Islands in the desert for cavity‐nesting bees and wasps: Ecology, patterns of diversity, and conservation at oases of Baja California Peninsula
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Sch Nat Resources & Environm
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CitationFalcón-Brindis A, Jiménez Jiménez ML, Rodríguez-Estrella R. Islands in the desert for cavity-nesting bees and wasps: Ecology, patterns of diversity, and conservation at oases of Baja California Peninsula. Ecol Evol. 2020;10:527–542. https ://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5927
JournalECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION
RightsCopyright © 2019 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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AbstractAims The oases of Baja California Peninsula (BCP) have been proposed as important hotspots of biodiversity that hold an exceptional richness in the middle of desert conditions. We tested the effect of habitat and anthropogenic disturbance on communities of cavity-nesting taxa, with specific emphasis on bees, wasps, and their natural enemies. Methods In oases of BCP and desert neighbor environments, trap-nesting taxa were evaluated in response to factors affecting the nest abundance, richness, and community structure. We used statistical models to find correlates of nest abundance and patterns of diversity, as well as ecological analyses to determine the effect of habitat and human disturbance on species diversity and community structure. Results Solar irradiation, distance to a perennial waterbody and relative humidity influenced the presence of nests, number of brood cells, and parasitism. In general, abundance, species richness, and parasitism were higher in oases, especially in those with less human disturbance. Bees did not discriminate between oases and deserts to nest, whereas mud-daubing wasps were more dependent of oases. The degree of anthropogenic disturbance did not affect the occurrence of parasitism, but it had an adverse effect on the parasitism intensity (number of attacked cells). The community structure was more complex and even in oases and low-disturbed sites. The similarity between sites did not exceed 30%, and the proportion of shared species between oases and deserts varied from 2.7% to 26.6%. Main conclusions The oases of Baja California are functioning as mesic islands in the desert, each oasis hosting a unique community of cavity-nesting taxa. About 65% of the nests and 50% of species occurred exclusively in the oasis. Thus, cavity-nesting species that depend on mesic conditions could be threatened if the oases of BCP disappear in the future. Local conditions in the oases and deserts of the BCP are shaping the community structure. However, large-scale factors such as climate can influence the seasonality and occurrence of species within the community of cavity-nesting dwellers. Since habitat loss and fragmentation can degrade the oases' functionality, strategies to maintain the ecosystem services of pollination and biological control should be included in the conservation programs of these fragile habitats.
NoteOpen access journal
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsConsejo Nacional de Ciencia y TecnologiaConsejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (CONACyT) 
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.