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Investigation into the foraging behaviour of bumblebees on varying flowering vegetation, across the habitats of the RSPB reserve, Dungeness, Kent. Karen Booth. Overall Aims.

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Karen Booth

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Karen booth

Investigation into the foraging behaviour of bumblebees on varying flowering vegetation, across the habitats of the RSPB reserve, Dungeness, Kent.

Karen Booth


Overall aims

Overall Aims

  • Assess which habitats, on the RSPB reserve, Dungeness, Kent, are most suitable for the re-introduction of Bombus subterraneus.

  • Replicate and manage habitats.


Grassland managed to provide a legume rich sward

Grassland(managed to provide a legume rich sward)


Semi natural vegetated shingle

Semi-natural vegetated shingle


Rank vegetation at the margins of wetlands

Rank vegetation at the margins of wetlands


Grazed field

Grazed Field


Bombus subterraneus

Bombus subterraneus


Research questions

Research Questions

1. How does the abundance of each recorded species of current Bombus vary across the four habitats?

2. How does the total number of Bombus sightings vary across the four habitats?

3. Which habitat contains the greatest abundance of flowering vegetation preferred by Bombus subterraneus?

4. Which current Bombus species prefer to forage on which flowering vegetation family across the four habitats?


Study design

Study Design

  • 18th of July to 1st August 2009.

  • Females actively foraging for nectar and pollen.

  • Between the hours of 8.30am and 5.00pm.

  • Five 20x20m ‘working quadrats’.

  • Three 15 minute bee walks conducted in each working quadrat.

  • Foraging Bombus species and flowering vegetation were identified.

  • Unidentifiable Bombus individuals were caught in the meshed sample pot and inspected.

  • 20 random small quadrats were thrown in each working quadrat.

  • Flowering vegetation within the quadrat was identified and recorded.


Further inspection of specimen

Further inspection of specimen


Quadrat

Quadrat


Results

Results


Karen booth

Pooled total number of Bombus visits recorded across four habitats ± standard deviation, collected July/August 2009, Dungeness, Kent, UK.


Karen booth

Objective 1

  • Grassland had significantly greater Bombus hortorum than other habitats (F ratio > F critical value).

  • Wetland had significantly greater abundance of ‘ginger bees’ than other habitats (F ratio > F critical value).


Karen booth

Pooled total number of Bombus sightings recorded across four habitats ± standard deviation, collected July/August 2009, Dungeness, Kent, UK.


Objective 2

Objective 2

  • Grassland had significantly greater Bombus sightings than other habitats (F ratio > F critical value).


Karen booth

Pooled total number of flowering plant species recorded across the wetland habitat ± standard deviation, collected July/August 2009, Dungeness, Kent, UK.


Objective 3

Objective 3

  • Only habitat to hold specific Bombus subterraneus preferred species of flowering vegetation including viper’s bugloss (Echium vulgare), yellow melilot (Melilotus altissima), common teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) was wetland habitat.


Objective 4

Objective 4

  • Wetland habitat: Bombus terrestris/lucorum prefers the pooled recorded species of the Borage family (including just viper’s bugloss).

  • Wetland habitat: the pooled ‘Ginger Bees’ prefer the pooled recorded species of the Borage family (including just viper’s bugloss).


Conclusions

Conclusions

Importance of bumblebees

  • Decline in British bumblebee abundance; loss of numbers can result in changes in plant communities, and associated herbivore communities (Goulson et al., 2005).

    Why has this decline occurred?

  • Intensified farming practices (Osborne & Corbet, 1994) (Carvell, 2002).


Conclusions1

Conclusions

Relating findings to the future

  • Bombus hortorum and the ‘ginger bees’ are both long-tongued species like Bombus subterraneus.

  • Grassland habitat should perhaps be replicated and continued to be managed sufficiently.

  • Wetland habitat should perhaps be replicated and continued to be managed sufficiently.

  • Vegetation at the edge of the wetlands had greatest abundance of plants preferred by Bombus subterraneus, including common teasel, viper’s bugloss and yellow melilot. Survey areas and control invasive species.

  • Extra effort into managing and increasing populations of viper’s bugloss on wetland habitats.


Questions

Questions?


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