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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

ORCHID BEE COMMUNITY STRUCTURE IN OPEN AND FORESTED SITES IN A TROPICAL CLOUD FOREST REGION OF COSTA RICA

Abstract

We examined the structure of orchid bee (Apidae: Euglossini) communities in different habitat types in the tropical cloud forest region near San Luis, Monteverde, Costa Rica. Because previous studies have shown that orchid bee community composition can differ in habitats with varying levels of disturbance, we investigated potential differences in orchid bee community structure between open sites (unforested areas near buildings and/or roads) and forested sites (areas of dense understory and canopy vegetation) over a 5-day period in June 2019. 10 traps were placed in both open and forested areas and all traps were at least 100 m apart. Traps consisted of 3.8 L containers with a single opening and were baited with a chemical attractant that was replenished daily. Traps were checked each day and all orchid bees collected were euthanized and identified to species. Shannon diversity, species evenness, and species abundance were compared between open and forested sites using t-tests, though no significant differences were found. Overall richness was higher in forested areas (17 species vs. 13 species in open areas). We also found more endemic species and fewer widespread species in the forested areas as compared to open sites. Differences in species composition were observed between habitat types; for example, Euglossa imperialis dominated open areas while Euglossa dilemma dominated forested areas. Though short-term, our study is part of an ongoing long-term study on the potential effects of human disturbances such as habitat fragmentation in tropical cloud forest. Our results will be useful for informing conservation planning to minimize impacts of human activity in a region with high biodiversity.

Acknowledgements

University of North Georgia Department of Biology, CIEE-San Luis, Elise McDonald, José Montero-Ramirez, Mark Davis

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