Spatial ecology of a range-expanding bumble bee pollinator

Crowther, Liam P., Wright, David J., Richardson, David S. ORCID:, Carvell, Claire and Bourke, Andrew F. G. ORCID: (2019) Spatial ecology of a range-expanding bumble bee pollinator. Ecology and Evolution, 9 (3). pp. 986-997. ISSN 2045-7758

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Molecular methods have greatly increased our understanding of the previously cryptic spatial ecology of bumble bees (Bombus spp.), with knowledge of the spatial ecology of these bees being central to conserving their essential pollination services. Bombus hypnorum, the Tree Bumble Bee, is unusual in that it has recently rapidly expanded its range, having colonized much of the UK mainland since 2001. However, the spatial ecology of B. hypnorum has not previously been investigated. To address this issue, and to investigate whether specific features of the spatial ecology of B. hypnorum are associated with its rapid range expansion, we used 14 microsatellite markers to estimate worker foraging distance, nest density, between‐year lineage survival rate and isolation by distance in a representative UK B. hypnorum population. After assigning workers to colonies based on full or half sibship, we estimated the mean colony‐specific worker foraging distance as 103.6 m, considerably less than values reported from most other bumble bee populations. Estimated nest density was notably high (2.56 and 0.72 colonies ha−1 in 2014 and 2015, respectively), estimated between‐year lineage survival rate was 0.07, and there was no evidence of fine‐scale isolation by distance. In addition, genotyping stored sperm dissected from sampled queens confirmed polyandry in this population (mean minimum mating frequency of 1.7 males per queen). Overall, our findings establish critical spatial ecological parameters and the mating system of this unusual bumble bee population and suggest that short worker foraging distances and high nest densities are associated with its rapid range expansion.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: All of the data associated with this manuscript is archived on Figshare. (
Uncontrolled Keywords: colonization,foraging distance,genetic structure,invasive species,microsatellite,population biology,ecology, evolution, behavior and systematics,ecology,nature and landscape conservation ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1105
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Organisms and the Environment
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2019 09:30
Last Modified: 13 May 2023 00:45
DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4722


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