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Biology session

Studying of the abundance and species richness of bees in the edges of wheat, set-aside and grass fields
Pálfy Anna III. évfolyam
Institute of Biology, Department of Ecology
Supervisors: Dr. Báldi András, Kovács Anikó


Pollination is a basic form of ecosystem services. 84% of the pollination of our cultivated plants, and one third of the agricultural production depends on pollination. Thus, the role of pollinators is highly important from the perspective of agriculture. They are indispensable in the reproduction and maintenance of a large number of wild vegetation. Bees are the most important pollinators. According to researches, the effectiveness of pollination is greatly affected by the landscape. The structural changes in the landscape are the main factors in the currently evolving pollination crisis, the reduction of the number of pollinators (primarily bees). A lot of foreign researches deal with the analysis of the consequence of structural changes in the landscape due to agricultural intensification, however few of these works study the edge-effect on these areas. The number of these studies in Hungary is scarce. Thus the aim of our research was to see how the distance from the edge affects the abundance and species richness of bees, and what the differences between the agricultural areas are. Our research was done on the Heves plane ÉTT, in the May and June of 2008. We placed yellow water pans on three types of landscape: six fields of autumn wheat, five fields of set-aside, and five fields of grass (selecting areas greater than ten hectares in all cases). The traps were placed on increased distances from the edges (0, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 meters), above the vegetation, and as the height of the vegetation increased, the pans were placed higher. The yellow water pans contained water, and a small amount of liquid soap, which was used as a detergent, decreasing surface tension to allow effective sampling. The pans were emptied twice a week for three weeks. Approximately 1200 bees were found during the time of the study. The fewest individuals were found on the set aside, and the most were found on grass fields. The edge effect varied significantly on different areas. While it decreased exponentially going away from the edges in grass fields, the abundance was highest in the center of wheat. The number of individuals slightly decreased towards the center of set-aside. Our preliminary researches indicate that not only the elements of the landscape structure are important, but the quality of the connecting edges as well. Thus, our research confirms the importance of detailed landscape analysis. Henceforth we will analyze the habitat and edge effect in the respect of the certain attributes (tongue length, nesting behavior and body size) of bees, and the vegetation around the traps.

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