Accounting for imperfect detection in species with sessile life cycle stages: a case study of bumble bee nests


Journal Article

© 2019, Springer Nature Switzerland AG. For bumble bees and other social organisms, colonies are the functional unit of the population rather than the individual workers. Estimates of bumble bee nest density are thus critical for understanding population distribution and trends of this important pollinator group. Yet, surveys of bumble bee nests and other taxa with sessile life stages rarely account for imperfect detection. Here, we demonstrate the use of mark-recapture methods to estimate the density of bumble bee nests at multiple sites using standardized survey protocols. We detected ~ 30% of nests in a 2-h survey of each 3000 m2 plot. We determined that 4–5 visits were sufficient to estimate the total number of nests at our site with reasonable precision, equating to one-third the effort previously assumed necessary to reliably estimate nest density. Mark-recapture approaches can be used to generate unbiased estimates of density with reduced search effort, while simultaneously increasing the rate at which nests are discovered.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Iles, DT; Pugesek, G; Kerr, NZ; Dorian, NN; Crone, EE

Published Date

  • December 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 23 / 5-6

Start / End Page

  • 945 - 955

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1572-9753

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1366-638X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10841-019-00179-1

Citation Source

  • Scopus