Bee Diversity in the Beehive State
While Utah is known as the Beehive State, most people don’t realize that over 1100 different kinds of bees can be found in Utah. This means that Utah is home to over 1/4 of all the bee species known from the US and Canada. In his talk, Dr. Joseph Wilson will introduce many of these bees that call Utah home and discuss the role they play in both agricultural and natural landscapes. As a hotspot of bee biodiversity, Utah, with its numerous national parks, national monuments, wilderness areas and other protected lands can provide refuge for bees and other pollinators. For example, when the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) was first established in 1996, part of the justification for setting aside this vast area in southern Utah was to protect the regions “diverse and endemic plant community and their pollinators.” With recent reductions in the size of the GSENM it is unclear what this means for the areas bee populations. Dr. Wilson will describe the bee community known from the original GSENM and explore how the changes to the monument might affect the bee community found therein.