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Department ofBotany



No. 361
January 2015


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In This Issue


Rare Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee Discovered in Virginia Survey


-Adapted from Smithsonianscience.org

The rusty-patched bumble bee, Bombus affinis, which has not been seen in the eastern United States in five years, has been found by a Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute research team at Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, Va. This formerly common bee has disappeared from 87 percent of its range in the Upper Midwest and Eastern Seaboard and is feared headed for extinction.

The rusty-patched bumble bee, Bombus affinis, found by a Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute research team. (Photos by Sam Droege, USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

The rusty-patched bumble bee, Bombus affinis, found by a Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute research team. (Photos by Sam Droege, USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

The research team, led by Bill McShea and Tom Akre of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and T'ai Roulston from the University of Virginia, surveyed bee populations at 17 Virginia sites from May through August to study the influence of land management on bee diversity. Only one individual of this now rare species was found among nearly 35,000 bees belonging to 126 species collected and examined by the study.

"We thought this bumble bee was extinct in this region," McShea said. "Finding one bee, well this is the stuff conservationists live for. The decline of bee species is of great conservation concern and scientists are actively investigating potential causes to figure out what the culprit is. If we lose bees, we lose critically important pollinators."

Nearly 70 percent of all flowering plants reproduce due to pollination by bees and other pollinators. In fact, about one third of the human food supply depends on insect pollination, most of which is accomplished by bees. Beyond agriculture, pollinators are keystone species in most terrestrial ecosystems. Fruits and seeds derived from insect pollination are a major part of the diet of approximately a quarter of all birds and mammals. However, many native bee pollinators are at risk due to habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, pesticide use and introduced disease; and the status of many other species of native bee pollinators is unknown.

"In 20 years of studying bees, I have never seen a rusty-patched," said Roulston. "Where there is a worker bee, there is a colony and maybe more than one. As they've gone underground for the winter, we can actively look for the colony next spring, and study them and what might be affecting the species. We've either found rusty-patched bumble bees that have developed a resistance or we've discovered one of the last colonies and will get one more glimpse before they disappear forever."

The cause of the rusty-patched bumble bee's decline is not known, but may be related to the accidental introduction of a virulent European fungus, Nosema bombi. Because the rusty-patched bumble bee is now so rare, there has been little opportunity to study what affects its populations. The fungus has been implicated in the sudden decline of several other species of bumble bee across the United States, including the American bumble bee, Bombus pensylvanicus, which the research team found at four private landowner sites during its surveys.

The rusty-patched bumble bee workers can be identified by a small rust-colored patch on the middle of their second abdominal segment. A number of surveys have been done across its historic range, but the rusty-patched bumble bee has not been found in most of its range since 2003.

In the case of this bee, the volunteer naturalists collected the specimens that were sorted and identified by University of Virginia staff based at Blandy Experimental Farm.

This research is part of Virginia Working Landscapes, a broad collaboration between the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, government agencies and NGOs, and a consortium of landowners and citizen scientists. Virginia Working Landscapes links landowners interested in restoring or maintaining habitat with appropriate land management agencies and provides survey results so landowners can track their progress. The surveys are conducted in large part by citizen scientists from regional or state organizations, such as Virginia Master Naturalists, Virginia Native Plant Society and the National Audubon Society.

Virginia Working Landscapes is just one example of programs that involve "citizen scientists" in the collection of data for scientists studying wildlife. Concerned citizens who want to take action and help track and conserve North America's bumble bees can participate in the Bumble Bee Watch. This collaborative project, led by the Xerces Society, allows participants to upload photos, use an interactive identification tool and submit geo-referenced records that will be used by scientists to follow these essential pollinators and inform effective conservation actions.


Current Literature


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Cupello, M., and Vaz-de-Mello, F.Z. 2014. Revalidation of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest dung beetle species Coprophanaeus (Metallophanaeus) machadoi (Pereira & d'Andretta, 1955) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae: Phanaeini) based on morphological and distributional evidence. Zootaxa 3869(4):435-451.

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Dibner, R.R., Lawton, C., and Marnell, F. 2014. Reproduction of common frogs, Rana temporaria, in a managed conifer forest and bog landscape in western Ireland. Herpetol. Conserv. Biol. 9(1):38-47.

Dickens, S.J.M., and Allen, E.B. 2014. Soil nitrogen cycling is resilient to invasive annuals following restoration of coastal sage scrub. J. Arid Environ. 110:12-18.

Dickman, A.J., Hazzah, L., Carbone, C., and Durant, S.M. 2014. Carnivores, culture and 'contagious conflict': multiple factors influence perceived problems with carnivores in Tanzania's Ruaha landscape. Biol. Conserv. 178:19-27.

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Sims, K.R.E., Alix-Garcia, J.M., Shapiro-Garza, E., Fine, L.R., Radeloff, V.C., Aronson, G., Castillo, S., Ramirez-Reyes, C., and Yañez-Pagans, P. 2014. Improving environmental and social targeting through adaptive management in Mexico's payments for hydrological services program. Conserv. Biol. 28(5):1151-1159.

Skroblin, A., Cockburn, A., and Legge, S. 2014. The population genetics of the western purple-crowned fairy-wren (Malurus coronatus coronatus), a declining riparian passerine. Aust. J. Zool. 62(3):251-259.

Slater, M.A., and Anderson, R.C. 2014. Intensive selective deer browsing favors success of Asimina triloba (Paw paw) a native tree species. Nat. Areas J. 34(2):178-187.

Smart, U., Deepak, V., and Vasudevan, K. 2014. Preliminary ethogram and in situ time-activity budget of the enigmatic cane turtle (Vijayachelys silvatica) from the Western Ghats, South India. Herpetol. Conserv. Biol. 9(1):116-122.

Smith, J.R., Vogt, S.C., Creedon, F., Lucas, B.J., and Eernisse, D.J. 2014. The non-native turf-forming alga Caulacanthus ustulatus displaces space-occupants but increases diversity. Biol. Invasions 16(10):2195-2208.

Smith, K.R., Barthman-Thompson, L., Gould, W.R., and Mabry, K.E. 2014. Effects of natural and anthropogenic change on habitat use and movement of endangered salt marsh harvest mice. PLoS ONE 9(10):e108739.

Smith, M.S., Fridley, J.D., Goebel, M., and Bauerle, T.L. 2014. Links between belowground and aboveground resource-related traits reveal species growth strategies that promote invasive advantages. PLoS ONE 9(8):e104189.

Solga, M.J., Harmon, J.P., and Ganguli, A.C. 2014. Timing is everything: an overview of phenological changes to plants and their pollinators. Nat. Areas J. 34(2):227-234.

Sotelo, G., Andree, K.B., López, M.A., Alexandrino, P., Gisbert, E., and Faria, R. 2014. The puzzling demographic history and genetic differentiation of the twaite shad (Alosa fallax) in the Ebro River. Conserv. Genet. 15(5):1037-1052.

Souther, S., and McGraw, J.B. 2014. Synergistic effects of climate change and harvest on extinction risk of American ginseng. Ecol. Appl. 24(6):1463-1477.

Spatz, D.R., Newton, K.M., Heinz, R., Tershy, B., Holmes, N.D., Butchart, S.H.M., and Croll, D.A. 2014. The biogeography of globally threatened seabirds and island conservation opportunities. Conserv. Biol. 28(5):1282-1290.

Spitzen-Van der Sluijs, A., Martel, A., Hallmann, C.A., Bosman, W., Garner, T.W.J., Van Rooij, P., Jooris, R., Haesebrouck, F., and Pasmans, F. 2014. Environmental determinants of recent endemism of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infections in amphibian assemblages in the absence of disease outbreaks. Conserv. Biol. 28(5):1302-1311.

Staska, B., Essl, F., and Samimi, C. 2014. Density and age of invasive Robinia pseudoacacia modulate its impact on floodplain forests. Basic Appl. Ecol. 15(6):551-558.

Stephanson, S.L., and Mascia, M.B. 2014. Putting people on the map through an approach that integrates social data in conservation planning. Conserv. Biol. 28(5):1236-1248.

Stephen, C., and Sánchez, R. 2014. Species richness and relative species abundance of Nymphalidae (Lepidoptera) in three forests with different perturbations in the North-Central Caribbean of Costa Rica. Rev. Biol. Trop. 62(3):919-928.

Stephens, S.L., Bigelow, S.W., Burnett, R.D., Collins, B.M., Gallagher, C.V., Keane, J., Kelt, D.A., North, M.P., Roberts, L.J., Stine, P.A., and Van Vuren, D.H. 2014. California spotted owl, songbird, and small mammal responses to landscape fuel treatments. BioScience 64(10):893-906.

Stokstad, E. 2014. Red wolves in the crosshairs. Science 345(6204):1548-1549.

Stringer, A.P., and Linklater, W. 2014. Everything in moderation: principles of parasite control for wildlife conservation. BioScience 64(10):932-937.

Suárez-Esteban, A., Delibes, M., and Fedriani, J.M. 2014. Unpaved roads disrupt the effect of herbivores and pollinators on the reproduction of a dominant shrub. Basic Appl. Ecol. 15(6):524-533.

Sugai, J.L.M.M., Terra, J.D., and Ferreira, V.L. 2014. Anurans of a threatened savanna area in western Brazil. Biota Neotrop. 14(1):9.

Šukalo, G., Ðorðević, S., Gvozdenović, S., Simović, A., Anðelković, M., Blagojević, V., and Tomović, L. 2014. Intra- and inter-population variability of food preferences of two Natrix species on the Balkan Peninsula. Herpetol. Conserv. Biol. 9(1):123-136.

Sverdrup-Thygeson, A., Bendiksen, E., Birkemoe, T., and Larsson, K.H. 2014. Do conservation measures in forest work? A comparison of three area-based conservation tools for wood-living species in boreal forests. Forest Ecol. Manag. 330:8-16.

Swanepoel, L.H., Lindsey, P., Somers, M.J., Van Hoven, W., and Dalerum, F. 2014. The relative importance of trophy harvest and retaliatory killing of large carnivores: South African leopards as a case study. S. Afr. J. Wildlife Res. 44(2):115-134.

Taft, H.R., and Roff, D.A. 2014. Are recommendations for conservation informed by estimates of genetic divergence? Evol. Ecol. Res. 16(1):91-99.

Tai, X.N., and Wang, L. 2014. Develop an ensemble support vector data description method for improving invasive tamarisk mapping at regional scale. Int. J. Remote Sens. 35(19):7030-7045.

Tamada, K., Tomizawa, M., Umeki, M., and Takada, M. 2014. Population trends of grassland birds in Hokkaido, focussing on the drastic decline of the Yellow-breasted Bunting. Ornithol. Sci. 13(1):29-40.

Tanentzap, A.J., Lee, W.G., Monks, A., Ladley, K., Johnson, P.N., Rogers, G.M., Comrie, J.M., Clarke, D.A., and Hayman, E. 2014. Identifying pathways for managing multiple disturbances to limit plant invasions. J. Appl. Ecol. 51(4):1015-1023.

Tariq, A., Adnan, M., AbdElsalam, N.M., Fouad, H., Hussain, K., Ullah, R., and Ullah, A. 2014. Richness and cover of nontimber economic plants along altitude in temperate Himalayan forest-use types. Sci. World J. 2014:748490.

Tavares, V.D., Gardner, A.L., Ramírez-Chaves, H.E., and Velazco, P.M. 2014. Systematics of Vampyressa melissa Thomas, 1926 (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae), with descriptions of two new species of Vampyressa. Am. Mus. Novit. 3813:1-27.

Taylor, C.M., Malcomber, S., and Schatz, G.E. 2014. Updated taxonomy of Gaertnera (Rubiaceae, Gaertnereae) in Madagascar, with sixteen new species. Ann. Mo. Bot. Garden 99(4):688-729.

Tedesco, P.A., Bigorne, R., Bogan, A.E., Giam, X., Jézéquel, C., and Hugueny, B. 2014. Estimating how many undescribed species have gone extinct. Conserv. Biol. 28(5):1360-1370.

Tewksbury, J., and Wagner, G. 2014. The role of civil society in recalibrating conservation science incentives. Conserv. Biol. 28(5):1437-1439.

Thiebot, J.B., Barbraud, C., Delord, K., Marteau, C., and Weimerskirch, H. 2014. Do introduced mammals chronically impact the breeding success of the world's rarest albatross? Ornithol. Sci. 13(1):41-46.

Thomas, L.K., and Leyer, I. 2014. Age structure, growth performance and composition of native and invasive Salicaceae in Patagonia. Plant Ecol. 215(9):1047-1056.

Tittensor, D.P., Walpole, M., Hill, S.L.L., Boyce, D.G., Britten, G.L., Burgess, N.D., Butchart, S.H.M., Leadley, P.W., Regan, E.C., Alkemade, R., Baumung, R., Bellard, C., Bouwman, L., Bowles-Newark, N.J., Chenery, A.M., Cheung, W.W.L., Christensen, V., Cooper, H.D., Crowther, A.R., Dixon, M.J.R., Galli, A., Gaveau, V., Gregory, R.D., Gutierrez, N.L., Hirsch, T.L., Höft, R., Januchowski-Hartley, S.R., Karmann, M., Krug, C.B., Leverington, F.J., Loh, J., Lojenga, R.K., Malsch, K., Marques, A., Morgan, D.H.W., Mumby, P.J., Newbold, T., Noonan-Mooney, K., Pagad, S.N., Parks, B.C., Pereira, H.M., Robertson, T., Rondinini, C., Santini, L., Scharlemann, J.P.W., Schindler, S., Sumaila, U.R., Teh, L.S.L., van Kolck, J., Visconti, P., and Ye, Y.M. 2014. A mid-term analysis of progress toward international biodiversity targets. Science 346(6206):241-244.

Töpfer, T., Podsiadlowski, L., and Gedeon, K. 2014. Rediscovery of the black-fronted francolin Pternistis (castaneicollis) atrifrons (CONOVER, 1930) (Ayes: Galliformes: Phasianidae) with notes on biology, taxonomy and conservation. Vertebr. Zool. 64(2):261-271.

Touza, J., Pérez-Alonso, A., Chas-Amil, M.L., and Dehnen-Schmutz, K. 2014. Explaining the rank order of invasive plants by stakeholder groups. Ecol. Econ. 105:330-341.

Tréguier, A., Paillisson, J.M., Dejean, T., Valentini, A., Schlaepfer, M.A., and Roussel, J.M. 2014. Environmental DNA surveillance for invertebrate species: advantages and technical limitations to detect invasive crayfish Procambarus clarkii in freshwater ponds. J. Appl. Ecol. 51(4):871-879.

Tubbesing, C., Strohm, C., DeBano, S.J., Gonzalez, N., Kimoto, C., and Taylor, R.V. 2014. Insect visitors and pollination ecology of Spalding's catchfly (Silene spaldingii) in the Zumwalt Prairie of northeastern Oregon. Nat. Areas J. 34(2):200-211.

Tubée, D.B.M. 2014. Three new caespitose species of Senecio (Asteraceae, Senecioneae) from South Peru. PhytoKeys 39:1-17.

Tuberville, T.D., Todd, B.D., Hermann, S.M., Michener, W.K., and Guyer, C. 2014. Survival, demography, and growth of gopher tortoises (Gopherus polyphemus) from three study sites with different management histories. J. Wildlife Manag. 78(7):1151-1160.

Tucker, D.B., McBrayer, L.D., and Harrison, J.S. 2014. Population structure of Florida scrub lizards (Sceloporus woodi) in an anthropogenically fragmented forest. Herpetologica 70(3):266-278.

Türkmen, N. 2014. The floristic characteristics and conservation status of the plant species in the Tahtali Mountains, Turkey. Nat. Areas J. 34(1):111-119.

Van, K.D., Janssens, L., Debecker, S., and Stoks, R. 2014. Temperature- and latitude-specific individual growth rates shape the vulnerability of damselfly larvae to a widespread pesticide. J. Appl. Ecol. 51(4):919-928.

van Schingen, M., Pham, C.T., Thi, H.A., Bernardes, M., Hecht, V., Nguyen, T.Q., Bonkowski, M., and Ziegler, T. 2014. Current status of the Crocodile Lizard Shinisaurus crocodilurus Ahl, 1930 in Vietnam with implications for conservation measures. Rev. Suisse Zool. 121(3):425-439.

Vásquez, Y.A., Fernández, M.M.A., Barrera, L.C., Rodríguez, S.D., Gómez, M.D.S., and Martínez-Carrera, D. 2014. Impact of traditionally managed forest units on the landscape connectivity of Sierra de Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. Rev. Biol. Trop. 62(3):1099-1109.

Vernon, M.E., Magle, S.B., Lehrer, E.W., and Bramble, J.E. 2014. Invasive European buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica L.) association with mammalian species distribution in natural areas of the Chicagoland Region, USA. Nat. Areas J. 34(2):134-143.

Vivian, L.M., Godfree, R.C., Colloff, M.J., Mayence, C.E., and Marshall, D.J. 2014. Wetland plant growth under contrasting water regimes associated with river regulation and drought: implications for environmental water management. Plant Ecol. 215(9):997-1011.

Voyles, J., Phillips, A., Dreiessen, M., Webb, M., Berger, L., Woodhams, D.C., Murray, K., and Skerratt, L.F. 2014. Initial assessment of host susceptibility and pathogen virulence for conservation and management of Tasmanian amphibians. Herpetol. Conserv. Biol. 9(1):106-115.

Wagner, M.D., Hoger, M.S., and Blanton, R.E. 2014. Conservation status of Etheostoma luteovinctum and notes on observations of a burying behavior. Southeast. Nat. 13(3):530-546.

Wang, J., Kang, M., and Huang, H.W. 2014. Long-distance pollen dispersal ensures genetic connectivity of the low-density tree species, Eurycorymbus cavaleriei, in a fragmented karst forest landscape. Conserv. Genet. 15(5):1163-1172.

Wang, L.F., and Jackson, D.A. 2014. Shaping up model transferability and generality of species distribution modeling for predicting invasions: implications from a study on Bythotrephes longimanus. Biol. Invasions 16(10):2079-2103.

Watts, C., Thornburrow, D., Cave, V., and Innes, J. 2014. Beetle community changes following pest mammal control at two biodiversity sanctuaries in Wellington, New Zealand. J. Royal Soc. N. Z. 44(2-3):61-87.

Waylen, K.A., Hastings, E.J., Banks, E.A., Holstead, K.L., Irvine, R.J., and Blackstock, K.L. 2014. The need to disentangle key concepts from ecosystem-approach jargon. Conserv. Biol. 28(5):1215-1224.

Weyland, F., Baudry, J., and Ghersa, C.M. 2014. Rolling Pampas agroecosystem: which landscape attributes are relevant for determining bird distributions? Rev. Chil. Hist. Nat. 87:12.

Whitfeld, T.J.S., Roth, A.M., Lodge, A.G., Eisenhauer, N., Frelich, L.E., and Reich, P.B. 2014. Resident plant diversity and introduced earthworms have contrasting effects on the success of invasive plants. Biol. Invasions 16(10):2181-2193.

Whittington-Jones, B.M., Parker, D.M., Bernard, R.T.F., and Davies-Mostert, H.T. 2014. Habitat selection by transient African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: implications for range expansion. S. Afr. J. Wildlife Res. 44(2):135-147.

Willers, N., Berry, O., and Roberts, J.D. 2014. Fine-scale genetic structure and the design of optimal fertility control for an overabundant mammal. Conserv. Genet. 15(5):1053-1062.

Willson, G.D., Narumalani, S., Lockert, C.K., and Merani, P.B.T. 2014. Application of natural resource condition assessments to two small national parks. Nat. Areas J. 34(2):235-248.

Windels, S.K., and Flaspohler, D.J. 2014. Considerations for conservation and restoration of Canada yew in protected areas. Nat. Areas J. 34(2):249-253.

Witter, R., and Satterfield, T. 2014. Invisible losses and the logics of resettlement compensation. Conserv. Biol. 28(5):1394-1402.

Woehler, E., Patterson, T.A., Bravington, M.V., Hobday, A.J., and Chambers, L.E. 2014. Climate and competition in abundance trends in native and invasive Tasmanian gulls. Mar. Ecol. Progr. Ser. 511:249-263.

Wolańska-Kamińska, A., Zają, V.J., Kubatko, L., Necamp, T., and Fassnacht, S. 2014. Conservation genetics and breeding system of Penstemon debilis (Plantaginaceae), a rare beardtongue endemic to oil shale talus in western Colorado, USA. J. Syst. Evol. 52(5):598-611.

Wood, E.M., Pidgeon, A.M., Radeloff, V.C., Helmers, D., Culbert, P.D., Keuler, N.S., and Flather, C.H. 2014. Housing development erodes avian community structure in U.S. protected areas. Ecol. Appl. 24(6):1445-1462.

Wootton, J.T., and Bell, D.A. 2014. Assessing predictions of population viability analysis: Peregrine Falcon populations in California. Ecol. Appl. 24(6):1251-1257.

Worth, J.R.P., Yokogawa, M., Pérez-Figueroa, A., Tsumura, Y., Tomaru, N., Janes, J.K., and Isagi, Y. 2014. Conflict in outcomes for conservation based on population genetic diversity and genetic divergence approaches: a case study in the Japanese relictual conifer Sciadopitys verticillata (Sciadopityaceae). Conserv. Genet. 15(5):1243-1257.

Yamasaki, M., Aono, M., Ogawa, N., Tanaka, K., Imoto, Z., and Nakamura, Y. 2014. Drifting algae and fish: implications of tropical Sargassum invasion due to ocean warming in western Japan. Estuarine Coast. Shelf Sci. 147:32-41.

Yildirim, H., and Şenol, S.G. 2014. Reseda malatyana (Resedaceae), a new chasmophytic species from eastern Anatolia, Turkey. Turk. J. Bot. 38(5):1013-1021.

Zhao, C., Hu, J., Li, Y.H., Ran, J.H., Guan, J.K., Yang, C.Z., Xiong, Y.Q., and Yue, B.S. 2014. Habitat use of Sichuan sika deer in forest, bush and meadows in the Tiebu Nature Reserve, Sichuan, China. Pakistan J. Zool. 46(4):941-951.

Zorondo-Rodríguez, F., Reyes-García, V., and Simonetti, J.A. 2014. Conservation of biodiversity in private lands: are Chilean landowners willing to keep threatened species in their lands? Rev. Chil. Hist. Nat. 87:8.

Zou, Y.C., Wang, G.P., Grace, M., Lou, X.N., Yu, X.F., and Lu, X.G. 2014. Response of two dominant boreal freshwater wetland plants to manipulated warming and altered precipitation. PLoS ONE 9(8):e104454.


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