COS 85-4 - Influence of land use and the Conservation Reserve Program on native invertebrate pollinator communities in the Lllano Estacado

Thursday, August 11, 2016: 2:30 PM
Palm A, Ft Lauderdale Convention Center
Angela Begosh, Loren Smith and Scott McMurry, Integrative Biology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK

Numerous studies have documented that invertebrate pollinator services are critical to the world economy. Native pollinators have the potential to fill and/or enhance the role of honey bees, however, these populations are threatened by factors including habitat degradation, agricultural practices, invasive exotic plant species, competition and disease from managed bees, and climate change.  Our objective is to determine how the predominant land uses in the Southern High Plains of Texas (native grassland, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), and cropland) affect invertebrate pollinator species richness and diversity and more specifically, if CRP land hosts a diverse pollinator population given it consists primarily of non-native upland grasses. The CRP is targeted as a program to increase and improve pollinator habitat in the President’s Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and other Pollinators. We are also examining how playa wetlands embedded with these land uses contribute to pollinator habitat.  We used blue vane traps placed in the playa basins and adjacent uplands in each land use to compare pollinator diversity, richness, and composition. We also documented pollinator floral visitation to allow us to determine what plant species pollinators are utilizing and the role wetland plants serve in invertebrate pollinator habitat. 


Preliminary analysis indicates CRP has lower species richness and Shannon diversity than native grassland and cropland, which are similar. Upland richness and diversity did not differ from wetlands. We will examine factors contributing to low CRP richness and diversity and why uplands show little difference from wetlands. From these analyses, we hope to provide recommendations to the USDA Farm Service Agency on how to improve seeding mixtures for future CRP contacts to improve habitat for native pollinators.