Ecological meta-networks integrate spatial and temporal dynamics of plant-bumble bee interactions
Bumble bees can forage on a large number of wild plants and crops. The survival of a colony depends on the availability of suitable food resources within foraging range and throughout their forage season. We studied the spatial and temporal use of floral resources by bumble bees in a set of 30 local plant communities and used these data to model colony survival under different combinations of patch size and bumble bee flight distance. Floral resources vary spatially and temporally at the landscape level, and bumble bees track these resources across the landscape during the season. The simulation model showed that different patterns of resources availability could affect the survival and distribution of bumble bee nests across the landscape. This model can be used to generate hypotheses explaining bumble bee richness and abundance that can be tested in real landscapes. Integrating the spatial and temporal dynamics of the flower resources used by bumble bees provides a new perspective that can be used to inform bumble bee conservation, particularly in the context of their widespread decline in recent decades.
ABUNDANCE BEE BOMBUS [GENUS] CONSERVATION MANAGEMENT FOOD AVAILABILITY NUMERICAL MODEL PATCH SIZE PLANT COMMUNITY PLANT-INSECT INTERACTION POPULATION DECLINE SPATIAL VARIATION SPECIES RICHNESS SURVIVAL TEMPORAL VARIATION