Wildlife biodiversity is threatened by agricultural intensification, which reduces and fragments natural habitat. I examine how farming practices and landscape composition influence wild pollinators and birds that inhabit these ecosystems. I also assess pollen foraging preferences of wild bumble bees and the effect of foraging preferences on their health. Forest cover was the main predictor of wild pollinator and bird abundance and richness, and floral resource availability also increased the abundance and richness of pollinators. There was no effect of farm management type (organic vs. conventional) on abundance or diversity of either pollinators or birds. Bumble bees showed a strong foraging preference for flowers not found on farms, and those collected in natural areas had higher body fat content than bees collected on farms. These results emphasize the importance of the conservation of natural habitat adjacent to agricultural areas for biodiversity, and of floral resources in natural areas for pollinator health.
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Thesis advisor: Elle, Elizabeth
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