Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Biological Sciences


Biological Sciences

Major Professor

Dr. Jerome Howard

Second Advisor

Dr. Shalene Jha

Third Advisor

Dr. Philip DeVries


Processes structuring bee communities in agricultural landscapes are well-documented compared to those in other anthropogenic landscapes, like production forests. Forests across the temperate zone have historically been under-sampled, in part due to the perception that they provide little habitat to support diverse bee communities. While research suggests that early successional habitats support high levels of bee species richness and abundance, little empirical evidence exists to support the notion that forests, in turn, do not. To understand the relationship between forest successional age and major elements of the bee community, I sampled bees in a southern production pine forest in Hancock County, MS across 2012 and 2013. I found that while bee abundance declines with successional age, species richness does not. Combining this work with other recent research, I propose a generalized framework for understanding the role of disturbance and forest structure in structuring bee communities of southern forests.


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