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Brisbane’s Urban Pollinators

In 2018, 46 Brisbane residents very kindly offered their backyards as study sites on urban pollinators to researchers from Lund University, Sweden and University of Queensland.

A total of 17 native bee species and 13 hoverfly species were reported. Preliminary analyses suggest that backyards with more flowers had higher bee species richness and higher abundance of native bees. Abundance of flowering plants was an important driver of greater bee abundance, and seemed to mitigate negative effects from human population density. This was similarly reported in a comparative study conducted in Malmö, Sweden.

Bees and hoverflies could respond differently to the pressures of urbanisation. Hoverflies are more sensitive to urbanisation, and this could have resulted from the habitat requirements of their larvae. Unlike bee larvae which feed on pollen and nectar, which are supplied in abundance by the presence of flowering plants, hoverfly larvae require dead and decaying wood and water puddles – habitats which are likely less common in urban areas.

Dr. Persson and team are grateful to Dr. Tobias Smith and Susan Wright from the Queensland Museum for their help with species identification. To learn more about pollinators, you can assess the Atlas of Living Australia website (https://www.ala.org.au/) and Bee Aware Brisbane (https://www.beeawarebrisbane.org/).

A Neon cuckoo bee (Thyreus nitidulus).
Credit: Albin Andersson
A native bee (Amegilla spp.) on Dyanella.
Credit: Albin Andersson