A89. Zayed, A. and L. Packer. 2007. The population genetics of a solitary oligolectic sweat bee, Lasioglossum (Sphecodogastra) oenotherae (Hymenoptera: Halictidae). Heredity 99:397-405.
Abstract: Strong evidence exists for global declines in pollinator populations. Data on the population genetics of solitary bees, especially diet specialists, are generally lacking. We studied the population genetics of the oligolectic bee Lasioglossum oenotherae, a specialist on the pollen of evening primrose (Onagraceae), by genotyping 455 females from 15 populations across the bee's North American range at six hyper-variable microsatellite loci. We found significant levels of genetic differentiation between populations, even at small geographic scales, as well as significant patterns of isolation by distance. However, using multilocus genotype assignment tests, we detected 11 first-generation migrants indicating that L. oenotherae's sub-populations are experiencing ongoing gene flow. Southern populations of L. oenotherae were significantly more likely to deviate from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium and from genotypic equilibrium, suggesting regional differences in gene flow and/or drift and inbreeding. Short-term Ne estimated using temporal changes in allele frequencies in several populations ranged from ~223 to 960. We discuss our findings in terms of the conservation genetics of specialist pollinators, a group of considerable ecological importance.