Social bees are fitter in more biodiverse environments

Sci Rep. 2018 Aug 17;8(1):12353. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-30126-0.

Abstract

Bee population declines are often linked to human impacts, especially habitat and biodiversity loss, but empirical evidence is lacking. To clarify the link between biodiversity loss and bee decline, we examined how floral diversity affects (reproductive) fitness and population growth of a social stingless bee. For the first time, we related available resource diversity and abundance to resource (quality and quantity) intake and colony reproduction, over more than two years. Our results reveal plant diversity as key driver of bee fitness. Social bee colonies were fitter and their populations grew faster in more florally diverse environments due to a continuous supply of food resources. Colonies responded to high plant diversity with increased resource intake and colony food stores. Our findings thus point to biodiversity loss as main reason for the observed bee decline.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees*
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem
  • Environment*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Population Dynamics