Constructing more informative plant–pollinator networks: visitation and pollen deposition networks in a heathland plant community

G Ballantyne, Katherine C. R. Baldock, P. G. Willmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Interaction networks are widely used as tools to understand plant–pollinator communities, and to examine potential threats to plant diversity and food security if the ecosystem service provided by pollinating animals declines. However, most networks to date are based on recording visits to flowers, rather than recording clearly defined effective pollination events. Here we provide the first networks that explicitly incorporate measures of pollinator effectiveness (PE) from pollen deposition on stigmas per visit, and pollinator importance (PI) as the product of PE and visit frequency. These more informative networks, here produced for a low diversity heathland habitat, reveal that plant–pollinator interactions are more specialized than shown in most previous studies. At the studied site, the specialization index was lower for the visitation network than the PE network, which was in turn lower than for the PI network. Our study shows that collecting PE data is feasible for community-level studies in low diversity communities and that including information about PE can change the structure of interaction networks. This could have important consequences for our understanding of threats to pollination systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20151130
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume282
Issue number1814
Early online date7 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes

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