Local and Landscape Factors Influence Plant-Pollinator Networks and Bee Foraging Behavior across an Urban Corridor

Gabriella L. Pardee, Kimberly M. Ballare, John L. Neff, Lauren Q. Do, Diana Joyce Ojeda, Elisa J. Bienenstock, Berry J. Brosi, Tony H. Grubesic, Jennifer A. Miller, Daoqin Tong, Shalene Jha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Given widespread concerns over human-mediated bee declines in abundance and species richness, conservation efforts are increasingly focused on maintaining natural habitats to support bee diversity in otherwise resource-poor environments. However, natural habitat patches can vary in composition, impacting landscape-level heterogeneity and affecting plant-pollinator interactions. Plant-pollinator networks, especially those based on pollen loads, can provide valuable insight into mutualistic relationships, such as revealing the degree of pollination specialization in a community; yet, local and landscape drivers of these network indices remain understudied within urbanizing landscapes. Beyond networks, analyzing pollen collection can reveal key information about species-level pollen preferences, providing plant restoration information for urban ecosystems. Through bee collection, vegetation surveys, and pollen load identification across ~350 km of urban habitat, we studied the impact of local and landscape-level management on plant-pollinator networks. We also quantified pollinator preferences for plants within urban grasslands. Bees exhibited higher foraging specialization with increasing habitat heterogeneity and visited fewer flowering species (decreased generality) with increasing semi-natural habitat cover. We also found strong pollinator species-specific flower foraging preferences, particularly for Asteraceae plants. We posit that maintaining native forbs and supporting landscape-level natural habitat cover and heterogeneity can provide pollinators with critical food resources across urbanizing ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number362
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • bee communities
  • pollen preference
  • pollination
  • pollinator generality
  • semi-natural habitat
  • specialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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