Research questions

Bumble bee on Cosmos Bumble bee on Cosmos
Butterfly on mint Butterfly on mint
Bristol team sampling a car park Bristol team sampling a car park
Leeds team sampling a park Leeds team sampling a park

2. Where are the hotspots of pollinator biodiversity in urban areas?

In the second stage of the project we will quantify insect pollinators and their interactions with flowering plants in four urban areas: Bristol, Reading, Leeds and Edinburgh. Throughout 2012 we will be sampling urban habitats including parks, gardens, allotments, churchyards and cemeteries, road verges, car parks and pavements.

Most previous studies of pollinators in urban environments have focused on a single urban habitat such as gardens (Smith et al. 2006a, 2006b; Matteson et al. 2008, Matteson & Langellotto 2009, 2010), cemeteries and churchyards (Bates et al. 2011) or allotments (Ahrne et al. 2009). In this project we are simultaneously sampling a range of urban habitats which will enable us to compare the value of different types of urban habitats for insect pollinators and identify habitat ‘oases’ for pollinators in urban areas.

As for stage 1 of the project, we will use the data to construct quantitative plant-pollinator food webs in order to compare plant-pollinator communities between the different urban habitats.

In each city we are sampling 180 different locations. We are extremely grateful to all garden-owners, allotment organisations, landowners, companies and councils that have allowed us to access their land throughout our 2012 sampling season.

If you have volunteered your garden, please see our page with further information about garden surveys.

References

Ahrné, K. et al. 2009. Bumble bees (Bombus spp) along a gradient of increasing urbanization. PLoS ONE 4: e5574.

Bates, A. J.  et al. 2011. Changing bee and hoverfly pollinator assemblages along an urban-rural gradient. PLoS ONE 6: e23459.

Matteson, K.C. et al. 2008. Bee richness and abundance in New York City urban gardens. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 101:140-150.

Matteson, K. C. & Langellotto, G. A. 2009. Bumble bee abundance in New York City community gardens: implications for urban agriculture. Cities and the Environment 2 (1): article 5, 12 pp.

Matteson, K. C. & Langellotto, G. A. 2010. Determinates of inner city butterfly and bee species richness. Urban Ecosystems 13: 333-347.

Smith R.M., et al. 2006a. Urban domestic gardens (VI): environmental correlates of invertebrate species richness. Biodiversity and Conservation 15:1572–9710

Smith R.M., et al. 2006b. Urban domestic gardens (VIII): environmental correlates of invertebrate abundance. Biodiversity and Conservation 15: 2515-2545.