UCD Bumblebee Monitoring Transect
In March 2019, a bumblebee monitoring transect was established on campus by Tara Dirilgen & Dara Stanley (School of Agriculture & Food Science) in consultation with UCD Estate Services. The bumblebees recorded along this 1.8 km route from March to October are submitted to the National Biodiversity Data Centre All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme, where the data are used for tracking bumblebee numbers in Ireland over time.
Map showing overview of the UCD bumblebee monitoring transect (total 1.8km comprising 13 sections)
The All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme was established in 2011 as part of the Irish Pollinator Initiative in order to monitor one of Ireland’s most important wild pollinator groups – bumblebees. Ireland has 99 species of bee, of which 21 are bumblebees.
The 7 bumblebee species found on campus along the bumblebee monitoring transect. Top row (L-R) Bombus terrestris, B. lucorum and B.hortorum. Bottom row (L-R) B. jonellus, B. pascuorum and B. lapidaries and B. pratorum. Image credit: All Ireland Pollinator Plan website.
The initial monitoring between March and October 2019 recorded seven bumblebee species on the UCD campus. The monitoring also recorded that current management practices for promoting pollinators and wildlife on campus such as the wildflower meadow, wildlife area in Conway, plantings in chess garden and outside sports centre hosted the most bees both in abundance and diversity. Additionally, the no mow/wild sections host a higher diversity and abundance for a longer period throughout the season, and also has the potential to provide nesting sites. Mown grass areas, paved areas and woodland supported less bumblebees, the report found.
The 2019 report recommended that wildlife areas and pollinator friendly planting should be maintained on campus and could be enhanced further in new areas to increase bumblebee habitat. Improvements
in mown and paved areas across campus for bumblebees would contribute further to pollinator conservation at UCD.
The summary of findings from the UCD bumblebee monitoring transect are also shared with UCD Estate Services to inform current and future management practices on campus.
For more information on the transect and some of the findings see the UCD Bumblebee Monitoring Transect Report on 2019 season by Tara Dirilgen1 & Dara Stanley [pdf].