An Urban Refuge for Pollinators? A Comparative Study of Bee Communities in the NJ Meadowlands

Participants: NJIT & Rutgers University

Status: Starts Fall 2007, ends Summer 2008


Bees serve as an integral part of ecosystems through their ability to pollinate plants. The original native bees were susceptible to farming practices since they build their nests in the ground. Consequently, the honey bee was imported for pollination purposes, since they can be cultivated in hives. In recent years, however, these local honey bee populations have become affected by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Focus must again be turned to the native bee population, and a method to providing sustainable environments for these native bees, particularly in undeveloped urban areas.


Complete a preliminary survey of the bee population in the NJ Meadowlands District along with descriptions of the habitat diversity and vegetation composition they occupy. Compare these local communities in terms of habitat types and assess these in terms of useful refuge for native populations.


Standard methods such as pan traps and sweep netting will be used to sample the bee fauna. Remote sensing and GIS will be used to classify sites as part of the sampling design.

Activity & Status:

  • Initial field trips to scout locations – early summer and early fall 2007, resume again in early summer 2008
  • Sampling to take place early summer 2008, finishing late summer 2008
  • Identification/analysis in lab
  • Analysis and publication by spring 2009


  • Bee survey data (in form of a searchable, online database w/images)
  • Hypotheses testing regarding ecological community development in urban areas