PRECS student projects

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2021


Both wild and managed bees are in decline due to the combined and interactive effects of anthropogenic disturbances such as habitat loss and pesticide use. This is concerning because bees are important not only for the pollination of agricultural lands, but also for plants in both natural and managed landscapes. North America is home to about 4000 native species of bees, all of which can be further classified by various characteristics such as body size, nesting strategy, diet breadth, and sociality. These traits are considered functional traits because they can impact the function – pollination – bees contribute to an ecosystem. The way we manage lands can impact bees, but these disturbances do not affect bee functional traits consistently. Some forest management practices, including prescribed fire and thinning, can help maintain and restore forests. While some research shows positive impacts of forest management on bees in general, results vary when looking at bee functional traits. Our main objectives were to assess how prescribed fire, thinning, and the combination of the two affect both bee abundance and body size.


Copyright is owned by the creator of this work.


Research was conducted with the cooperation of the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences, College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences and the Department of Entomology, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Financial support was provided by the National Science Foundation under grant #NSF REU 1950819/1950786, as part of the Phenotypic Plasticity Research Experience for Community College Students, through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Institute for Genomic Biology and Parkland College.



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