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Bumblebees in prime landscapes with special reference to the Aran Island bumblebee (hymenoptera : apidae)

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dc.contributor.advisor Breen, John
dc.contributor.advisor Carolan, James Deenihan, Aislinn 2011-12-09T12:51:33Z 2011-12-09T12:51:33Z 2011
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract The Burren region (inclusive of the Aran Islands) in western Ireland is an example of a prime landscapes that hosts internationally rare bumblebee species, such as Bombus muscorum. For the conservation and survival of bumblebees it is important to know nest-site and spring forage plant references. Hence nest habitat choices of spring bumblebee queens in the Burren region was investigated by observing their nest-site seeking behaviour. In spring significant nest-site seeking behaviour associations were found for B. sylvarum, with preferences for calcareous grassland habitat and crubboundaries. The foraging preferences of bumblebee queens in spring were also recorded with B. sylvarum and B. ruderarius foraging most frequently from Vicia cracca and Lotus corniculatus, respectively. Significant interspecies foraging differences were found between bumblebee species recorded in this study. A melanic colour variety of B. muscorum is found in the Aran Islands, and similar varieties are known from several other islands off the British Isles. Considerable debate has taken place over the last 70 years concerning their taxonomic status. The phylogenetics and genetic differentiation of melanic colour morphs within B. muscorum were examined using DNA barcoding. On dried museum and recently caught alcohol-preserved specimens a novel technique involving a modification of the Qiagen DNeasy PBS DNA extraction protocol for insects was developed to extract DNA from the museum specimens. The CO1 barcoding region, cytochrome B and ITS region were all examined. The results can be used to agrue that melanism in B. muscorum has no underlying phylogenetic significance (e.g. remnants of a Lusitanian distribution or edge of geographic range effect), and the presence of melanic forms on islands is due to convergence. Cumulatively the information gathered through this atypical study of bumblebees in prime landscapes contributes to bumblebee conservation, genetic analysis and taxonomy. More research on insects in prime landscapes is advocated. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship IRCSET
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject bumblebees en_US
dc.subject Burren en_US
dc.title Bumblebees in prime landscapes with special reference to the Aran Island bumblebee (hymenoptera : apidae) en_US
dc.type Doctoral thesis en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.type.restriction none en

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