Use of video surveillance to measure the influences of habitat management and landscape composition on pollinator visitation and pollen deposition in pumpkin ( Cucurbita pepo ) agroecosystems

  • Phillips B
  • Gardiner M
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Abstract

Pumpkin ( Cucurbita pepo ) production relies on insect-mediated pollination, which is provided by managed and wild pollinators. The goals of this study were to measure the visitation frequency, longevity and temporal activity patterns of pumpkin pollinators and to determine if local habitat management and landscape composition affected this pollination service. We used video surveillance to monitor bee acitivty within male and female pumpkin flowers in 2011 and 2012 across a pollination window of 0600–1200 h. We also quantified the amount of pollen deposited in female flowers across this time period. In 2011, A. mellifera made significantly more floral visits than other bees, and in 2012 Bombus spp . was the dominant pumpkin pollinator. We found variation in visitation among male and female pumpkin flowers, with A. mellifera visiting female flowers more often and spending longer per visit within them than male flowers in both 2011 and 2012. The squash bee P. pruinosa visited male flowers more frequently in 2012, but individuals spent equal time in both flower sexes. We did not find variation in the timing of flower visitation among species across the observed pollination window. In both 2011 and 2012 we found that the majority of pollen deposition occurred within the first two hours (0600–0800 h) of observation; there was no difference between the pollen deposited during this two-hour period and full pollination window (0600–1200 h). Local additions of sweet alyssum floral strips or a field buffer strip of native wildflowers did not have an effect on the foraging activity of bees or pollen deposition. However, semi-natural and urban habitats in the surrounding landscape were positively correlated with the frequency of flower visitation by wild pollinators and the amount of pollen deposited within female flowers.

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Phillips, B. W., & Gardiner, M. M. (2015). Use of video surveillance to measure the influences of habitat management and landscape composition on pollinator visitation and pollen deposition in pumpkin ( Cucurbita pepo ) agroecosystems . PeerJ, 3, e1342. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1342

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