Nina Crawford

The Biogeography of Bumblebees: Comparing the Prevalence of Select Bombus Species to the Ecoregions of Minnesota

Bumblebees (Bombus) are critical pollinators within the ecosystems of Minnesota. It has been largely observed that populations of bumblebee species have been in decline due to a variety of factors such as habitat destruction and climate change. To better understand why bumblebee abundance is declining and how to mitigate that loss, it is important to establish patterns of prevalence for individual Bombus species. Through the combination of citizen science, museum records, and private studies, I created five maps displaying the distribution of individual species of interest to be compared to the ecological provinces of Minnesota. Of the five species, three displayed correlation with ecological provinces. Bombus affinis displayed preference for the Eastern Broadleaf Forest Province, Bombus pensylvanicus displayed strong correlation with the Prairie Parkland Province, and Bombus terricola can be found in northern latitudes around the Laurentian Mixed Forest Province. Between the two that lacked correlation with provinces, Bombus fervidus appeared to be present throughout the state except for the Laurentian Mixed Forest, and Bombus auricomus didn’t display any strong preference with a particular ecological province but it most dominant in southern latitudes.