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12.03.2020 Open Access

Are cities hotspots for bees? Local and regional diversity patterns lead to different conclusions

Urban Ecosystems
Weronika Banaszak-Cibicka, Michał Żmihorski
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11252-020-00972-w) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


With the decline of natural habitats, there is an ongoing debate about the importance of the urban environment for pollinating insects. Our research assessed patterns in wild bee species composition, as well as α-, β- and γ-diversity patterns and the nestedness structure in urban, suburban and rural areas. For three years bees were collected along 18 sampling transects in the Poznań area in western Poland. The average species diversity (α-diversity) and the average number of specimens per sample (local abundance) did not differ significantly between the three classes of urbanization. The rarefaction analysis, however, was partly contradictory to the results recorded on the local scale. The highest dissimilarity in the species composition among the samples was observed in the rural areas, while the lowest (more homogenous) was in the urban areas. The differences were significant. This resulted in the highest γ-diversity (cumulative number of species) in the rural areas and the lowest in the urban areas. Furthermore, the bee community in the habitats studied was significantly nested, indicating that species-poor sites (sites with high rank) constituted subsets of species-rich sites (sites with low rank) and that this pattern was not random. Samples collected in urban areas had a significantly higher nestedness rank compared to samples from the other two classes of urbanization, thus suggesting that the urban bee community is a subset of the rural bee community. This is an important conclusion, which emphasises that different components of species diversity need to be screened to identify the real biological impact of urbanisation on bee communities.

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