Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Hong Liu

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Krishnaswamy Jayachandran

Third Advisor's Name

Suzanne Koptur

Keywords

specialist bees, introduced pollinators, oil producing plants

Date of Defense

3-30-2011

Abstract

This study assesses the impacts of the invasive oil-collecting bee Centris nitida on the established endemic mutualism between Byrsonima lucida and Centris errans its sole native pollinator. In natural pine rocklands and urban areas, I examined the breeding system of B. lucida, assessed the degree of its pollen limitations, and compared the key processes of pollination for the Centris bees. Breeding system results showed that B. lucida was self incompatible and pollinator dependent. Pollen limitation treatments suggested that B. lucida is pollen limited, regardless of the contributions of the invasive bee. The native bee had significantly higher visitation rates to B. lucida plants, but had a lower foraging rate and was the less efficient pollinator. The invasive bee appears to be more common in urban environments. Further understanding the nature of these novel relationships is vital for the conservation of B. lucida and integrity of pine rocklands.

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