Changes in the composition and behaviour of a pollinator guild with plant population size and the consequences for plant fecundity

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2014
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Phillips, Ryan D.
Steinmeyer, Felix
Erickson, Todd E.
Dixon, Kingsley W.
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  1. Small population size in plants is often associated with decreased fruit set through lower pollinator visitation and reduced offspring fitness as a result of inbreeding. Whether the potentially negative impacts of small population size are realized may be potentially influenced by the behaviour and ecology of pollinators.

    2. Here, we investigate changes in both guild composition and pollinator behaviour with plant population size in the bird‐pollinated A nigozanthos flavidus (H aemodoraceae) and the consequences for fruit set and seed germinability. We used a germination stimulant to reduce the potentially confounding affects of interpopulation variation in dormancy when quantifying seed germinability.

    3. All populations were visited in small numbers by w estern s pinebills, while the behaviourally dominant N ew H olland h oneyeaters only visited large populations. Fruit set was extremely high (mean = 96·4 ± 0·6%) regardless of population size.

    4. The percentage of foraging bouts interrupted by aggressive interactions tended to be less in small plant populations. The percentage of interrupted foraging bouts was as high as 31% in some populations, suggesting that aggression may frequently promote pollen movement. W estern s pinebills tended to visit fewer stems per plant than N ew H olland h oneyeaters, a behaviour that potentially favours greater outcrossing.

    5. There was no relationship between seed germinability or seeds produced per capsule and plant population size, suggesting that the foraging behaviour of western spinebills provides sufficient pollinator services in small populations to mitigate the potential reduction in seed production and germinability.

    6. Our findings highlight that, even within a pollinator guild, differences in behaviour can have important implications for the fitness of plants in small populations, with the potential for some pollinators to provide unexpected levels of resilience.
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570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
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aggression, bird, germination stimulant, pollination, pollinator behaviour, seed dormancy, small population
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ISO 690PHILLIPS, Ryan D., Felix STEINMEYER, Myles MENZ, Todd E. ERICKSON, Kingsley W. DIXON, 2014. Changes in the composition and behaviour of a pollinator guild with plant population size and the consequences for plant fecundity. In: Functional Ecology. Wiley-Blackwell. 2014, 28(4), pp. 846-856. ISSN 0269-8463. eISSN 1365-2435. Available under: doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12237
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@article{Phillips2014-08Chang-50677,
  year={2014},
  doi={10.1111/1365-2435.12237},
  title={Changes in the composition and behaviour of a pollinator guild with plant population size and the consequences for plant fecundity},
  number={4},
  volume={28},
  issn={0269-8463},
  journal={Functional Ecology},
  pages={846--856},
  author={Phillips, Ryan D. and Steinmeyer, Felix and Menz, Myles and Erickson, Todd E. and Dixon, Kingsley W.}
}
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