Road Verges for Bumblebee Conservation: A Green Infrastructure Opportunity or an Ecological Trap?

Wallace, Claire (2023) Road Verges for Bumblebee Conservation: A Green Infrastructure Opportunity or an Ecological Trap? Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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My thesis discusses the potential of road verges as a tool for bumblebee conservation, focusing on Bombus terrestris and roadsides within the UK.

Chapter 1 is an extensive literature review on the topic of road verges as a tool for pollinator conservation. The benefits and drawbacks of roadsides are thoroughly discussed, highlighting areas requiring further investigation. The concept of, and how verges may represent, ecological traps is also covered.

Chapter 2 addresses how distance from a major road impacts the development of B. terrestris colonies. The reproductive success of colonies located on the verge is compared to those positioned in the surrounding landscape. The results are discussed in the context of bumblebee conservation, and the importance of large-scale ecologically realistic field studies is highlighted.

Chapter 3 investigates the impacts of two common roadside metals (copper and cadmium) on the development of B. terrestris micro-colonies. Micro-colonies were exposed to different levels of metal contamination via a pollen or nectar source. The main findings are presented, with emphasis on the future of the transport sector.

Chapter 4 explores the pollen collection of B. terrestris colonies located on verges compared to those in the surrounding landscape. Pollen loads collected from foraging workers from colonies either on the roadside or in the surrounding area were identified using microscopy. Flowers visited by bumblebees were compared to floral resources within the landscape, and the potential for roadsides as a viable forage source for bumblebees is discussed in depth.

I conclude with a summary of all three data chapters, highlighting the knowledge gaps which have been addressed. Areas of research still requiring further investigation are discussed along with conservation applications/recommendations identified by my thesis. The future of the transport industry and the likely impacts this will have on pollinator conservation along verges is also discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Biological Sciences
Depositing User: Jennifer Whitaker
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2024 17:43
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2024 17:43


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