Social bees are fitter in more biodiverse environments

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Bee population declines are often linked to human impacts, especially habitat and biodiversity loss, but empirical evidence is lacking. To clarify the link between biodiversity loss and bee decline, we examined how floral diversity affects (reproductive) fitness and population growth of a social stingless bee. For the first time, we related available resource diversity and abundance to resource (quality and quantity) intake and colony reproduction, over more than two years. Our results reveal plant diversity as key driver of bee fitness. Social bee colonies were fitter and their populations grew faster in more florally diverse environments due to a continuous supply of food resources. Colonies responded to high plant diversity with increased resource intake and colony food stores. Our findings thus point to biodiversity loss as main reason for the observed bee decline.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12353
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
Number of pages10
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2018

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