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  1. null (Ed.)
  2. Chase, Jonathan (Ed.)
  3. Context Bees are the most important pollinators of crops worldwide. For most bees, patches of semi-natural habitat within or adjacent to crops can provide important nesting and food resources. Despite this, land cover change is rapidly reducing the abundance of semi-natural habitat within agroecological landscapes, with potentially negative consequences for bee communities and the services they provide. Objectives Identify how the availability of semi-natural habitat impacts bee communities across biogeographic regions, which may reveal commonalities and key governing principles that transcend a single region or taxa. Methods We analyze and compare the drivers of bee community composition in cotton fields within Brazil and the U.S. to reveal how land cover and land cover change impact bee community composition across these two regions. Results We show that the most critical factors impacting bee communities in cotton agroecosystems are the same in Brazil and the U.S.: bee abundance increases with cotton bloom density and the abundance of semi-natural habitat. Further, the loss of semi-natural habitat over a 5-year period negatively impacts bee abundance in both agroecosystems. Conclusions Given the importance of bee abundance for the provision of pollination service in cotton plants, our findings highlight the significance of small semi-natural habitat fragments in supporting key ecosystem service providers for both tropical and temperate cotton agroecological systems. We underscore the important role that local land managers play in biodiversity conservation, and the potential contribution they can make to pollination provision by supporting agricultural landscapes that conserve fragments of semi-natural habitat. 
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  4. Abstract

    DNA sequencing technologies continue to advance the biological sciences, expanding opportunities for genomic studies of non‐model organisms for basic and applied questions. Despite these opportunities, many next generation sequencing protocols have been developed assuming a substantial quantity of high molecular weight DNA (>100 ng), which can be difficult to obtain for many study systems. In particular, the ability to sequence field‐collected specimens that exhibit varying levels of DNA degradation remains largely unexplored. In this study we investigate the influence of five traditional insect capture and curation methods on Double‐Digest Restriction Enzyme Associated DNA (ddRAD) sequencing success for three wild bee species. We sequenced a total of 105 specimens (between 7–13 specimens per species and treatment). We additionally investigated how different DNA quality metrics (including pre‐sequence concentration and contamination) predicted downstream sequencing success, and also compared two DNA extraction methods. We report successful library preparation for all specimens, with all treatments and extraction methods producing enough highly reliable loci for population genetic analyses. Although results varied between species, we found that specimens collected by net sampling directly into 100% EtOH, or by passive trapping followed by 100% EtOH storage before pinning tended to produce higher quality ddRAD assemblies, likely as a result of rapid specimen desiccation. Surprisingly, we found that specimens preserved in propylene glycol during field sampling exhibited lower‐quality assemblies. We provide recommendations for each treatment, extraction method, and DNA quality assessment, and further encourage researchers to consider utilizing a wider variety of specimens for genomic analyses.

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  5. Abstract

    Agricultural management recommendations based on short‐term studies can produce findings inconsistent with long‐term reality. Here, we test the long‐term environmental sustainability and profitability of continuous no‐till agriculture on yield, soil water availability, and N2O fluxes. Using a moving window approach, we investigate the development and stability of several attributes of continuous no‐till as compared to conventional till agriculture over a 29‐year period at a site in the upper Midwest, US. Over a decade is needed to detect the consistent effects of no‐till. Both crop yield and soil water availability required 15 years or longer to generate patterns consistent with 29‐year trends. Only marginal trends for N2O fluxes appeared in this period. Relative profitability analysis suggests that after initial implementation, 86% of periods between 10 and 29 years recuperated the initial expense of no‐till implementation, with the probability of higher relative profit increasing with longevity. Importantly, statistically significant but misleading short‐term trends appeared in more than 20% of the periods examined. Results underscore the importance of decadal and longer studies for revealing consistent dynamics and emergent outcomes of no‐till agriculture, shown to be beneficial in the long term.

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  6. Human land use threatens global biodiversity and compromises multiple ecosystem functions critical to food production. Whether crop yield–related ecosystem services can be maintained by a few dominant species or rely on high richness remains unclear. Using a global database from 89 studies (with 1475 locations), we partition the relative importance of species richness, abundance, and dominance for pollination; biological pest control; and final yields in the context of ongoing land-use change. Pollinator and enemy richness directly supported ecosystem services in addition to and independent of abundance and dominance. Up to 50% of the negative effects of landscape simplification on ecosystem services was due to richness losses of service-providing organisms, with negative consequences for crop yields. Maintaining the biodiversity of ecosystem service providers is therefore vital to sustain the flow of key agroecosystem benefits to society. 
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