Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #367811

Research Project: Managing and Conserving Diverse Bee Pollinators for Sustainable Crop Production and Wildland Preservation

Location: Pollinating Insect-Biology, Management, Systematics Research

Title: Decades of native bee biodiversity surveys at Pinnacles National Park highlight the importance of monitoring natural areas over time

item MEINERS, JOAN - University Of Florida
item Griswold, Terry

Submitted to: PLOS ONE
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/17/2018
Publication Date: 1/17/2019
Citation: Meiners, J.M., Griswold, T.L., Messinger-Carril, O. 2019. Decades of native bee biodiversity surveys at Pinnacles National Park highlight the importance of monitoring natural areas over time. PLoS ONE. 14(1): e0207566.

Interpretive Summary: Despite their importance as pollinators, we know little about the status of wild bees. This is particularly true in natural areas. We studied the native bees of one such place, Pinnacles National Park, in the South Coast Range of California. It is one of the few places where there has been intensive study across decades of time. It is a hotspot of diversity with 450 species of bees in 42 square miles. Forty-eight of these species were first detected in the most recent study in 2011 and 2012. Comparison with other local bee studies demonstrates that this is one of the richest bee faunas known in the world. Similar studies need to be conducted in other protected areas because of concerns about bee declines.

Technical Abstract: Thousands of species of bees are in global decline, yet research addressing the ecology and status of these wild pollinators lags far behind work being done to address similar impacts on the managed honey bee. This knowledge gap is especially glaring in natural areas, despite knowledge that protected habitats harbor and export diverse bee communities into nearby croplands where their pollination services have been valued at over $3 billion per year. Surrounded by ranches and farmlands, Pinnacles National Park in the Inner South Coast Range of California contains intact Mediterranean chaparral shrubland. This habitat type is among the most valuable for bee biodiversity worldwide, as well as one of the most vulnerable to agricultural conversion, urbanization and climate change. Pinnacles National Park is also one of a very few locations where extensive native bee inventory efforts have been repeated over time. This park thus presents a valuable and rare opportunity to monitor long-term trends and baseline variability of native bees in natural habitats. Fifteen years after a species inventory marked Pinnacles as a biodiversity hotspot for native bees, we resurveyed these native bee communities over two flowering seasons using a systematic, plot-based design. Combining results, we report a total of 450 bee species within this 109km2 natural area of California, including 48 new species records as of 2012 and 95 species not seen since 1999. As far as we are aware, this species richness marks Pinnacles National Park as one of the most densely diverse places known for native bees. We explore patterns of bee diversity across this protected landscape, compare results to other surveyed natural areas, and highlight the need for additional repeated inventories in protected areas over time amid widespread concerns of bee declines.