Presidio of San Francisco (March 8, 2005) -- Bee populations may be declining around the world, but the first ever Presidio study of the buzzing insects suggests they are thriving at the park pollinating millions of blossoms every year.
Fifty-six species of bees have been identified by scientists who conducted a seven-month study last year after capturing 2,418 bees in traps from nine different Presidio sites. Bees were most abundant in the park during the early months of the study, corresponding with peak blooming periods of springtime. The numbers dropped in late summer.
Researchers from San Francisco State University, led by Dr. John Hafernik and Hannah Wood, selected sites around the Presidio encompassing natural areas, unrestored disturbed areas, and a forest site to study the bees.
A decline of pollinators worldwide, such as bees, could have serious consequences for plants that depend on them for successful fertilization, the report notes. Wild plants, for example, would be adversely affected because a decline in pollination disrupts their reproduction. In turn, this can impact the formation of seeds. Collectively these impacts lead to a loss of genetic diversification in flora that depend on pollination.
Approximately 30 % of all human food crops are dependent on pollinators.
However, the study notes, Presidio bee populations are doing well. Though bee abundance and diversity varied widely at each study site, the researchers were impressed by the overall diversity of bees in the park.
Natural areas like those throughout the Presidio are refuges for a remarkable variety of wildlife, and researchers are still learning more about who is making use of park habitats."