Effects of Grassland Restoration on Native Bee and Spider Communities in a Pacific Northwestern Agroecosystem

Final report for GW16-016

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2016: $24,999.00
Projected End Date: 07/31/2017
Grant Recipient: Oregon State University
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Graduate Student:
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Sandy DeBano
Oregon State University
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Project Information


We evaluated eastern Oregon native bee and spider communities in native, degraded, and restored grasslands, some of which were recovering from a 2015 wildfire.  In addition, we collected native bees and spiders along transects from crop fields to field margins and into adjacent grasslands to determine which invertebrate species are present and able to provide beneficial ecosystem services to the surrounding agroecosystem.

Project Objectives:
  1. Determine how grassland restoration affects native bee and spider communities in eastern Oregon by comparing native bee and spider diversity and abundance in restored, native and degraded grasslands.
  1. Investigate the role of restoration project age on native bee and spider responses by comparing native bee and spider communities across sites that were restored at different times.
  1. Assess which factors are most strongly associated with native bee and spider diversity and abundance by evaluating what floral resources and vegetative structure are available at each site.
  1. Determine if native bees and spiders can enhance pollination and pest control for growers by measuring how far and which species can travel from restored grasslands to neighboring farms.
  1. Produce a low maintenance protocol that can be used to restore field margins to previous grasslands, decrease field erosion, control crop weeds, and increase invertebrate-mediated ecosystem services.
  1. Educate the surrounding community and fellow researchers on important ecosystem services invertebrates provide and actions that can be taken to improve invertebrate diversity in field margins and native grasslands.


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  • Lauren Smith


Participation Summary

Research Outcomes

12 Grants received that built upon this project

Education and Outreach

1 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
1 Other educational activities

Participation Summary:

5 Ag professionals participated
Education and outreach methods and analyses:

In 2015 we created a summer camp for twenty 10-12 year old's called "Farmtastic."  This summer camp introduced campers to agricultural science including soil science, biochemistry, entomology, and ecology.  Our section of the camp taught children the science behind pollination and included a hands-on-activity that allowed the campers to plant their own pollinator-friendly plants.  In addition, children were able to learn about beneficial invertebrates including spiders and see live-spiders lay eggs.  

See a newspaper article about the camp here.

We created a blog in 2015 called "Trials and Tribulations in Grassland Restoration" at grasslandrestoration.weebly.com.  Since 2015 we have been updating the blog with posts about and relating to our research.  We have received over 1000 views.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.