Understanding the impact of past climatic events on the demographic history of extant species is critical for predicting species' responses to future climate change. Palaeoclimatic instability is a major mechanism of lineage diversification in taxa with low dispersal and small geographical ranges in tropical ecosystems. However, the impact of these climatic events remains questionable for the diversification of species with high levels of gene flow and large geographical distributions. In this study, we investigate the impact of Pleistocene climate change on three Neotropical orchid bee species (Eulaema bombiformis, E. meriana and E. cingulata) with transcontinental distributions and different physiological tolerances. We first generated ecological niche models to identify species-specific climatically stable areas during Pleistocene climatic oscillations. Using a combination of mitochondrial and nuclear markers, we inferred calibrated phylogenies and estimated historical demographic parameters to reconstruct the phylogeographical history of each species. Our results indicate species with narrower physiological tolerance experienced less suitable habitat during glaciations and currently exhibit strong population structure in the mitochondrial genome. However, nuclear markers with low and high mutation rates show lack of association with geography. These results combined with lower migration rate estimates from the mitochondrial than the nuclear genome suggest male-biased dispersal. We conclude that despite large effective population sizes and capacity for long-distance dispersal, climatic instability is an important mechanism of maternal lineage diversification in orchid bees. Thus, these Neotropical pollinators are susceptible to disruption of genetic connectivity in the event of large-scale climatic changes.
Climate change has the potential to alter the phenological synchrony between interacting mutualists, such as plants and their pollinators. However, high levels of biodiversity might buffer the negative effects of species-specific phenological shifts and maintain synchrony at the community level, as predicted by the biodiversity insurance hypothesis. Here, we explore how biodiversity might enhance and stabilise phenological synchrony between a valuable crop, apple and its native pollinators. We combine 46 years of data on apple flowering phenology with historical records of bee pollinators over the same period. When the key apple pollinators are considered altogether, we found extensive synchrony between bee activity and apple peak bloom due to complementarity among bee species activity periods, and also a stable trend over time due to differential responses to warming climate among bee species. A simulation model confirms that high biodiversity levels can ensure plant-pollinator phenological synchrony and thus pollination function.
Bees are the primary pollinators of angiosperms throughout the world. There are more than 16,000 described species, with broad variation in life history traits such as nesting habitat, diet, and social behavior. Despite their importance as pollinators, the evolution of bee biodiversity is understudied: relationships among the seven families of bees remain controversial, and no empirical global-level reconstruction of historical biogeography has been attempted. Morphological studies have generally suggested that the phylogeny of bees is rooted near the family Colletidae, whereas many molecular studies have suggested a root node near (or within) Melittidae. Previous molecular studies have focused on a relatively small sample of taxa (~150 species) and genes (seven at most). Public databases contain an enormous amount of DNA sequence data that has not been comprehensively analysed in the context of bee evolution.
Pollinators such as bees are essential to the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. However, despite concerns about a global pollinator crisis, long-term data on the status of bee species are limited. We present a long-term study of relative rates of change for an entire regional bee fauna in the northeastern United States, based on >30,000 museum records representing 438 species. Over a 140-y period, aggregate native species richness weakly decreased, but richness declines were significant only for the genus Bombus. Of 187 native species analyzed individually, only three declined steeply, all of these in the genus Bombus. However, there were large shifts in community composition, as indicated by 56% of species showing significant changes in relative abundance over time. Traits associated with a declining relative abundance include small dietary and phenological breadth and large body size. In addition, species with lower latitudinal range boundaries are increasing in relative abundance, a finding that may represent a response to climate change. We show that despite marked increases in human population density and large changes in anthropogenic land use, aggregate native species richness declines were modest outside of the genus Bombus. At the same time, we find that certain ecological traits are associated with declines in relative abundance. These results should help target conservation efforts focused on maintaining native bee abundance and diversity and therefore the important ecosystems services that they provide.
The evolution of parasitic behavior may catalyze the exploitation of new ecological niches yet also binds the fate of a parasite to that of its host. It is thus not clear whether evolutionary transitions from free-living organism to parasite lead to increased or decreased rates of diversification. We explore the evolution of brood parasitism in long-tongued bees and find decreased rates of diversification in eight of 10 brood parasitic clades. We propose a pathway for the evolution of brood parasitic strategy and find that a strategy in which a closed host nest cell is parasitized and the host offspring is killed by the adult parasite represents an obligate first step in the appearance of a brood parasitic lineage; this ultimately evolves into a strategy in which an open host cell is parasitized and the host offspring is killed by a specialized larval instar. The transition to parasitizing open nest cells expanded the range of potential hosts for brood parasitic bees and played a fundamental role in the patterns of diversification seen in brood parasitic clades. We address the prevalence of brood parasitic lineages in certain families of bees and examine the evolution of brood parasitism in other groups of organisms.
Bees provide essential pollination services that are potentially affected both by local farm management and the surrounding landscape. To better understand these different factors, we modelled the relative effects of landscape composition (nesting and floral resources within foraging distances), landscape configuration (patch shape, interpatch connectivity and habitat aggregation) and farm management (organic vs. conventional and local-scale field diversity), and their interactions, on wild bee abundance and richness for 39 crop systems globally. Bee abundance and richness were higher in diversified and organic fields and in landscapes comprising more high-quality habitats; bee richness on conventional fields with low diversity benefited most from high-quality surrounding land cover. Landscape configuration effects were weak. Bee responses varied slightly by biome. Our synthesis reveals that pollinator persistence will depend on both the maintenance of high-quality habitats around farms and on local management practices that may offset impacts of intensive monoculture agriculture.
Reliable estimates on the ages of the major bee clades are needed to further understand the evolutionary history of bees and their close association with flowering plants. Divergence times have been estimated for a few groups of bees, but no study has yet provided estimates for all major bee lineages. To date the origin of bees and their major clades, we first perform a phylogenetic analysis of bees including representatives from every extant family, subfamily and almost all tribes, using sequence data from seven genes. We then use this phylogeny to place 14 time calibration points based on information from the fossil record for an uncorrelated relaxed clock divergence time analysis taking into account uncertainties in phylogenetic relationships and the fossil record. We explore the effect of placing a hard upper age bound near the root of the tree and the effect of different topologies on our divergence time estimates. We estimate that crown bees originated approximately 123 Ma (million years ago) (113-132 Ma), concurrently with the origin or diversification of the eudicots, a group comprising 75 per cent of angiosperm species. All of the major bee clades are estimated to have originated during the Middle to Late Cretaceous, which is when angiosperms became the dominant group of land plants.
The phenology of many ecological processes is modulated by temperature, making them potentially sensitive to climate change. Mutualistic interactions may be especially vulnerable because of the potential for phenological mismatching if the species involved do not respond similarly to changes in temperature. Here we present an analysis of climate-associated shifts in the phenology of wild bees, the most important pollinators worldwide, and compare these shifts to published studies of bee-pollinated plants over the same time period. We report that over the past 130 y, the phenology of 10 bee species from northeastern North America has advanced by a mean of 10.4 ± 1.3 d. Most of this advance has taken place since 1970, paralleling global temperature increases. When the best available data are used to estimate analogous rates of advance for plants, these rates are not distinguishable from those of bees, suggesting that bee emergence is keeping pace with shifts in host-plant flowering, at least among the generalist species that we investigated.
A long-standing controversy in bee social evolution concerns whether highly eusocial behavior has evolved once or twice within the corbiculate Apidae. Corbiculate bees include the highly eusocial honey bees and stingless bees, the primitively eusocial bumble bees, and the predominantly solitary or communal orchid bees. Here we use a model-based approach to reconstruct the evolutionary history of eusociality and date the antiquity of eusocial behavior in apid bees, using a recent molecular phylogeny of the Apidae. We conclude that eusociality evolved once in the common ancestor of the corbiculate Apidae, advanced eusociality evolved independently in the honey and stingless bees, and that eusociality was lost in the orchid bees. Fossil-calibrated divergence time estimates reveal that eusociality first evolved at least 87 Mya (78 to 95 Mya) in the corbiculates, much earlier than in other groups of bees with less complex social behavior. These results provide a robust new evolutionary framework for studies of the organization and genetic basis of social behavior in honey bees and their relatives.
The placement of the root node in a phylogeny is fundamental to characterizing evolutionary relationships. The root node of bee phylogeny remains unclear despite considerable previous attention. In order to test alternative hypotheses for the location of the root node in bees, we used the F1 and F2 paralogs of elongation factor 1-alpha (EF-1?) to compare the tree topologies that result when using outgroup versus paralogous rooting. Fifty-two taxa representing each of the seven bee families were sequenced for both copies of EF-1?. Two datasets were analyzed. In the first (the "concatenated" dataset), the F1 and F2 copies for each species were concatenated and the tree was rooted using appropriate outgroups (sphecid and crabronid wasps). In the second dataset (the "duplicated" dataset), the F1 and F2 copies were aligned to each another and each copy for all taxa were treated as separate terminals. In this dataset, the root was placed between the F1 and F2 copies (e.g., paralog rooting). Bayesian analyses demonstrate that the outgroup rooting approach outperforms paralog rooting, recovering deeper clades and showing stronger support for groups well established by both morphological and other molecular data. Sequence characteristics of the two copies were compared at the amino acid level, but little evidence was found to suggest that one copy is more functionally conserved. Although neither approach yields an unambiguous root to the tree, both approaches strongly indicate that the root of bee phylogeny does not fall near Colletidae, as has been previously proposed. We discuss paralog rooting as a general strategy and why this approach performs relatively poorly with our particular dataset.
Stark contrasts in clade species diversity are reported across the tree of life and are especially conspicuous when observed in closely related lineages. The explanation for such disparity has often been attributed to the evolution of key innovations that facilitate colonization of new ecological niches. The factors underlying diversification in bees remain poorly explored. Bees are thought to have originated from apoid wasps during the Mid-Cretaceous, a period that coincides with the appearance of angiosperm eudicot pollen grains in the fossil record. The reliance of bees on angiosperm pollen and their fundamental role as angiosperm pollinators have contributed to the idea that both groups may have undergone simultaneous radiations. We demonstrate that one key innovation--the inclusion of foreign material in nest construction--underlies both a massive range expansion and a significant increase in the rate of diversification within the second largest bee family, Megachilidae. Basal clades within the family are restricted to deserts and exhibit plesiomorphic features rarely observed among modern bees, but prevalent among apoid wasps. Our results suggest that early bees inherited a suite of behavioural traits that acted as powerful evolutionary constraints. While the transition to pollen as a larval food source opened an enormous ecological niche for the early bees, the exploitation of this niche and the subsequent diversification of bees only became possible after bees had evolved adaptations to overcome these constraints.
Specialized relationships with bacteria often allow animals to exploit a new diet by providing a novel set of metabolic capabilities. Bees are a monophyletic group of Hymenoptera that transitioned to a completely herbivorous diet from the carnivorous diet of their wasp ancestors. Recent culture-independent studies suggest that a set of distinctive bacterial species inhabits the gut of the honey bee, Apis mellifera. Here we survey the gut microbiotae of diverse bee and wasp species to test whether acquisition of these bacteria was associated with the transition to herbivory in bees generally. We found that most bee species lack phylotypes that are the same or similar to those typical of A. mellifera, rejecting the hypothesis that this dietary transition was symbiont-dependent. The most common bacteria in solitary bee species are a widespread phylotype of Burkholderia and the pervasive insect associate, Wolbachia. In contrast, several social representatives of corbiculate bees do possess distinctive bacterial phylotypes. Samples of A. mellifera harboured the same microbiota as in previous surveys, and closely related bacterial phylotypes were identified in two Asian honey bees (Apis andreniformis and Apis dorsata) and several bumble bee (Bombus) species. Potentially, the sociality of Apis and Bombus species facilitates symbiont transmission and thus is key to the maintenance of a more consistent gut microbiota. Phylogenetic analyses provide a more refined taxonomic placement of the A. mellifera symbionts.
Apidae is the most speciose and behaviorally diverse family of bees. It includes solitary, eusocial, socially parasitic, and an exceptionally high proportion of cleptoparasitic species. Cleptoparasitic bees, which are brood parasites in the nests of other bees, have long caused problems in resolving the phylogenetic relationships within Apidae based on morphological data because of the tendency for parasites to converge on a suite of traits, making it difficult to differentiate similarity caused by common ancestry from convergence. Here, we resolve the evolutionary history of apid cleptoparasitism by conducting a detailed, comprehensive molecular phylogenetic analysis of all 33 apid tribes (based on 190 species), including representatives from every hypothesized origin of cleptoparasitism. Based on Bayesian ancestral state reconstruction, we show that cleptoparasitism has arisen just four times in Apidae, which is fewer times than previously estimated. Our results indicate that 99% of cleptoparasitic apid bees form a monophyletic group. Divergence time estimates reveal that cleptoparasitism is an ancient behavior in bees that first evolved in the late Cretaceous 95 Mya [95% highest posterior density (HPD) = 87-103]. Our phylogenetic analysis of the Apidae sheds light on the macroevolution of a bee family that is of evolutionary, ecological, and economic importance.
This article derives from a society-wide symposium organized by Timothy Bradley and Adriana Briscoe and presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Boston, Massachusetts. David Grimaldi provided the opening presentation in which he outlined the major evolutionary events in the formation and subsequent diversification of the insect clade. This presentation was followed by speakers who detailed the evolutionary history of specific physiological and/or behavioral traits that have caused insects to be both ecologically successful and fascinating as subjects for biological study. These include a review of the evolutionary history of the insects, the origins of flight, osmoregulation, the evolution of tracheal systems, the evolution of color vision, circadian clocks, and the evolution of eusociality. These topics, as covered by the speakers, provide an overview of the pattern and timing of evolutionary diversification and specialization in the group of animals we know as insects.
Colletidae comprise approximately 2500 species of bees primarily distributed in the southern continents (only two colletid genera are widely distributed: Colletes and Hylaeus). Previously published studies have failed to resolve phylogenetic relationships on a worldwide basis and this has been a major barrier to the progress of research regarding systematics and evolution of colletid bees. For this study, data from four nuclear gene loci: elongation factor-1alpha (F2 copy), opsin, wingless, and 28S rRNA were analyzed for 122 species of colletid bees, representing all subfamilies and tribes currently recognized; 22 species belonging to three other bee families were used as outgroups. Bayesian, maximum likelihood, and parsimony methods were employed to investigate the phylogenetic relationships within Colletidae and resulted in highly congruent and well-resolved trees. The phylogenetic results show that Colletidae are monophyletic and that all traditionally recognized subfamilies (except Paracolletinae) are also strongly supported as monophyletic. Our phylogenetic hypothesis provides a framework within which broad questions related to the taxonomy, biogeography, morphology, evolution, and ecology of colletid bees can be addressed.
The halictid bees are excellent models for the study of social evolution because greater social diversity and plasticity are observed in the tribe Halictini than in any other comparable taxonomic group. We examine the evolutionary relationships within the subfamily Halictinae ("sweat bees") to investigate the origins of social behaviour within the tribe Halictini. We present a new phylogeny of the subfamily Halictinae based on three nuclear genes (elongation factor-1 alpha, wingless, and long-wavelength rhodopsin) and one mitochondrial gene (cytochrome c oxidase 1) sequenced for 206 halictine bees. We use model-based character reconstruction to infer the probability of a shared eusocial ancestor for the genera Halictus and Lasioglossum, the two genera of Halictini which display eusociality. Our results suggest a high probability for a single origin of eusociality for these two genera, contradicting earlier views of separate origins within each taxon. Fossil-calibrated divergence estimates place this ancestor at approximately 35 million years ago, about 14 million years earlier than previous estimates of eusocial origins in the halictid bees.
Our understanding of bee phylogeny has improved over the past fifteen years as a result of new data, primarily nucleotide sequence data, and new methods, primarily model-based methods of phylogeny reconstruction. Phylogenetic studies based on single or, more commonly, multilocus data sets have helped resolve the placement of bees within the superfamily Apoidea; the relationships among the seven families of bees; and the relationships among bee subfamilies, tribes, genera, and species. In addition, molecular phylogenies have played an important role in inferring evolutionary patterns and processes in bees. Phylogenies have provided the comparative framework for understanding the evolution of host-plant associations and pollen specialization, the evolution of social behavior, and the evolution of parasitism. In this paper, we present an overview of significant discoveries in bee phylogeny based primarily on the application of molecular data. We review the phylogenetic hypotheses family-by-family and then describe how the new phylogenetic insights have altered our understanding of bee biology.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.