Presentation Title

Assessing Current Floral Resource Availability and Use for Native Pollinators on the UC Santa Barbara Campus

Faculty Mentor

Hillary Young

Start Date

17-11-2018 8:30 AM

End Date

17-11-2018 10:30 AM

Location

CREVELING 37

Session

POSTER 1

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

With pollinator species in decline due mostly to human interference, it becomes increasingly clear that precautions must be implemented in an attempt to rejuvenate this vital part of the ecosystem. Pollinators help support the community both aesthetically and ecologically and there is no question that urban landscapes must be utilized to mitigate the effects of habitat loss and species decline. Thus, it is crucial to ensure that campus is a place that meets both the nutritional and ecological needs of pollinators. Additionally, the influx of both nonnative pollinators, plants and other organisms have drastically transformed ecosystems, and research targeted at better understanding these changes to native pollinator communities has yet to be studied in an urban context. By monitoring floral resource availability as well as the abundance and distribution of pollinators along designated patches of the UC Santa Barbara campus, both native and nonnative, the habitats which pollinators are occupying can be analyzed against time/financial investments as well as water consumption information provided by the school for landscaping. Through the first year of data collections at UCSB, it becomes apparent that native pollinators visited native transects more frequently than nonnative transects while nonnative pollinators visited nonnative transects more frequently than native transects. Additionally, native pollinators visit native flowering species with much more frequency than nonnative flowers. Apis mellifera (nonnative European honeybee) visits both native and nonnative plant species acting as generalists. Bombus vosnesenskii (native yellow face bumblebee) visits more native than nonnative plant species but still acts as a generalist. Agapostemon, native California bee genus, visits only native plants acting as a specialist. The utility of this project lies both in its ability to guide landscape management into a direction that supports conservation efforts, as well as providing a framework for other campuses and urban areas to replicate this approach.

Summary of research results to be presented

UC Santa Barbara campus pollinator trends indicate that the planting of native flowering plant species can help foster and support native pollinators, while nonnative have shown preference for nonnative plants but still visit some species of native plants. Even within the native flowering plants of California, our study has discerned specific species that support a breadth of pollinators. Many nonnative pollinator varieties help contribute to pollinator abundance data, but do not necessarily perform the task of pollination as efficiently as native bees. For example, Apis mellifera are found in great abundance throughout UCSB campus, but are apt as pollen gathering rather than pollen distribution. Thus, while they are in ample abundance, they are not performing the ecosystem service desired. Our results are intended to be used as guidance for landscape management to inform both plants species and locations which can best support native pollinators. Additionally, we hope this research framework can be utilized throughout other urban landscapes and college campuses across the nation.

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Nov 17th, 8:30 AM Nov 17th, 10:30 AM

Assessing Current Floral Resource Availability and Use for Native Pollinators on the UC Santa Barbara Campus

CREVELING 37

With pollinator species in decline due mostly to human interference, it becomes increasingly clear that precautions must be implemented in an attempt to rejuvenate this vital part of the ecosystem. Pollinators help support the community both aesthetically and ecologically and there is no question that urban landscapes must be utilized to mitigate the effects of habitat loss and species decline. Thus, it is crucial to ensure that campus is a place that meets both the nutritional and ecological needs of pollinators. Additionally, the influx of both nonnative pollinators, plants and other organisms have drastically transformed ecosystems, and research targeted at better understanding these changes to native pollinator communities has yet to be studied in an urban context. By monitoring floral resource availability as well as the abundance and distribution of pollinators along designated patches of the UC Santa Barbara campus, both native and nonnative, the habitats which pollinators are occupying can be analyzed against time/financial investments as well as water consumption information provided by the school for landscaping. Through the first year of data collections at UCSB, it becomes apparent that native pollinators visited native transects more frequently than nonnative transects while nonnative pollinators visited nonnative transects more frequently than native transects. Additionally, native pollinators visit native flowering species with much more frequency than nonnative flowers. Apis mellifera (nonnative European honeybee) visits both native and nonnative plant species acting as generalists. Bombus vosnesenskii (native yellow face bumblebee) visits more native than nonnative plant species but still acts as a generalist. Agapostemon, native California bee genus, visits only native plants acting as a specialist. The utility of this project lies both in its ability to guide landscape management into a direction that supports conservation efforts, as well as providing a framework for other campuses and urban areas to replicate this approach.