Advancing bee conservation in the US: gaps and opportunities in data collection and reporting

Josée S. Rousseau*, S. Hollis Woodard, Sarina Jepsen, Brianne Du Clos, Alison Johnston, Bryan N. Danforth, Amanda D. Rodewald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction: Bee conservation in the US is currently hindered by challenges associated with assessing the status and trends of a diverse group of >3000 species, many of which are rare, endemic to small areas, and/or exhibit high inter-annual variationin population size. Fundamental information about the distribution of most species across space and time, thus, is lacking yet urgently needed to assess population status, guide conservation plans, and prioritize actions among species and geographies.

Methods: Using wild bee data from two public data repositories representing the contiguous US, we evaluated the availability and sufficiency of data for use in species assessments of wild bees. We also examined the number of bee species recorded in each US state and the proportion of species with recent records (2012–2021).

Results: Although efforts to monitor bees continue to grow, there remains a massive paucity of data. Exceedingly few records (0.04%)reported both sampling protocol and effort, greatly limiting the usefulness of the data. Few species or locations have adequate publicly available data to support analyses of population status or trends, and fewer than half of species have sufficient data to delineate geographic range. Despite an exponential increase in data submissions since the 2000s, only 47% of species were reported within the last decade, which may be driven by how data are collected, reported, and shared, or may reflect troubling patterns of local or large-scale declines and extirpations.

Discussion: Based on our analysis, we provide recommendations to improve the quality and quantity of data that can be used to detect, understand, and respond to changes in wild bee populations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1346795
JournalFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Bee (Apoidea)
  • Conservation
  • Data quality
  • Data quantity
  • Data standardization
  • Geographic range
  • Species assessments
  • Trend

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