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How Do Bumblebees And Honeybees Exploit Food Resources In Different Habitat Qualities?

Gomes Pereira, Joana (2016) BION01 20152
Degree Projects in Biology
Abstract
Foragers increase their fitness by choosing the most profitable food source to forage on. Food resource is spatially distributed in a landscape context and, most importantly, in a patch scale. Therefore, they have to make daily decisions about where to forage based on their ecological information about the surrounding environment. There is a lack of descriptive studies on the relationship between foragers behaviour and food resources' distribution at both different habitat scales perceived by the individuals. In order to understand which factors from the environment affect bumblebees and honeybees foraging behaviour, a study was conducted in Skåne, considering the quality of foraging plants, patches and landscapes. The main measured... (More)
Foragers increase their fitness by choosing the most profitable food source to forage on. Food resource is spatially distributed in a landscape context and, most importantly, in a patch scale. Therefore, they have to make daily decisions about where to forage based on their ecological information about the surrounding environment. There is a lack of descriptive studies on the relationship between foragers behaviour and food resources' distribution at both different habitat scales perceived by the individuals. In order to understand which factors from the environment affect bumblebees and honeybees foraging behaviour, a study was conducted in Skåne, considering the quality of foraging plants, patches and landscapes. The main measured behaviour was the time spent per plant, but the
foraging diversity and frequency of transition between plant species was also addressed. The main findings show that bee species have different plant selections according to their functional characteristics. Individuals adjust their behaviour to the quality of the plant species where they are foraging, spending more time on high-quality plants. Additionally, on a patch scale, the frequency bees switch plant species is influenced by the patch quality. Moreover, bees spend more time per plant when they travel longer distances between plants. Also, when they forage on a high-quality landscape, the time spent per plant is decreased. Thus, this study reinforces the theory that the scale, where the type and availability of resources change, really influences foraging strategies and foragers decisions. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Bees search for pollen and nectar, their food sources, on a wide range of plant species. Those food plants are distributed across different patches within distinct landscapes. Therefore, bees need to make decisions about which patches or landscapes they should search for food. Besides, bee individuals have special preferences for plant species with a higher abundance of nectar and/or pollen, which are considered as richer quality food resources. Consequently, bees choose patches with a higher density of good plant species and they have special preference for landscapes with a higher availability of richer patches. Additionally, bees in order to do those daily decisions of where to search for food and in which plant species they should feed... (More)
Bees search for pollen and nectar, their food sources, on a wide range of plant species. Those food plants are distributed across different patches within distinct landscapes. Therefore, bees need to make decisions about which patches or landscapes they should search for food. Besides, bee individuals have special preferences for plant species with a higher abundance of nectar and/or pollen, which are considered as richer quality food resources. Consequently, bees choose patches with a higher density of good plant species and they have special preference for landscapes with a higher availability of richer patches. Additionally, bees in order to do those daily decisions of where to search for food and in which plant species they should feed on, they need to have information about the surrounding environment where they live in. According to the quality of the landscape, patch or plant species where bees are feeding on, they will have different behaviours in order to maximize their food intake. Thus, through bees´ behaviour, we can have information about how good a habitat is for pollinators. This study relied on looking for behavioural differences between distinct landscapes, patches and plant species, and understand which factors from the environment are affecting their behaviour. The study was conducted across different habitats in Skåne, where focal observations of bumblebees and honeybees were taken. The main recorded behaviours were the time bees where spending on plants; the diversity of plants used; and how frequently were changing plant species. The predominant findings were that bee species have different plant preferences according to their tongue-length and have different plant species diversities. Bee species select mostly plant species with flower characteristics that better correspond to their tongue-length. For instance, bees with long-tongue choose mainly long-tube flowers and are very specialized on those plant types, which leads to a low diversity of plant species used. Also, individuals adjust their behaviour to the quality of the plant species where they are feeding on, by spending more time on high-quality plants. Additionally, within a patch, the frequency with which bees switch plant species is influenced by the quality of the patch. Also, when bees need to travel longer distances between plants, they are spending more time per plant. Lastly, when bees are on a high-quality landscapes, the time spent per plant is decreased. Thus, I have reinforced that bees´ behaviour is really changing regarding the quality of the plant species, patch or landscapes where they are feeding. The knowledge of those behavioural differences can be used towards pollinators´ conservation.

Supervisor: Ola Olsson
Master´s Degree Project 45 credits in Biology, 2015
Department of Biology, Lund University (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Gomes Pereira, Joana
supervisor
organization
course
BION01 20152
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
language
English
id
8891535
date added to LUP
2016-09-13 09:34:04
date last changed
2016-09-13 09:34:04
@misc{8891535,
  abstract     = {Foragers increase their fitness by choosing the most profitable food source to forage on. Food resource is spatially distributed in a landscape context and, most importantly, in a patch scale. Therefore, they have to make daily decisions about where to forage based on their ecological information about the surrounding environment. There is a lack of descriptive studies on the relationship between foragers behaviour and food resources' distribution at both different habitat scales perceived by the individuals. In order to understand which factors from the environment affect bumblebees and honeybees foraging behaviour, a study was conducted in Skåne, considering the quality of foraging plants, patches and landscapes. The main measured behaviour was the time spent per plant, but the
foraging diversity and frequency of transition between plant species was also addressed. The main findings show that bee species have different plant selections according to their functional characteristics. Individuals adjust their behaviour to the quality of the plant species where they are foraging, spending more time on high-quality plants. Additionally, on a patch scale, the frequency bees switch plant species is influenced by the patch quality. Moreover, bees spend more time per plant when they travel longer distances between plants. Also, when they forage on a high-quality landscape, the time spent per plant is decreased. Thus, this study reinforces the theory that the scale, where the type and availability of resources change, really influences foraging strategies and foragers decisions.},
  author       = {Gomes Pereira, Joana},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {How Do Bumblebees And Honeybees Exploit Food Resources In Different Habitat Qualities?},
  year         = {2016},
}