Predicting patterns of population structure in native bee pollinators
Understanding population structure is key to developing predictions about species susceptibility to environmental changes, such habitat fragmentation and climate change. Bees have recently become the focus of conservation concern due to increasing evidence of population declines worldwide and thus drawing attention to the ecological and economic consequences of pollinator loss. In this study, we use a comparative phylogenetic approach to assess whether patterns of population structure are determined by species-specific biological traits or are mainly driven by local landscape characteristics. We reviewed the current literature on population genetics of native bees and use phylogenetic generalized linear models to assess the effect of body size and diet specialization on the genetic differentiation of native bees
Our preliminary analyses show that population structure is independent of phylogeny, suggesting that landscape features might be an important driver of the observed patterns. However, we detected a significant effect of body size, but not of diet specialization, on population genetic structure. Our results highlight the importance of generating standardized population genetic studies to identify the most susceptible species to landscape and climatic changes.