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Data from: Lower bumblebee colony reproductive success in agricultural compared to urban environments

Citation

Samuelson, Ash E. et al. (2018), Data from: Lower bumblebee colony reproductive success in agricultural compared to urban environments, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.c68cj62

Abstract

Urbanisation represents a rapidly growing driver of land-use change. While it is clear that urbanisation 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 characterised by varying degrees of urbanisation 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 urbanisation and bumblebee colony reproductive success, supporting the theory that urban areas provide a refuge for pollinator populations in an otherwise barren agricultural landscape.

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