Submitted to: Conservation Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Invertebrates, particularly native bees, are the pollinators whose loss is most likely to have far-reaching effects in North America. Is there evidence to support the claim by some of widespread invertebrate pollinator declines or deleterious shifts in pollinator community composition in North America? In this journal issue, we conclude that we do not presently know the net effect of these confounding factors on native North American invertebrate pollinator faunas. A concerted and scholarly multi- disciplinary effort is needed now to answer the critical questions, lest we embark on mistaken solutions extrapolated from other animal taxa and fail in our endeavors to conserve, let alone restore, communities of native invertebrate pollinators in North America.
Technical Abstract: That human activities can decimate or impoverish local and regional biotas is indisputable, but what about claims for such losses among North America's native bees, whose loss is most likely to have far-reaching effects for pollination? In this journal issue, we conclude that we do not presently know the net effect of these confounding factors on native North American invertebrate pollinator faunas. An answer will require a more concerted and rigorous effort that will employ multiyear replicate stratified sampling to accommodate daunting spatiotemporal variability in bee communities, thoughtful consideration of sampling biases, care in taxonomy, and a reconsideration of the attributes of "habitat" from the bee's perspective.