The influence of climatic seasonality on the diversity of different tropical pollinator groups

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Abstract

Tropical South America is rich in different groups of pollinators, but the biotic and abiotic factors determining the geographical distribution of their species richness are poorly understood. We analyzed the species richness of three groups of pollinators (bees and wasps, butterflies, hummingbirds) in six tropical forests in the Bolivian lowlands along a gradient of climatic seasonality and precipitation ranging from 410 mm to 6250 mm. At each site, we sampled the three pollinator groups and their food plants twice for 16 days in both the dry and rainy seasons. The richness of the pollinator groups was related to climatic factors by linear regressions. Differences in species numbers between pollinator groups were analyzed by Wilcoxon tests for matched pairs and the proportion in species numbers between pollinator groups by correlation analyses. Species richness of hummingbirds was most closely correlated to the continuous availability of food, that of bees and wasps to the number of food plant species and flowers, and that of butterflies to air temperature. Only the species number of butterflies differed significantly between seasons. We were not able to find shifts in the proportion of species numbers of the different groups of pollinators along the study gradient. Thus, we conclude that the diversity of pollinator guilds is determined by group-specific factors and that the constant proportions in species numbers of the different pollinator groups constitute a general pattern.

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Abrahamczyk, S., Kluge, J., Gareca, Y., Reichle, S., & Kessler, M. (2011). The influence of climatic seasonality on the diversity of different tropical pollinator groups. PLoS ONE, 6(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0027115

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