Impacts of post-fire succession on native bee diversity within the Rocky Mountain Ecosystem, The

David, Kendra
Allowing natural fires to occur in Rocky Mountain forests may be an important factor in increasing native bee populations, as larger populations of native bees have been found in early successional stages of post-fire forests in other forest systems. Burned dead trees are preferred nesting sites for cavity-dwelling bees and the bare ground from fires is important to ground-dwelling bees. In this work, I examined how the two recent fire disturbances on Casper Mountain (2006 and 2012) impacted native bee diversity and abundance. Since fire opens up more area for flowering plants, I hypothesize that more native bees will be found in early post-fire succession than later post-fire succession or nearby non-burned (control) areas. I tested this hypothesis by collecting 4690 native bees within burned and non-burned areas of the mountain then counted and identified the collected specimens using morphological and molecular techniques. Overall, bees were more abundant and more diverse in burn areas than in the control areas. This is important information for fire management practices in regards to native bee conservation.
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