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Article alert: Changing Bee and Hoverfly Pollinator Assemblages along an Urban-Rural Gradient
03.09.2011

PLoS One (2011) 6(8):e23459. Epub 2011 Aug 12.

Bates AJ, Sadler JP, Fairbrass AJ, Falk SJ, Hale JD, Matthews TJ.

The potential for reduced pollination ecosystem service due to global declines of bees and other pollinators is cause for considerable concern. Habitat degradation, destruction and fragmentation due to agricultural intensification have historically been the main causes of this pollinator decline. However, despite increasing and accelerating levels of global urbanization, very little research has investigated the effects of urbanization on pollinator assemblages. We assessed changes in the diversity, abundance and species composition of bee and hoverfly pollinator assemblages in urban, suburban, and rural sites across a UK city.
Our results show that urban areas can support diverse pollinator assemblages, but that this capacity is strongly affected by local habitat quality. Nonetheless, in both urban and suburban areas of the city the assemblages had fewer individuals and lower diversity than similar rural habitats. The unique development histories of different urban areas, and the difficulty of assessing mobile pollinator assemblages in just part of their range, mean that complementary studies in different cities and urban habitats are required to discover if these findings are more widely applicable.


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