New Publication: Phenology and flowering overlap drive specialisation in plant-pollinator networks
Updated: Mar 18
Combining predictions from network models and pollen data from sites in Michigan and the UK, we are so happy to see this rewarding work recently published in Ecology Letters.
"Variation in dietary specialisation stems from fundamental interactions between species and their environment. Consequently, understanding the drivers of this variation is key to understanding ecological and evolutionary processes. Dietary specialisation in wild bees has received attention due to their close mutualistic dependence on plants, and because both groups are threatened by biodiversity loss. Many principles governing pollinator specialisation have been identified, but they remain largely unvalidated. Organismal phenology has the potential to structure realised specialisation by determining concurrent resource availability and pollinator foraging activity. We evaluate this principle using mechanistic models of adaptive foraging in pollinators within plant–pollinator networks. While temporal resource overlap has little impact on specialisation in pollinators with extended flight periods, reduced overlap increases specialisation as pollinator flight periods decrease. These results are corroborated empirically using pollen load data taken from bees with shorter and longer flight periods across environments with high and low temporal resource overlap."
Follow the link below to read the full paper.