ABSTRACT: The genetic diversity of bumblebees can be adversely affected by habitat degradation. An overabundance of deer has altered
the composition and diversity of herbaceous plants in many places of the world, resulting in decreases of herbaceous flowers.
Populations of Bombus diversus may be strongly affected by this degradation of habitat in the Ashiu primary beech forest in Kyoto, Japan. To estimate the
effects of deer browsing on B. diversus populations, we analyzed and compared the genetic diversity of the extant population in Ashiu to museum specimens collected
prior to heavy deer browsing in Ashiu (1980s) and the extant population in Hyonosen primary beech forest in Tottori, Japan,
which has not been as severely degraded by deer. We successfully amplified DNA from ~20-year-old museum specimens and determined
the genetic diversity of B. diversus in Ashiu populations from the 1980s. Results were analyzed for indications of a bottleneck as well as estimates of N
e, allelic richness, rare allelic richness, expected heterozygosity, and the effective number of alleles. Our findings did
not reveal clear evidence of degradation in genetic diversity of the extant Ashiu population compared to the museum specimens
or to the Hyonosen population. Thus, the Ashiu population of B. diversus appears to have maintained a level of genetic diversity during 20years irrespective of habitat degradation and the levels
have been similar to that of the Hyonosen population.
KeywordsBumblebees-Deer-Effective population size-Nest-based analyses-Primary beech forest
Journal of Insect Conservation 04/2012; 14(2):191-198. · 1.69 Impact Factor