The objective of my dissertation is to examine temperate forest bees in relation to habitat use, resources, and their responses to introduced European honeybees. I focus on temperate forest bee communities for several reasons. First, most research on bee community composition is in relation to agricultural crops, and far less is known about forest bees, particularly in northern temperate regions. Temperate forests are vulnerable to alteration from climate change and exploitation from human settlement. Second, a growing interest in pollinator conservation has resulted in Eurasian honeybee culture moving north. Thus, my reserach examines honeybee interaction with native bees at their northern edge in south-central Ontario.

I begin by examining the distribution of bees between ground and the forest canopy. Although several studies have shown that canopy arthropod communities are distinct, none has looked at how functional diversity predicts bee strata use. Functional diversity is not only essential for healthy functioning ecosystems, but it could also explain community composition and distribution. I also focus on the arrangement of honeydew-producing Sternorrhyncha in tree canopies and examine how pollinators respond to honeydew as an alternative to floral nectar. Here, I look at differences in honeydew-producing scale and mealybug abundance amongst different canopy heights and between tree sizes. Identifying the distribution of honeydew-producing insects will determine the potential for non-floral carbohydrate resources for bees in temperate canopies.

Finally, my reserach investigates whether Eurasian honeybees influence the functional diversity and reproductive ability of native stem-nesting bees. Honeybees have the potential to impact the native stem-nesting bees, however, to my knowledge there are currently no studies that have looked at this interaction in North American temperate forests. My goal in my dissertaion is to work towards a more mechanistic understanding of bee community composition and distribution, in the hope of achieving a greater ability to predict important community interactions in forest environments.