Jul 4, 2015

Seasonal cycles, phylogenetic assembly, and functional diversity of orchid bee communities

Ecology and Evolution
Santiago R RamírezMargarita M López-Uribe

Abstract

Neotropical rainforests sustain some of the most diverse terrestrial communities on Earth. Euglossine (or orchid) bees are a diverse lineage of insect pollinators distributed throughout the American tropics, where they provide pollination services to a staggering diversity of flowering plant taxa. Elucidating the seasonal patterns of phylogenetic assembly and functional trait diversity of bee communities can shed new light into the mechanisms that govern the assembly of bee pollinator communities and the potential effects of declining bee populations. Male euglossine bees collect, store, and accumulate odoriferous compounds (perfumes) to subsequently use during courtship display. Thus, synthetic chemical baits can be used to attract and monitor euglossine bee populations. We conducted monthly censuses of orchid bees in three sites in the Magdalena valley of Colombia - a region where Central and South American biotas converge - to investigate the structure, diversity, and assembly of euglossine bee communities through time in relation to seasonal climatic cycles. In particular, we tested the hypothesis that phylogenetic community structure and functional trait diversity changed in response to seasonal rainfall fluctuations. All ...Continue Reading

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