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Bees of Old Growth/Mature Eastern Forests: A useful construct?

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  • Sam Droege
    All: After posting the results of our spring woodland survey Jason Gibbs wrote me to say that Lasioglossum subviridatum (a species I knew almost nothing about)
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 6 3:45 PM
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      All:

      After posting the results of our spring woodland survey Jason Gibbs wrote me to say that Lasioglossum subviridatum (a species I knew almost nothing about) is also known to nest in wood.  This got me thinking.  Since the nest site resources (downed rotting wood, upturned root masses) and floral resources (ericaceous  shrubs, vernal forbs) are features that are present in mature/old growth woodlands and absent or sparse in successional forest, might not surveys of woodland bees be useful in documenting the health and or status of a forest?   This would add one additional natural history group to the suite of things that apparently are associated with healthy forests (e.g., birds, mushrooms, beetles), but may have advantages in terms of sampling procedures and interpretation.  

      To further generalize this thought.  It would also seem that at least some work on the conservation/recovery/endangerment of other significant rare habitats may also benefit from adding a bee component to such surveys.  Prairie, sand, and desert habitats all leap to mind.   If one were to sample the landscape of a state or a county would the bee hotspots align with the plant hotspots?   It seems to me that preservation of land is driven by listing activities associated with botanists, ornithologists, and charismatic entomological groups (not that bees aren't charismatic they just haven't made the parade at this point) and that a bee component to these evaluations would be a worthy addition to such evaluations.

      sam


      The Waking

      I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
      I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
      I learn by going where I have to go.

      We think by feeling. What is there to know?
      I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
      I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

      Of those so close beside me, which are you?
      God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there, 
      And learn by going where I have to go.

      Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
      The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
      I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

      Great Nature has another thing to do
      To you and me; so take the lively air,
      And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

      This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
      What falls away is always. And is near.
      I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
      I learn by going where I have to go. 

      - Theodore Roethke


    • John Ascher
      Sam: L. subviridatum is what you used to call oblongum in part. In and near NYC we find that wood-nesting species including subviridatum and oblongum are
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 6 3:57 PM
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        Sam:

        L. subviridatum is what you used to call "oblongum" in part.

        In and near NYC we find that wood-nesting species including subviridatum and oblongum are well-represented in city parks and even to some extent in small community gardens (see Matteson et al. paper). These species evidently do not require old growth or mature forests or even forests at all. These urban and suburban wood nesters do not require healthy forests. They just need a piece of rotting wood to nest in and some weeds as a floral resource. I would be cautious about promoting bees as indicator species based on generalizations about their life histories.

        John

         

        From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com] on behalf of Sam Droege [sdroege@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2012 6:45 PM
        To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [beemonitoring] Bees of Old Growth/Mature Eastern Forests: A useful construct?

         

        All:

        After posting the results of our spring woodland survey Jason Gibbs wrote me to say that Lasioglossum subviridatum (a species I knew almost nothing about) is also known to nest in wood.  This got me thinking.  Since the nest site resources (downed rotting wood, upturned root masses) and floral resources (ericaceous  shrubs, vernal forbs) are features that are present in mature/old growth woodlands and absent or sparse in successional forest, might not surveys of woodland bees be useful in documenting the health and or status of a forest?   This would add one additional natural history group to the suite of things that apparently are associated with healthy forests (e.g., birds, mushrooms, beetles), but may have advantages in terms of sampling procedures and interpretation.  

        To further generalize this thought.  It would also seem that at least some work on the conservation/recovery/endangerment of other significant rare habitats may also benefit from adding a bee component to such surveys.  Prairie, sand, and desert habitats all leap to mind.   If one were to sample the landscape of a state or a county would the bee hotspots align with the plant hotspots?   It seems to me that preservation of land is driven by listing activities associated with botanists, ornithologists, and charismatic entomological groups (not that bees aren't charismatic they just haven't made the parade at this point) and that a bee component to these evaluations would be a worthy addition to such evaluations.

        sam


        The Waking

        I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
        I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
        I learn by going where I have to go.

        We think by feeling. What is there to know?
        I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
        I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

        Of those so close beside me, which are you?
        God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there, 
        And learn by going where I have to go.

        Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
        The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
        I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

        Great Nature has another thing to do
        To you and me; so take the lively air,
        And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

        This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
        What falls away is always. And is near.
        I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
        I learn by going where I have to go. 

        - Theodore Roethke


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