Publication Date

Summer 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




M. Kathryn Davis


biogeography, California native bees, environmental history, historical San Francisco

Subject Areas

Geography; Environmental studies


The arrival of the missionaries in the late eighteenth century began the transformation of the San Francisco East Bay area from wetlands to orchards, grain fields, and grazing lands. This research considers the possibility that European and American newcomers enlarged native bee ranges in the East Bay cities of San Leandro, San Lorenzo, and Hayward when imported pollen and nectar-producing flora were planted. Three types of sources are analyzed: journals and diaries of explorers, missionaries, and botanists; native bee and plant specimens collected before the Gold Rush in 1848; and ethnographies of Ohlone Native Americans. Conclusive evidence for the presence of bees in the research area prior to the arrival of the missionaries is lacking, whereas late twentieth-century studies suggest the likelihood that native bees existed before European settlements.