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Project ID: 16-2-01-20

Year: 2016

Date Started: 06/01/2016

Ending Date:  12/31/2017

Title: Native bee nesting habitat use after wildfire in Montana

Project Proposal Abstract: Wildfire is a globally occurring phenomenon and a natural, necessary part of many ecosystems. Natural disturbances like wildfire create spatial heterogeneity and early successional habitats across multiple spatial scales which are essential for many wild, native bee species. Large scale, high severity fires have a homogenizing effect; they cause high tree mortality and remove much of the coarse woody debris and vegetation over a large area while causing massive soil erosion. Many bee species either solitarily nest in wood cavities (e.g., leaf-cutting bees) or establish nests underground (e.g., bumblebees. Homogenization by high severity fires could therefore strongly affect the presence and relative proximities of both nesting and foraging habitats, where nesting resources are either unavailable or spatially inaccessible from preferred foraging habitats. Managing for native bees therefore not only supports diversity in protected natural areas but has the added benefit of supporting neighboring agricultural lands. Baseline data on native bee nesting habitat use after wildfire thereby becomes necessary for effective management. My current dissertation assesses the foraging portion of bee habitat via assessing how ecological networks assemble after fire. The objective of this proposed research is to discover how different species of wild bees utilize nesting habitat after mixed and high severity fires across a series of old wildfire sites in Southwest Montana ranging from 3 to 25 years post-burn. Therefore, my main questions are: i) does burn severity affect bee nesting, ii) does habitat use change with time since burn, iii) which environmental variables and habitat characteristics affect bee nesting habitat use, and iv) is there a spatial relationship between bee nesting location and the diversity and abundance of local floral resources?

Principal Investigator: Laura A. Burkle

Agency/Organization: Montana State University

Branch or Dept: Department of Ecology

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Julie I. Geyer

Montana State University

Office of Sponsored Programs

Budget Contact

Julie I. Geyer

Montana State University

Office of Sponsored Programs

Student Investigator

Michael P. Simanonok

Montana State University

Department of Ecology

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Northern Rockies








Gallatin National Forest




Custer National Forest


Interior West


Project Deliverables

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There are no deliverables available for this project.

Supporting Documents

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