The fates of native bee communities in the Great Basin sagebrush steppe are linked with the susceptibilities of their floral hosts to increasingly frequent wildfires. Postfire survival and subsequent flowering of six prevalent perennial wildflowers representing five families were quantified across a range of realistic fire severities created using a calibrated propane burn barrel. Five burn prescriptions of varying intensity and duration were applied to cultivated rows of basalt milkvetch (Astragalus filipes Torr. ex A. Gray), Blue Mountain prairie clover (Dalea ornata Eaton & J. Wright), sulphur-flower buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum Torr.), fernleaf biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum Nutt.), blue penstemon (Penstemon cyaneus Pennell), and gooseberryleaf globemallow (Sphaeralcea grossularifolia Hook. & Arn.). Overall differences in their fire sensitivitieswere maximal at peak fire severity, ranging from 80% survival (L. dissectum) to complete mortality (E. umbellatum and P. cyaneus). Although A. filipes survived well (85%), half of the 95 burn survivors then failed to flower the year after burning. The postfire fate of plant-pollinator interactions is a function of the bees' nesting habits, their floral host's sensitivity to a given burn intensity (both in terms of survival and flowering), and the reproductive interdependence of bee and floral host (taxonomic specialists vs. generalists).
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