Lower bumblebee colony reproductive success in agricultural compared with urban environments

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Title: Lower bumblebee colony reproductive success in agricultural compared with urban environments
Authors: Samuelson, A
Gill, RJ
Brown, M
Leadbeater, E
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Urbanization represents a rapidly growing driver of land-use change. While it is clear that urbanization impacts species abundance and diversity, direct effects of urban land use on animal reproductive success are rarely documented. Here, we show that urban land use is linked to long-term colony reproductive output in a key pollinator. We reared colonies from wild-caught bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) queens, placed them at sites characterized by varying degrees of urbanization from inner city to rural farmland and monitored the production of sexual offspring across the entire colony cycle. Our land-use cluster analysis identified three site categories, and this categorization was a strong predictor of colony performance. Crucially, colonies in the two clusters characterized by urban development produced more sexual offspring than those in the cluster dominated by agricultural land. These colonies also reached higher peak size, had more food stores, encountered fewer parasite invasions and survived for longer. Our results show a link between urbanization and bumblebee colony reproductive success, supporting the theory that urban areas provide a refuge for pollinator populations in an otherwise barren agricultural landscape.
Issue Date: 27-Jun-2018
Date of Acceptance: 25-May-2018
ISSN: 1471-2954
Publisher: Royal Society, The
Journal / Book Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume: 285
Issue: 1881
Copyright Statement: © 2018 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Sponsor/Funder: The Royal Society
Funder's Grant Number: RG2014 R1
Keywords: 06 Biological Sciences
11 Medical And Health Sciences
07 Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Open Access location:
Article Number: 20180807
Online Publication Date: 2018-06-27
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Natural Sciences

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