Native bees provide the essential ecosystem service of pollination to many agricultural crops. However, native bee populations are increasingly threatened due to agricultural intensification, landscape fragmentation and habitat loss. Ecological restoration has been proposed as a mechanism to promote bee conservation, though the key factors that contribute to the successful restoration of pollinators are understudied.
My research focuses on local and landscape processes that influence crop pollination from native bees. At the local scale, I study whether the creation of field-margin habitat, specifically hedgerows (linear strips of flowering plants adjacent to aerable land), can bolster native bee populations leading to increased crop yields. At the landscape scale, I examine whether the presence of mass-flowering crops influences the community structure of pollinator communities in hybrid sunflower, a pollinator-dependent crop.
Nesting resources also play an essential role in shaping bee community dynamics. I developed the use of emergence traps as a technique to detect native bee nests. I look at nesting incidence within fields, as well as in field margins with and without hedgerows. I am also using this technique to examine the effects of farm management on nesting, specifically focusing on irrigation practices.