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Harvard Forest Data Archive


Survey of Wild Bee Pollinators on Nyssa Sylvatica at Harvard Forest since 2021

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  • Lead: Evan Preisser, Katharine Harrison
  • Investigators: Caroline Cohen
  • Contact: Information Manager
  • Start date: 2021
  • End date: 2021
  • Status: ongoing
  • Location: Prospect Hill Tract (Harvard Forest)
  • Latitude: +42.537514 to +42.537848 degrees
  • Longitude: -72.182592 to -72.182193 degrees
  • Elevation: 355 to 380 meter
  • Datum: WGS84
  • Taxa: Nyssa sylvatica (black gum), Andrenidae, Apidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae
  • Release date: 2023
  • Language: English
  • EML file: knb-lter-hfr.425.2
  • DOI: digital object identifier
  • EDI: data package
  • DataONE: data package
  • Related links:
  • Study type: short-term measurement
  • Research topic: biodiversity studies; conservation and management; physiological ecology, population dynamics and species interactions; regional studies
  • LTER core area: population studies
  • Keywords: arthropods, canopies, community composition, insects, phenology, species diversity
  • Abstract:

    Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) is amongst the latest blooming canopy species to produce vast numbers of flowers and abundant nectar and pollen within forests of the Northeastern United States, a position previously held by the American Chestnut (Castanea dentata). Prior research indicates N. sylvatica is insect pollinated and wild bees have been observed visiting flowers; we are unaware, however, of any detailed surveys and/or characterization of the Nyssa-associated wild bee community in the Northeastern United States. Wild bee species frequent the canopy from early to late spring, presumably to forage, prior to being found in blooming crops such as apple and strawberry later in the season. The late bloom time of N. sylvatica (in early June) may extend floral resource availability in the temperate forest canopy and support forest-associated wild bee communities prior to the bloom of summer-flowering plant species.

  • Methods:

    In order to efficiently sample the bee community that utilizes N. sylvatica floral resources, we used an indirect collection method, insect traps. We chose both flight-intercept traps, which collect insects that fly into clear vanes and drop into a collection bucket filled with fluid, and bowl traps, which attract bees due to color (white, blue, and yellow) and then trap them in collecting fluid. Both trap types are used frequently in bee surveys and by using both, we hoped to collect a greater diversity of bee species. Nyssa sylvatica trees were identified and selected in early spring 2021 within the Black Gum Swamp located in Harvard Forest (Petersham, Massachusetts). The selected trees were monitored as the season progressed and as bloom approached, we deployed one set of paired canopy and ground traps per tree (one set is a flight-intercept trap along with one white, one yellow, and one blue bowl traps). There were a total of eight traps per tree (two flight-intercept traps and six bowl traps). We selected three trees in spring 2021, two female trees and one male. Prior to the onset of bloom, the flight-intercept traps and bowl traps were deployed on each of the three trees. At the onset of bloom, 6/10/21, we checked each trap, collected any trapped specimens, added additional collection fluid, and re-deployed the traps. At the end of bloom, 6/16/21, we again collected specimens and removed the traps from the trees. Specimens were cleaned and pinned within one day of collection. We are in the process of identifying each specimen to genus and species. The very low number of collected specimens belies the fact that we observed many bees visiting Nyssa flowers within the canopy. We hypothesize that direct collection of bees within the canopy will yield a much greater number of total specimens.

  • Organization: Harvard Forest. 324 North Main Street, Petersham, MA 01366, USA. Phone (978) 724-3302. Fax (978) 724-3595.

  • Project: The Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program examines ecological dynamics in the New England region resulting from natural disturbances, environmental change, and human impacts. (ROR).

  • Funding: National Science Foundation LTER grants: DEB-8811764, DEB-9411975, DEB-0080592, DEB-0620443, DEB-1237491, DEB-1832210.

  • Use: This dataset is released to the public under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (No Rights Reserved). Please keep the dataset creators informed of any plans to use the dataset. Consultation with the original investigators is strongly encouraged. Publications and data products that make use of the dataset should include proper acknowledgement.

  • License: Creative Commons Zero v1.0 Universal (CC0-1.0)

  • Citation: Preisser E, Harrison K. 2023. Survey of Wild Bee Pollinators on Nyssa Sylvatica at Harvard Forest since 2021. Harvard Forest Data Archive: HF425 (v.2). Environmental Data Initiative:

Detailed Metadata

hf425-01: pollinator survey

  1. pollinatorFam: bee family
  2. lowFLtrap: number of bees in ground level flight line traps (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  3. lowBowlTrap: number of bees in ground level bowl traps (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  4. highFLtrap: number of bees in canopy flight line traps (unit: number / missing value: NA)
  5. highBowlTrap: number of bees in canopy bowl traps (unit: number / missing value: NA)