Relationships between species' floral traits and pollinator visitation in a temperate grassland

  • Hegland S
  • Totland . Ø
  • Totland O
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Abstract

Knowledge about plant-plant interactions for pollinator service at the plant community level is still scarce, although such interactions may be important to seed production and hence the population dynamics of individual plant species and the species compositions of communities. An important step towards a better understanding of pollination interactions at the community level is to assess if the variation in floral traits among plant species explain the variation in flower visitation frequency among those species. We investigated the relative importance of various floral traits for the visitation frequency of all insects, and bumblebees and flies separately, to plant species by measuring the visitation frequency to all insect-pollinated species in a community during an entire flowering season. Visitation frequency was identified to be strongly positive related to the visual display area and the date of peak flowering of plant species. Categorical variables, such as flower form and symmetry, were important to the visitation frequency of flies only. We constructed floral similarity measures based on the species' floral traits and found that the floral similarity for all species' traits combined and the continuous traits separately were positively related to individual visitation frequency. On the other hand, plant species with similar categorical floral traits did not have similar visitation frequencies. In conclusion, our results show that continuous traits, such as flower size and/or density, are more important for the variation in visitation frequency among plant species than thought earlier. Furthermore, differences in visitation frequency among pollinator groups give a poor support to the expectations derived from the classical pollination syndromes.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Competition
  • Facilitation
  • Floral density
  • Plant community
  • Plant-plant interactions
  • Pollination syndromes
  • Visual display

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Authors

  • Stein Joar Hegland

  • Ørjan Totland .

  • O Totland

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