Community structure and diversity of vegetation and flower-visiting wild bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) in sandy dry grassland: are there congruent characteristics?
Beil, Marion; Kratochwil, Anselm; Storm, Christian; Schwabe, Angelika
We studied community structures of mainly threatened types of sandy dry grassland, and those of flower-visiting wild bees, in successional, non-ruderal or ruderal gradients in the Upper Rhine Valley (Germany). We searched for congruent characteristics in the floristic/faunistic structure of plant and bee species, and for differences between two study years. We also asked which vegetation type or complex plays the most important role as a pollen or nectar resource for wild bees, and what conclusions can be drawn for nature conservation. The vegetation types or complexes range from basiphytic pioneer stages to consolidated basiphytic to slightly acidophytic grasslands (classes Koelerio-Corynephoretea and Festuco-Brometea): Koelerion glaucae complex (1), Armerio-Festucetum trachyphyllae (2a, typical; 2b, ruderalized), ruderalized ex-arable field (3), and Allio-Stipetum capillatae (4). We used a plot-based approach for recording vegetation data and flower-visiting wild bees. Relevés were sampled and flowervisiting bees netted on defined flower resources (2004, 2005). Data were analyzed by ordination, mixed linear models and regression analysis. Phytosociological table and DCA show clear floristic differentiations between the vegetation types and complexes. For the bee data there were weaker species-based differentiations. In the year 2004 there were two bee assemblages, in the year 2005 this differentiation was not detectable. The most species- and individual-rich wild-bee populations were detected in the vegetation types 2b, 3 and 4. These types were characterized by a high diversity of entomophilous plant species in combination with high flower density. Although ruderalized sandy grasslands have only moderate conservation value based on vegetation characteristics, they offer remarkable resources for species-rich populations of wild bees. Important flower resources for endangered wild-bee species are, among others, Centaurea stoebe s.l., Berteroa incana and Carduus nutans. The diversity characteristics of the studied vegetation types or complexes do not always correspond to those of the flower-visiting bees, which should be taken into account in developing conservation strategies.