Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris)
Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment
Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 12 November 2019
Applicant: Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University
Species/Taxon: Bumblebee, Bombus terrestris
Location: Public lands, Conservation Areas, Reserves
Title of research: Understanding the adaptive and dispersal capacity of the introduced pollinator, Bombus terrestris
Aim of project:
1. Examine how genetic structure and dispersal of B. terrestris is affected by Tasmania's variable environment by modeling costs of movement according to climate and land cover features.
2. Identifying the strength of selection on genes involved in local adaptation to different climates, to help predict future distributions.
Bumblebees are an introduced species to Tasmania and considered an invasive species in Australia. B. terrestris is known to compete with native vegetation pollinators, with negative consequences for native plants. The project will produce spatial resources that can be used for monitoring B. terrestris within Tasmania and its future risk to spread to the Australian mainland. By integrating genetic and evolutionary information, our study will help to develop methods for understanding and monitoring species invasions more generally. Sampling on conservation areas and reserved lands is necessary to represent the variation of climatic conditions, elevations and land cover types present on the Tasmanian landscape, such that patterns of connectivity and local adaptation can be measured.
Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved: Approximately 20 sites will be visited across Tasmania to collect bumblebees, with between 400-600 bees estimated for collection (weather dependent).
Activities undertaken and methods:
Bumblebees will be collected across the extent of Tasmania covering contrasting bioclimatic zones and wide elevational and temperature gradients. Approximately 20 sites will be visited for collecting bees (each site = ~100m2). A variety of landscape complexities and land cover types will be targeted, including urban areas, agricultural areas, urban and native vegetation. Bumblebees will be collected by hand using sweep nets and placed in a 5ml tube and later in a -20 freezer for ~2hrs. Each bee will be sexed, weighed and measured before being preserved in 90% ethanol on the day of collection.
Fate of animals: Euthanised, preserved bees will be transported to Macquarie University, NSW, for DNA extraction, sequencing and genetic and morphological analysis. Specimens will be stored in a -80 freezer for archiving.
Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch):
There is no risk of by-catch in this research because bees will be collected by hand and identified prior to collection. There are no similar looking species to B. terrestris in Tasmania so the target species can be clearly identified.