Reporting Year:
North Cascades National Park Service Complex
Permit Type:
Name of principal investigator or responsible official:
Dr James Strange
Office Phone:
Mailing Address:
USDA-ARS Pollinating Insect Research Unit
Utah State University, BNR 255
Logan, UT 84322-5310
Office Fax:
Office Email:
Additional investigators or key field assistants

Project Title
Park-assigned Study or Activity #:
Park-assigned Permit #:
Permit Start Date:
Jun 09, 2013
Permit Expiration Date:
Dec 31, 2013
Scientific Study Starting Date:
Jun 09, 2013
Estimated Scientific Study Ending Date:
Sep 30, 2014
Study Status:
Study Closeouts:
___ A final report has been provided to the park or will be provided to the park within the next two years
___ Copies of field notes, data files, photos, or other study records, as agreed, have been provided to the park
___ All collected and retained specimens and retained material originating from such specimens have been cataloged into the NPS catalog system and NPS has processed loan agreements as needed.
Activity Type:
Invertebrates (Insects, Other)

Purpose of Scientific Study or Science Education Activity during the reporting year:
Bumble bee pollinators provide invaluable ecosystem services to wild flowering plants. However, recent studies throughout the U.S. have documented range wide decline in bumble bee abundance and diversity. Bumble bee decline has been attributed to climate warming, pathogen outbreaks, and land-use change. Depauperate bumble bee communities reduce effective pollination services to wild flowering plants, thereby reducing the plant’s probability of reproductive success. Reduced bumble bee population abundance may also lead to genetic bottlenecks and the loss of evolutionary significant units. In the wake of climate change, bumble bees are at high extinction risk considering their mostly alpine and temperate distribution. Recent surveys have documented changes in bumble bee abundance within some North Coast and Cascade (NCCN) National Parks, including the disappearance of Bombus occidentalis from most of the Pacific Northwest. Our study will provide NCCN park management with the status of important pollinators, training on identification, survey and monitoring of bumble bees, and interpretive material for the public.

The NCCN is host to a rich distribution of diverse terrestrial ecosystems, and are an ideal location to study bumble bee community dynamics and diversity. Eighteen bumble bee species are distributed throughout the Pacific Northwest, including species that are extremely abundant, and species that are rare or likely extinct. Once abundant, B. occidentalis is now rarely detected despite intense surveys in optimal habitats. Furthermore, a high elevation bumble bee, B. balteatus, may be distributed in the North Cascades, but very few natural history records exist in support of this claim. In consideration of the inherent ecological value of bumble bee pollinators, evaluating incidence, community composition, and genetic diversity will elucidate the health of bumble bees in the NCCN.

Bumble bees are primarily temperate species, with species ranges delimited by elevation and latitudinal gradients. Thus, bumble bee community composition reflects optimal climatic and floral niche coexistence. Bumble bees are sensitive to changes in land-use and climate, with recent studies revealing phenological advances in response to climate warming. Considering the elevational gradients present within the NCCN, establishing baseline survey data will serve as a reference to future studies on the effects of climate warming on bumble bees in the Pacific Northwest. Furthermore, despite recent efforts to document bumble bee distributions throughout the western U.S., high elevation surveys are lacking in most of the NCCN. In light of the compounding evidence for North American bumble bee pollinator decline, and the dearth of survey data throughout the NCCN, we advocate for immediate study of bumble bee pollinators in four NCCN national parks and monuments. Our study will provide novel information on bumble bee community composition and genetic diversity, two universal indicators of pollinator health and conservation status.
Findings and status of Scientific Study or accomplishments of Science Education Activity during the reporting year:
Several bumble bee species are experiencing dramatic declines in abundance and range throughout the United States. In the present study we conducted standardized surveys at 21 different locations across seven Pacific Northwest National Parks. The most abundant species detected in our survey was B. flavifrons, found in five of the parks, while the least abundant species were B. griseocollis and B. nevadensis both found only at one park. The average species diversity (abundance-sensitive measure) across the survey sites is 3.03 ± 0.24 and the average species richness is 5.94 ± 0.32 species. Our results suggest that species diversity is positively correlated with elevation (R = 0.38, P = 0.02) and not latitude (R = 0.03, P = 0.83). Species richness was the highest in Olympic National Park (OLYM), where nine species were identified. In OLYM we detected the imperiled B. occidentalis, and expanded the known distribution of B. sylvicola onto the Olympic peninsula. Regardless of the park, we found that high elevation sites were more similar in species diversity, and harbored elevation-restricted species. Habitat suitability models of each species suggests that high elevation communities will likely be at greater risk to temperature and precipitation changes in the next 80 years as predicted by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Population genetic analysis reveals that species distributed on a broad elevation gradient exhibit a degree of gene flow across conspecific populations with no signature of isolation by distance (all P > 0.05). However, the high elevation species B. sylvicola exhibited population genetic structure and isolation by distance across its sample range of the Pacific Northwest (R = 0.56, P < 0.05). In an effort to disseminate the importance of pollinator research in the National Park system, we also conducted workshops on bumble bee natural history and conservation for park personnel and the general public, presented two evening lectures for park visitors, and distributed a handout on topics covered during the identification and conservation workshops. Finally, in an effort to make our research accessible to park visitors, we have summarized our findings on bumble bee diversity in the park in the form of poster.
For Scientific Studies (not Science Education Activities), were any specimens collected and removed from the park but not destroyed during analysis?
If "Yes", identify where the specimens currently are stored:
In total, fifteen different bumble bee species were detected in the NCCN. We captured 773 bumble bees across 28 standardized field surveys at 21 unique field sites from 15 – 25 of July and 2 August (Supplementary Table 1). Of the 773, we have a voucher of 272 specimens which have been curated and are currently housed at the NPIC in Logan, Utah (Supplementary Table 2). The remaining 501 specimens not retained for the voucher were released at the collection site after field identification and tissue sampling. All specimens identified in this survey are recorded in Supplementary Table 3.

Funding (specific for this Park and this year)
NPS Funding $8,700.00
Other Governmental Agencies Funding
Dept. of Interior - National Park Service $0.00
USDA-ARS $5,500.00
All other Funding $5,500.00

OMB # (1024-0236)
Exp. Date (02/28/2014)
Form No. (10-226)