ent land-use prac­tices that may harm or ben­e­fit local bee com­mu­ni­ties. Many stud­ies often mea­sure abun­dance, rich­ness, or diver­si­ty. How­ev­er, use of all three met­rics may pro­vide the most com­plete assess­ment of bee com­mu­ni­ties. For exam­ple, diver­si­ty is a mea­sure of the num­ber and bal­ance of dif­fer­ent types of organ­isms in an ecosys­tem, but does not account for organ­isms that are dif­fi­cult to detect; rich­ness is a sim­ple count of the num­ber of dif­fer­ent organ­isms, but does not account for bal­ance between the types; and final­ly, abun­dance is a sim­ple count of the num­ber of organ­isms, but alone does not indi­cate a healthy ecosys­tem. In the present study, six dif­fer­ent sites of vary­ing land-use prac­tices were assessed to eval­u­ate the mag­ni­tude and sta­bil­i­ty of native bee com­mu­ni­ty abun­dance, rich­ness, and diver­si­ty. Bees were sam­pled bi-week­ly using pan traps and sweep nets from ear­ly spring to late fall in the years 2016, 2017, and 2018. Study sites were cat­e­go­rized into urban and rur­al based on per­cent imper­vi­ous land cov­er using GIS-analysis.

Results/Conclusions
Over three years, a total of 7,684 bees were caught and iden­ti­fied to genus. There was a sig­nif­i­cant effect of year and site on abun­dance, rich­ness, and diver­si­ty (p<0.05 for all) while the inter­ac­tion between site and year was also found to be sig­nif­i­cant (p<0.05 for all). Rur­al sites gen­er­al­ly dis­played high­er abun­dance, rich­ness, and diver­si­ty than urban sites, which is con­sis­tent with pre­vi­ous stud­ies. Dun­rovin Farm, the most rur­al site, had the high­est abun­dance and rich­ness, but not diver­si­ty, sug­gest­ing that both rich­ness and diver­si­ty should be con­sid­ered in deter­min­ing bee com­mu­ni­ty health. Native Mead­ow, a sus­tain­ably man­aged urban site, had met­rics sim­i­lar to the more rur­al sites, sug­gest­ing that these land-use prac­tices may ben­e­fit bee com­mu­ni­ties in an urban set­ting. Over­all, a decline in the bee com­mu­ni­ty was observed for all three met­rics between 2017 and 2018. Fur­ther mon­i­tor­ing will reveal if this is nor­mal year-to-year vari­a­tion or indica­tive of a long term trend. In con­clu­sion, sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices may ben­e­fit the local bee com­mu­ni­ty in urban set­tings; and uti­liz­ing abun­dance, rich­ness, and diver­si­ty togeth­er may be nec­es­sary to pro­vide the most com­pre­hen­sive assess­ment of local bee communities.

Authors

  • Fegens Lyncee, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Mol­lie O’Ke­effe, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
A method for identifying pollen resources for brood development in cavity-nesting native bees

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Native bees’ crit­i­cal role in ecosys­tem func­tion and agri­cul­ture has giv­en rise to a vari­ety of efforts to sup­port their com­mu­ni­ties. This has result­ed in wide­spread cul­ti­va­tion of wild plants (com­pan­ion plant­i­ngs) to improve their for­ag­ing resources, and deploy­ment of arti­fi­cial nest­ing habi­tats (bee hotels) to serve as breed­ing grounds. How­ev­er, there is lit­tle infor­ma­tion regard­ing the types of pol­lens gath­ered by native bees for pro­vi­sion­ing brood with­in these bee hotels. To bet­ter under­stand the ben­e­fit of these prac­tices, a method for iden­ti­fy­ing the pollen resources used in brood devel­op­ment would help define the inter­ac­tion between nest­ing and for­ag­ing resources. The present study used a two-loci, sin­gle PCR, DNA-based iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of pollen grains tak­en from sam­pled native bee brood cells. Brood cells were obtained from a bee hotel deployed spring to ear­ly fall 2018. Pollen load from a sin­gle brood cell was col­lect­ed, sus­pend­ed in water and ran­dom­ly sam­pled. Sin­gle pollen grains were stained with ani­line blue, iso­lat­ed under a micro­scope and trans­ferred to a 25-µL PCR tube con­tain­ing two sets of primers; (ITS2, trnH-psbA), Phire™ Plant Direct PCR Mas­ter Mix, and nucle­ase free water. Ampli­fi­ca­tion was car­ried out at an anneal­ing tem­per­a­ture of 62°C for thir­ty-five cycles.

Results/Conclusions
Ampli­fi­ca­tion of two regions of DNA in a sin­gle PCR reac­tion can gen­er­ate mul­ti­ple ampli­cons for sequenc­ing from a sin­gle source. The use of two loci in plant iden­ti­fi­ca­tion by DNA bar­cod­ing helps to improve the dis­crim­i­na­to­ry pow­er of these regions when iden­ti­fy­ing the species of pollen with­in the Gen­Bank® data­base. Pre­lim­i­nary PCR exper­i­ments demon­strat­ed that two loci could be ampli­fied direct­ly from an indi­vid­ual pollen grain tak­en from a brood cell. The trnH-psbA ampli­con showed less suc­cess in ampli­fi­ca­tion as evi­denced by the lack of bands pro­duced dur­ing elec­trophore­sis rel­a­tive to ITS on-agarose gel. This sug­gests an eas­i­er PCR ampli­fi­ca­tion of the nuclear locus com­pared to the plas­tid locus, pos­si­bly due to copy num­ber vari­a­tion. Pre­lim­i­nary sequenc­ing results from ampli­fied ITS2 region revealed mixed pol­lens from a vari­ety of flow­er­ing plants includ­ing; Vicia amoe­na, Pstium sati­va, & Tri­foli­um repens. A com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of sea­son­al pair­ings between local plant and cav­i­ty nest­ing bee species, specif­i­cal­ly brood resources, would allow selec­tive plant­i­ngs to pro­mote the spe­cif­ic native bee that is like­ly to inhab­it man-made habi­tat. Fur­ther­more, this type of infor­ma­tion could be par­tic­u­lar­ly use­ful in an agri­cul­tur­al set­ting where inter­ac­tions between nest­ing pref­er­ences, for­ag­ing pref­er­ences and crop pol­li­na­tion might be established.

Authors

  • Zachary Thuotte, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Matthew Healy, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
The kleptoparasitic bee Nomada as a potential indicator of ecosystem health

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Due to the decline of native bees, imple­men­ta­tion of land-use prac­tices to pro­mote sta­ble bee com­mu­ni­ties has become pop­u­lar. To quan­ti­fy the impact of these land-use prac­tices, stud­ies often focus on the diver­si­ty and abun­dance of the entire bee com­mu­ni­ty. How­ev­er, research has shown that par­a­sitic bees are strong­ly affect­ed by envi­ron­men­tal changes, sug­gest­ing their poten­tial as an ecosys­tem health indi­ca­tor. Addi­tion­al­ly, these par­a­sites are thought to con­trol and sta­bi­lize their host pop­u­la­tions, and these par­a­site-host rela­tion­ships may pro­vide addi­tion­al insight into bee com­mu­ni­ty health. The present study eval­u­ates the abun­dance of the par­a­sitic bee Noma­da and its rela­tion­ship to the host bee, Andrena, as sur­ro­gate mark­ers of over­all bee com­mu­ni­ty health at six study sites across South­east­ern Mass­a­chu­setts. The six sites were cat­e­go­rized into rur­al or urban based on per­cent imper­vi­ous land cov­er quan­ti­fied using ArcGIS. Two of the sites imple­ment sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices which include a reduc­tion in chem­i­cal use, no-mow areas, and plant­i­ng of native flo­ra. Data were col­lect­ed from 2016 to 2018 dur­ing the for­ag­ing sea­son, using a bi-week­ly sam­pling method that includ­ed 24h-pan traps and 1h sweep netting.

Results/Conclusions
Over three sea­sons, 156 Noma­da and 145 Andrena were col­lect­ed. Site impact­ed Noma­da abun­dance (F1,89=3.1, p=0.03) and pair­wise com­par­isons revealed that the high­est Noma­da abun­dance was present at a rur­al site with reduced pes­ti­cide use, and at a sub­ur­ban site char­ac­ter­ized by lim­it­ed imper­vi­ous­ness, a com­mu­ni­ty gar­den, abun­dant for­est edge and infre­quent mow­ing. Noma­da abun­dance mim­ic­ked the over­all bee abun­dance sug­gest­ing that the par­a­site has poten­tial as an ecosys­tem health mark­er. Although, no sig­nif­i­cant covari­ance of Andrena and Noma­da abun­dances was detect­ed (F1,89=3.1, p=0.08), there was a con­sid­er­able impact of site on the weak AndrenaNoma­da abun­dance rela­tion­ship (F5,78=4.2, p=0.002). The strongest pos­i­tive covari­a­tion was found at the afore­men­tioned sub­ur­ban site which sug­gests this site has an addi­tion­al ben­e­fi­cial effect on the bee com­mu­ni­ty allow­ing a healthy host-par­a­site rela­tion­ship. Oth­er sites, includ­ing urban and rur­al areas, had few­er Noma­da and dis­played weak­er host-par­a­site cor­re­la­tions. How­ev­er, some Noma­da spp. are known to par­a­sitize oth­er gen­era which could weak­en the host-par­a­site sig­nal. Alto­geth­er, human activ­i­ty appears to influ­ence the abun­dance of Noma­da, and vari­a­tion observed in the strength of the host-par­a­site rela­tion­ship sug­gests that mon­i­tor­ing this mark­er could yield new insight on the health of the bee community.

Authors

  • Kinga Auguste, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
Does forest cover affect Osmia and other cavity-nesting bee abundance?

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Bee com­mu­ni­ties serve an impor­tant role in our local ecosys­tems as they pol­li­nate sev­er­al crops and flow­er­ing plants. Many farm­ers rely on hon­ey­bees (Apis mel­lif­era) for pol­li­na­tion. How­ev­er, due to the decline in the domes­tic hon­ey­bee hives, there may be an increased reliance on native pol­li­na­tors. Cav­i­ty-nest­ing bees have the poten­tial to be used for crop pol­li­na­tion as they can be man­aged using arti­fi­cial nest­ing habi­tats such as trap nests. The genus Osmia specif­i­cal­ly, is an impor­tant pol­li­na­tor of pop­u­lar orchard trees and have been found to be more effi­cient than hon­ey­bees in cer­tain apple orchards. Pre­vi­ous research has shown that cav­i­ty-nest­ing bee abun­dance is pos­i­tive­ly cor­re­lat­ed with for­est cov­er, but lit­tle is known about their pref­er­ences with­in more urban­ized set­tings. In this study, we exam­ined the effects of for­est cov­er on the abun­dance of cav­i­ty-nest­ing bees in South­east­ern Mass­a­chu­setts, with a spe­cif­ic focus on the genus Osmia. From 2016–2018, bees were col­lect­ed biweek­ly at six dif­fer­ent sites via pan trap and sweep net, dur­ing the months of April to Octo­ber. OLIVER, MassGIS’s online map­ping tool, was used to esti­mate per­cent for­est cov­er with­in a 500m buffer at each of the six study sites.

Results/Conclusions
Through­out the three years we col­lect­ed a total of 177 cav­i­ty-nest­ing bees out of which 92 belong to the genus Osmia. Sta­tis­ti­cal tests showed a sig­nif­i­cant effect of site on over­all cav­i­ty-nester abun­dance (F5,233=3.7, p=0.003) along with Osmia abun­dance (F5,131=3.5, p=0.005). Osmia and total cav­i­ty-nest­ing bee abun­dances at the least forest­ed site were sim­i­lar to the abun­dances at the most forest­ed site which indi­cates that there is no direct effect of for­est cov­er on Osmia and oth­er cav­i­ty-nesters abun­dance. The sig­nif­i­cant effect of site on Osmia and oth­er cav­i­ty-nesters abun­dance may be due to oth­er fac­tors at the sites rather than foresta­tion. The abun­dance of Osmia as well as the over­all abun­dance of cav­i­ty-nesters at the urban sites with sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices were com­pa­ra­ble to the rur­al site with the high­est abun­dance, where­as the abun­dance at the urban site lack­ing these prac­tices was sig­nif­i­cant­ly low­er. In an urban/­sub-urban set­ting, over­all cav­i­ty-nest­ing bee abun­dance does not seem to have a strong cor­re­la­tion with for­est cov­er, sug­gest­ing oth­er fac­tors such as sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices may be more impor­tant to help pro­mote their community.

Authors

  • Belun­da Moi­se, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
The potential of gender ratio in mason bees (Osmia spp.) as an indicator of ecosystem health

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Bees are con­sid­ered key­stone organ­isms with­in the ecosys­tem, pol­li­nat­ing both crops and wild plants. The genus Osmia (mason bees) are effec­tive pol­li­na­tors due to their mor­pho­log­i­cal fea­tures, spe­cial­ist for­ag­ing pref­er­ences, and the propen­si­ty to eas­i­ly deposit col­lect­ed pollen on recip­i­ent flow­ers. Although a vari­ety of fac­tors are involved, dif­fer­ent land use prac­tices, such as the use of pes­ti­cides, fre­quent mow­ing and increased urban­iza­tion have been sug­gest­ed to con­tribute to the decline of bee com­mu­ni­ties. Dur­ing peri­ods of envi­ron­men­tal stress, female Osmia allo­cate ener­gy and resources to pro­duc­ing more male off­spring than female. Even though Osmia tend to shift from most­ly males to most­ly females over the sea­son, their over­all sex ratio may be affect­ed by their sur­round­ing habi­tat con­di­tions. In addi­tion, this phe­nom­e­non may impact Osmia pop­u­la­tions if future gen­er­a­tions con­tin­ue to pro­duce few­er repro­duc­ing females. There­fore, in order to eval­u­ate Osmia sex ratios as an indi­ca­tor of ecosys­tem health, bees of genus Osmia were sam­pled from 2016 to 2018 using pan traps and sweep net­ting at six sites in South­east­ern Mass­a­chu­setts and sexed by count­ing anten­nal seg­ments and by gen­er­al mor­phol­o­gy. Specif­i­cal­ly, we hypoth­e­sized that male to female ratios will be low­er in rur­al sites com­pared to urban sites.

Results/Conclusions
ArcGIS analy­sis was used to char­ac­ter­ize each study site as rur­al (<8% imper­vi­ous land cov­er; three sites) or urban (>30% imper­vi­ous land cov­er; three sites). Results show a sig­nif­i­cant effect of month on male to female ratio in each year (Cochran-Man­tel-Haen­szel, M2> = 31.749, df =2, p<0.01), with the over­all per­cent male for all sites over all three years being 74.6%, 19.2% and 0% for May, June and July, respec­tive­ly. This indi­cates that male Osmia for­age ear­li­er in the sea­son while the females appear to for­age lat­er in the sea­son. Although there was no effect of site on Osmia sex ratios, there was an effect of site on total female abun­dance (H5,90=7.94, p=0.03). This sug­gests that female Osmia total abun­dance may be also a good indi­ca­tor of ecosys­tem health, espe­cial­ly, when the sam­ple size is small. Con­tin­ued mon­i­tor­ing of Osmia pop­u­la­tions may reveal if this is nor­mal year-to-year changes or indica­tive of a long-term trend. In this sit­ting, a com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of Osmia sex allo­ca­tion and more fre­quent sam­pling with­in the flight sea­son may be nec­es­sary to deter­mine if Osmia sex ratios can be used as an indi­ca­tor of ecosys­tem health.

Authors

  • Vania Lopes, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
How does percent impervious land cover correlate with bee abundance and richness at different spatial scales?

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Pol­li­na­tors play a cru­cial role in many ecosys­tems as well as in agri­cul­ture. Declin­ing bee abun­dance and rich­ness may indi­cate dimin­ish­ing ecosys­tem health as well as threat­en the glob­al food sup­ply. Urban­iza­tion and the accom­pa­ny­ing increase in imper­vi­ous land cov­er may degrade bee habi­tat and con­tribute to this observed decline in bee com­mu­ni­ties. Dif­fer­ing spa­tial scales were cho­sen as many stud­ies that cor­re­late a land attribute with an mark­er for ecosys­tem health, such as bee abun­dance and rich­ness, use a vari­ety of spa­tial scales. This study was designed to find the most opti­mal sized spa­tial scale by eval­u­at­ing dif­fer­ent sizes to find which scale that imper­vi­ous land cov­er cor­re­lat­ed best with bee abun­dance and bee rich­ness. There­fore, we inves­ti­gat­ed the cor­re­la­tions between imper­vi­ous land cov­er and bee rich­ness, as well as bee abun­dance, in South­east­ern Mass­a­chu­setts at four dif­fer­ent spa­tial scales. Per­cent imper­vi­ous land cov­er was cal­cu­lat­ed for six study sites at 100, 300, 600, and 900 meter spa­tial scales through ArcGIS soft­ware. Bees were sam­pled on a biweek­ly basis from ear­ly spring to late fall, in the years 2016 through 2018, using pan traps and sweep-net­ting techniques.

Results/Conclusions
A total of 7648 bees were caught across a three year sam­pling peri­od, with rich­ness rang­ing from 0 (when no bees were caught) to 16 dif­fer­ent gen­era. Per­cent imper­vi­ous land cov­er dif­fered at each spa­tial scale for all of the sites. Sta­tis­ti­cal tests were done using Pear­son­’s cor­re­la­tion coef­fi­cient (r‑value). All results pro­duced sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive cor­re­la­tions of imper­vi­ous land cov­er with both rich­ness and abun­dance which were stronger with increas­ing spa­tial scale size, with 900 meters hav­ing the strongest cor­re­la­tion (r = ‑0.4138 and r =-0.2956 respec­tive­ly). This sug­gests that, out of all the spa­tial scales test­ed, 900 meters would be the best for cor­re­lat­ing the effect of imper­vi­ous land cov­er on bee rich­ness and abun­dance for this spe­cif­ic study. Future analy­sis will need to be done with spa­tial scales greater than 900 meters to see when the cor­re­la­tion will begin to weaken.

Authors

  • Matthew Healy, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Zachary Thuotte, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College

ESA 2018 Abstracts | Posters

Population changes of Lasioglossum over time in southeastern Massachusetts

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Nat­u­ral­ized hon­ey­bees are declin­ing due to colony col­lapse dis­or­der, and thus native bee com­mu­ni­ties are being giv­en more atten­tion. Mem­bers of the species-rich native genus, Lasioglos­sum, are impor­tant due to their abil­i­ty to pol­li­nate a wide vari­ety of native and agri­cul­tur­al plants. To help with con­ser­va­tion of this genus it is impor­tant to look at how human impact on the land affects this bee. We exam­ined the rela­tion­ship between dif­fer­ing land use prac­tices in south­east­ern Mass­a­chu­setts and Lasioglos­sum abun­dance over two years (2016 – 2017). We sam­pled bees bi-week­ly using pan traps and sweep net­ting, from April – July each year at six sites of vary­ing land usage, includ­ing two sites that employed sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices com­prised of no-mow zones, native land­scap­ing plant­i­ngs, and reduced chem­i­cal usage. We used ArcGIS to clas­si­fy sites as urban or rur­al based on per­cent imper­vi­ous cov­er with­in a 300‑m buffer zone of each site.

Results/Conclusions
A clear dis­tinc­tion of char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly urban (>30% imper­vi­ous; three sites) and rur­al sites (<8% imper­vi­ous; three sites) was sup­port­ed by our ArcGIS analy­sis. A total of 2,268 indi­vid­ual bees of the genus Lasioglos­sum were col­lect­ed and ana­lyzed over two sam­pling sea­sons across all sites. Over­all, Lasioglos­sum abun­dance declined 56% in pan trap col­lec­tion, and 46% in sweep net col­lec­tion from 2016 to 2017. Although this decline was sta­tis­ti­cal­ly sig­nif­i­cant we will con­tin­ue mon­i­tor­ing to assess whether this dif­fer­ence between two sea­sons is indica­tive of a longer-term trend. The most rur­al site (1.93% imper­vi­ous, with no com­mer­cial farm present) had sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er aver­age Lasioglos­sum abun­dance than all oth­er sites. This sug­gests that par­tic­u­lar resource(s) may be present at that site and lack­ing at the oth­ers, includ­ing those with sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices in place. The most urban site (46.85% imper­vi­ous cov­er) had the low­est Lasioglos­sum abun­dance, which was sig­nif­i­cant­ly low­er than the two oth­er urban sites at which sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices were employed. Our results sug­gest that fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion into the effects of sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices in both urban and rur­al set­tings is war­rant­ed. We plan to con­tin­ue this line of inquiry by includ­ing more sites over addi­tion­al seasons.

Authors

  • Ana M. Estabrooks, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Matthew Healy, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
Links between bee community nesting guild diversity and land-use in southeastern Massachusetts

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Native bees are the largest con­trib­u­tors to ani­mal-medi­at­ed pol­li­na­tion, and reports of their decline have prompt­ed stud­ies of bee com­mu­ni­ties and the imple­men­ta­tion of land-use prac­tices that are assumed to ben­e­fit bee abun­dance and diver­si­ty. Many stud­ies focus on tax­o­nom­ic diver­si­ty and rel­a­tive abun­dances, but these met­rics do not direct­ly take into account the func­tion­al roles of organ­isms in an ecosys­tem. In this study, bee gen­era were cat­e­go­rized into guilds by nest­ing habi­tat and the focus was placed on nest­ing guild diver­si­ty and rel­a­tive abun­dances. Specif­i­cal­ly, we hypoth­e­sized that urban sites where sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices were imple­ment­ed will have high­er nest­ing guild diver­si­ties than oth­er urban sites, and that the for­mer would have nest­ing guild diver­si­ties com­pa­ra­ble to rur­al sites. Sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices were employed at two of our six study sites and includ­ed native plant­i­ngs, no-mow areas, and lim­it­ed use of chem­i­cals. Bees were col­lect­ed biweek­ly using pan traps and sweep net­ting from April to July of 2016 and 2017. Bees were pre­served and iden­ti­fied to genus and nest­ing guild. Sites were clas­si­fied as urban or rur­al based on per­cent imper­vi­ous land cov­er using ArcGIS.

Results/Conclusions
Over the two sam­pling sea­sons a total of 3,264 indi­vid­ual bees were col­lect­ed, iden­ti­fied, and clas­si­fied into nest­ing guilds for analy­ses. Urban sites employ­ing sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices had nest­ing guild diver­si­ties com­pa­ra­ble to those of the rur­al sites (p=0.9051, a pri­ori con­trast), while the urban site with no sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices exhib­it­ed low­er diver­si­ty in the anal­o­gous com­par­i­son (p=0.0002, a pri­ori con­trast). These results sug­gest that sus­tain­able land-use may sup­port bee com­mu­ni­ty func­tion­al diver­si­ty. Bee com­mu­ni­ties at all sites were dom­i­nat­ed by ground-nest­ing bees, indi­cat­ing that south­east­ern Mass­a­chu­setts sup­ports a large com­mu­ni­ty of this nest­ing guild. Two sites dis­played low rel­a­tive abun­dance while still exhibit­ing rel­a­tive­ly high guild diver­si­ties, indi­cat­ing that land-use prac­tices affect total abun­dance and diver­si­ty dif­fer­ent­ly. The over­all impli­ca­tion of this study is that sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices, such as increas­ing the amount of native plants in an urban­ized envi­ron­ment, may pos­i­tive­ly impact the com­mu­ni­ty of bees in urban areas, thus strength­en­ing the avail­abil­i­ty of nat­ur­al pol­li­na­tion ser­vices. We would like to note that our con­clu­sions should be inter­pret­ed in the con­text of a lim­it­ed num­ber of urban and rur­al sites, and that future work is planned to increase the num­ber and vari­ety of study sites.

Authors

  • Austin Schofield, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Daiana Moniz, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
Investigating possible relationships between native bee community structure and effects of power line cuts and imperviousness in southern Massachusetts: A pilot study

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Pol­li­na­tion by native bees is crit­i­cal to glob­al crop pro­duc­tion and local ecosys­tem health. Stud­ies show­ing declines in bee abun­dance have gen­er­at­ed inter­est in find­ing meth­ods to sup­port native bee com­mu­ni­ties. Some stud­ies sug­gest that elec­tri­cal trans­mis­sion line right-of-ways (here­after, pow­er line cuts) may serve as sanc­tu­ar­ies for bees due to their peri­od­ic but infre­quent clear­ing and abun­dant edge regions. We used native bee com­mu­ni­ty mon­i­tor­ing data from six sites in an ini­tial eval­u­a­tion of the poten­tial rela­tion­ship between met­rics of bee com­mu­ni­ty struc­ture (abun­dance and Shan­non diver­si­ty) and prox­im­i­ty to a pow­er line cut. We also test­ed for a rela­tion­ship between per­cent imper­vi­ous sur­face area and bee com­mu­ni­ty struc­ture among the same sites. We sam­pled bees biweek­ly via pan trap and sweep net in 2016 and 2017. Dis­tance from the near­est pow­er line cut to each col­lec­tion site was mea­sured using Google Maps. ArcGIS soft­ware was used to cal­cu­late per­cent imper­vi­ous with­in a 300-meter buffer around each study site.

Results/Conclusions
We sam­pled a total of 4,119 bees dis­trib­uted amongst 42 gen­era. The dis­tance from pow­er line cuts ranged from 0 to 949 m, and imper­vi­ous­ness ranged from 0.5 to 46.9%. There was a weak but pos­i­tive cor­re­la­tion between pow­er line cut prox­im­i­ty and bee abun­dance in regard to bee col­lec­tion by pan traps, but no sig­nif­i­cant cor­re­la­tion between prox­im­i­ty to pow­er line cut and bee abun­dance from sweep net col­lec­tion method. There was also a weak pos­i­tive rela­tion­ship between pow­er line cut prox­im­i­ty and bee com­mu­ni­ty Shan­non diver­si­ty. There was no rela­tion­ship appar­ent between per­cent imper­vi­ous land sur­face and bee abun­dance or diver­si­ty. Although inter­pre­ta­tion of our ini­tial results is lim­it­ed, the weak pos­i­tive rela­tion­ships between mea­sures of bee com­mu­ni­ty struc­ture and prox­im­i­ty of only six sites to pow­er line cuts invites a more thor­ough study. In a more rig­or­ous fol­low up to this study, we will include more sites encom­pass­ing broad­er range of imper­vi­ous­ness and dis­tances from pow­er line cuts.

Authors

  • Cyn­thia Oyat­ta, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Ana M. Estabrooks, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
The impact of land-use practices on native bee abundance and diversity in southeastern Massachusetts

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Bees are key­stone organ­isms that fun­da­men­tal­ly con­tribute to pol­li­na­tion of both wild plants and food crops world­wide. Due to the recent decline of domes­ti­cat­ed hon­ey­bees, farm­ers may increas­ing­ly rely on native bees for pol­li­na­tion ser­vices. There­fore, it is impor­tant to main­tain an abun­dant and diverse native bee com­mu­ni­ty not only for the vital eco­log­i­cal role they play, but also for their instru­men­tal val­ue in agroe­cosys­tems. This study inves­ti­gat­ed the impacts of vary­ing land-use prac­tices on native bee abun­dance and diver­si­ty. Two col­lec­tion meth­ods, pan traps and sweep net­ting, were used to mon­i­tor native bee abun­dance and diver­si­ty at six study sites in South­east­ern Mass­a­chu­setts from April-Octo­ber 2016 and April-July 2017. Study sites var­ied regard­ing the use of sus­tain­able land­scap­ing prac­tices such as no-mow zones, native land­scap­ing, and reduced chem­i­cal use, as well as in degree of urban­iza­tion. The six sites were des­ig­nat­ed as urban or rur­al based on GIS-analy­sis of per­cent imper­vi­ous sur­face area with­in a 300-meter buffer zone.

Results/Conclusions
Three of the study sites were des­ig­nat­ed as urban based on rel­a­tive­ly high imper­vi­ous ground cov­er (>30%). Two of these sites are locat­ed on a col­lege cam­pus where sus­tain­able land­scap­ing prac­tices are employed. Sites des­ig­nat­ed as rur­al had rel­a­tive­ly low imper­vi­ous ground cov­er (<8%) with one site locat­ed on the prop­er­ty of a com­mer­cial farm. Native bee diver­si­ty (Shan­non index) was sig­nif­i­cant­ly dif­fer­ent among sites but did not exhib­it sig­nif­i­cant change from 2016 to 2017. The two sites on the urban col­lege cam­pus showed sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er Shan­non indices and abun­dances (based on pan trap data) com­pared to the oth­er urban site, and sim­i­lar diver­si­ty and abun­dance to the three rur­al sites (a pri­ori con­trasts). Sweep net abun­dance data also dif­fered among sites, but not years, and pair­wise com­par­isons revealed only one urban site (with­out sus­tain­able land­scap­ing) had sig­nif­i­cant­ly low­er abun­dance than one of the rur­al sites. The rur­al site with the high­est abun­dance did not have the high­est diver­si­ty. This is indica­tive that dif­fer­ent land-use prac­tices may have inde­pen­dent effects on abun­dance and diver­si­ty. Our results sug­gest that rur­al areas may gen­er­al­ly pro­vide bet­ter habi­tat for native bees, but bet­ter land man­age­ment prac­tices may increase abun­dance and diver­si­ty even in urban settings.

Authors

  • Eliz­a­beth A. Apiche, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Zachary Thuotte, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
A streamlined method for identifying foraging targets of native bees using multiple-loci DNA barcoding

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Native bees are essen­tial in healthy ecosys­tems. With declines in domes­tic bee hives, native bees may increas­ing­ly need to com­pen­sate for lost pol­li­na­tion ser­vices. Efforts have been made to imple­ment bee-friend­ly land-use prac­tices to sup­port native bee com­mu­ni­ties. One such strat­e­gy is the inclu­sion of flow­er­ing plant species that pro­vide for­age into land­scap­ing or agri­cul­tur­al set­tings. How­ev­er, lit­tle is known about the region­al for­ag­ing pref­er­ences of native bees. A com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of sea­son­al pair­ings between local plant and bee species would allow selec­tive plant­i­ngs to pro­mote the region­al native bee com­mu­ni­ty, or even tar­get those that pol­li­nate spe­cif­ic crops. The goal of the present work is to devel­op a method for iden­ti­fy­ing gen­era-spe­cif­ic native bee for­ag­ing habits using a three-loci, sin­gle PCR, DNA-based iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of pollen grains tak­en from sam­pled native bees. Total pollen load from a sin­gle bee was col­lect­ed and placed in an aque­ous sus­pen­sion to facil­i­tate ran­dom sam­pling of pollen grains. Using ani­line stain to deter­mine via­bil­i­ty, iso­lat­ed pollen grains were trans­ferred to a PCR tube con­tain­ing three sets of primers, Phire™ Plant Direct PCR Mas­ter Mix, and deion­ized water in a 25-µL reac­tion. Ampli­fi­ca­tion was car­ried out at an anneal­ing tem­per­a­ture of 60°C for 35 cycles.

Results/Conclusions
Pre­lim­i­nary PCR exper­i­ments demon­strat­ed that three loci could be ampli­fied direct­ly from an indi­vid­ual pollen grain: the inter­nal tran­scribed spac­er (ITS) region in the pollen nuclear DNA, the inter­genic spac­er between trnH and psbA in the plas­tid DNA, and the plas­tid rbcL gene. All three regions showed bands on agarose gel after a mul­ti­plex PCR reac­tion, at an anneal­ing tem­per­a­ture of 60°C. The trnH-psbA and ITS regions were less than 500 bp, while rbcL was around 1.5 kb. Ampli­fi­ca­tion of two or more regions of indi­vid­ual pollen grain DNA in a sin­gle PCR reac­tion can gen­er­ate mul­ti­ple ampli­cons for sequenc­ing from a sin­gle source. The use of three loci in plant iden­ti­fi­ca­tion by DNA bar­cod­ing helps to improve the dis­crim­i­na­to­ry pow­er of these con­served regions when iden­ti­fy­ing the species of pollen with­in the Gen­Bank® database.

Authors

  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Fran­ciane Flickinger, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Mol­lie O’Ke­effe, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Cyn­thia Oyat­ta, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
Does abundance of non-native Apis correlate with abundance within individual native bee nesting guilds?

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Both native bees and import­ed hon­ey­bees (Apis) pro­vide key pol­li­na­tion ser­vices essen­tial to ecosys­tem health, but tra­di­tion­al­ly, only hon­ey­bees have been placed in agri­cul­tur­al set­tings. As colony col­lapse dis­or­der con­tin­ues to low­er the sur­viv­abil­i­ty of domes­tic hon­ey­bee hives, many food crops may increas­ing­ly depend on pol­li­na­tion by native bees. It is there­fore essen­tial to under­stand the effect that native and intro­duced bees have on one anoth­er. Pre­vi­ous stud­ies have not con­clu­sive­ly deter­mined if resource over­lap between Apis and native bees leads to com­pe­ti­tion, and native bee nest­ing guilds may inter­act dif­fer­ent­ly with Apis based on each guild’s unique resource require­ments. Our study inves­ti­gates if spe­cif­ic native bee nest­ing guilds com­pete with Apis, as indi­cat­ed by neg­a­tive cor­re­la­tions of their local abun­dances. We sam­pled bees by pan-trap­ping and sweep-net­ting biweek­ly at six loca­tions of vary­ing lev­els of land-use, includ­ing one com­mer­cial agri­cul­tur­al set­ting, in south­east­ern Mass­a­chu­setts from April-Octo­ber 2016 and April-July 2017. We cal­cu­lat­ed Pear­son cor­re­la­tion coef­fi­cients between the abun­dance of Apis and abun­dances of four local­ly dom­i­nant nest­ing guilds, as well between abun­dances of each guild.

Results/Conclusions
Sam­pled bee abun­dances used in cor­re­la­tion analy­ses includ­ed a total of 278 Apis indi­vid­u­als and 3811 indi­vid­u­als of the four dom­i­nant native guilds. There was no neg­a­tive cor­re­la­tion between abun­dances of Apis and any of the guilds, sug­gest­ing a lack of sig­nif­i­cant com­pe­ti­tion. Fur­ther­more, the only weak cor­re­la­tion between Apis and a native guild’s abun­dance (ground nesters) was pos­i­tive. The native guild abun­dances were all pos­i­tive­ly cor­re­lat­ed with each oth­er, indi­cat­ing that the stud­ied nest­ing guilds thrive in sim­i­lar set­tings. The lack of cor­re­la­tion between Apis and native bee abun­dances may be due to the depen­dence of Apis abun­dance on human inter­ven­tion rather than envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions. Con­tin­ued research includ­ing more study sites in a wider vari­ety of habi­tats would allow for stronger con­clu­sions. Specif­i­cal­ly, includ­ing more com­mer­cial farms could more con­clu­sive­ly address whether Apis and native bees of any guild com­pete in agri­cul­tur­al settings.

Authors

  • Rachel Pat­ten, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Fegens Lyncee, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
Effects of land-use on Bombus abundance in southeastern Massachusetts

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Bees pro­vide crit­i­cal pol­li­na­tion ser­vices. Bum­ble­bees (Bom­bus spp.) are espe­cial­ly effec­tive pol­li­na­tors due to their mor­pho­log­i­cal fea­tures, gen­er­al­ist for­ag­ing pref­er­ences, and abil­i­ty to son­i­cate. Bom­bus loss has been linked to declines in local plant diver­si­ty, sug­gest­ing the pres­ence of this genus may indi­cate a healthy ecosys­tem. We ana­lyzed Bom­bus abun­dance across six sites to deter­mine if dif­fer­ing land-use prac­tices affect­ed the bum­ble­bee com­mu­ni­ty. We char­ac­ter­ized land-use by per­cent imper­vi­ous cov­er using GIS analy­sis of a 300-meter buffer zone around each site. Two of our sites were on a col­lege cam­pus that employed sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices includ­ing no-mow zones, and a small, man­aged native mead­ow. We sam­pled bum­ble­bees via sweep-net­ting over two sea­sons in 2016 and 2017.

Results/Conclusions
Our GIS analy­sis allowed for a clear dis­tinc­tion of rur­al sites (<8% imper­vi­ous cov­er; three sites) and urban sites (>30% imper­vi­ous cov­er; three sites, includ­ing the two on the col­lege cam­pus). Over the two sam­pling sea­sons we col­lect­ed a total of 257 Bom­bus indi­vid­u­als. There was no sig­nif­i­cant effect of sam­pling year (2016 vs. 2017) on Bom­bus abun­dance, so we pooled data from both years. Kruskal-Wal­lace analy­sis revealed a sig­nif­i­cant effect of site on Bom­bus abun­dance, sug­gest­ing an effect of land-use. Pair­wise com­par­isons showed that one urban site with imple­ment­ed sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices had sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er Bom­bus abun­dance (six times high­er) than one of the rur­al sites. This sug­gests that bum­ble­bees may be well suit­ed for urban envi­ron­ments and may be par­tic­u­lar­ly respon­sive to sus­tain­able land-use prac­tices such as no-mow zones and native plant­i­ngs. The urban environment’s high­er abun­dance may also be due to the con­cen­tra­tion of flo­ral or habi­tat resources. Future stud­ies are need­ed to inves­ti­gate the exact envi­ron­men­tal fac­tors that pro­mote bum­ble­bee communities.

Authors

  • Isabelle L. Ruesch, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Rachel Pat­ten, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Andrew Ogu­ma, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Folusho Ajayi, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Prisca Sanon, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College

ESA 2015 Abstract

Restoring habitat with native flowering plants benefits wild bees in an urban landscape

Abstract
Background/Question/Methods
Native bees pro­vide crit­i­cal pol­li­na­tor ser­vices for both crop and wild flow­er­ing plants, yet the sta­tus of many bee pop­u­la­tions is either poor­ly under­stood or has declined in the past 30 years. Habi­tat degra­da­tion and urban­iza­tion, espe­cial­ly the loss of flo­ral and nest­ing resources, is hypoth­e­sized to neg­a­tive­ly impact wild bee pop­u­la­tions. In a sea of urban­iza­tion, col­lege cam­pus­es in cities have the poten­tial to be native habi­tat islands for wildlife. To improve nat­ur­al habi­tat in an urban land­scape, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege has con­vert­ed mowed lawns to native plant sanc­tu­ar­ies. We con­duct­ed an exper­i­ment to bet­ter under­stand how habi­tat restora­tion impacts wild bee pop­u­la­tions. The bee com­mu­ni­ty at Mas­sas­oit was sam­pled along a 120m tran­sect that began at the native mead­ow and extend­ed fur­ther than the max­i­mum for­ag­ing dis­tance of most small bees. We col­lect­ed bees using pan traps and mea­sured wild bee abun­dance, diver­si­ty, and richness.

Results/Conclusions
Wild bee abun­dance, diver­si­ty, and rich­ness was dif­fer­en­tial­ly impact­ed by dis­tance from the native mead­ow. Two of the most abun­dant bees col­lect­ed were small car­pen­ter bees from the genus Cer­ati­na and green sweat bees from the genus Aga­pos­te­mon. The abun­dance of Cer­ati­na was much high­er at or with­in 40m of the mead­ow, while the abun­dance of Aga­pos­te­mon did not appear to be influ­enced by dis­tance. Cer­ati­na nests in cav­i­ties of stems and dead wood, while Aga­pos­te­mon nests in loose to com­pact soil. Our results indi­cate that abun­dance might be cor­re­lat­ed with nest­ing pref­er­ence. Although nest­ing resources are often over­looked in land­scape restora­tion, our study sug­gests that plant­i­ng native flow­er­ing forbs increas­es the avail­abil­i­ty of nest sites in an urban land­scape and may ben­e­fit cav­i­ty-nest­ing bees.

Authors

  • Trishaw­na Watkins, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Adam Ger­maine, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Jen­nifer Moore, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Michael Bank­son, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Don­ald Schoen­er, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College
  • Sean Kent, Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty College