Wild bees are indispensable pollinators, supporting global agricultural yield and angiosperm biodiversity. They are experiencing widespread declines, resulting from multiple interacting factors. The effects of urbanization, a major driver of ecological change, on bee populations are not well understood. Studies examining the aggregate response of wild bee abundance and diversity to urbanization tend to document minor changes. However, the use of aggregate metrics may mask trends in particular functional groups. We surveyed bee communities along an urban-to-rural gradient in SE Michigan, USA, and document a large change in observed sex ratio (OSR) along this gradient. OSR became more male biased as urbanization increased, mainly driven by a decline in medium and large bodied ground-nesting female bees. Nest site preference and body size mediated the effects of urbanization on OSR. Our results suggest that previously documented negative effects of urbanization on ground-nesting bees may underestimate the full impact of urbanization, and highlight the need for improved understanding of sex-based differences in the provision of pollination services by wild bees.
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Citation: Fitch, G., Glaum, P., Simao, M. et al. Changes in adult sex ratio in wild bee communities are linked to urbanization. Sci Rep 9, 3767 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-39601-8 (origin source)