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Abstract Detail

Studying Plant Pollinator Interactions in Changing Environments: Approaches, Lessons and Future Directions

Rafferty, Nicole [1].

Using experiments and historical data to study temporal and spatial shifts in plant-pollinator communities under climate change.

Plant and pollinator communities are shifting in space and time in response to climate change, exposing species to novel abiotic environments and altering their interactions. By combining experimental manipulations with historical data on phenology and species distributions, we can gain novel insight into the consequences of these shifts. I will illustrate how experiments in two communities were informed by historical data from long-term phenological records of flowering time and shorter-term records of bumble bee elevational distributions. In the first community, flowering phenologies of 14 tallgrass prairie species were manipulated in greenhouses before exposing plants to pollinators in the field to measure visitation and pollination rates. Six of the plant species were known from historical data to have advanced their flowering times, whereas eight of the species had not shifted their flowering phenologies. Visitation rates differed for the two groups: species that are flowering earlier did not experience reduced visitation when that shift was forced, whereas species that have not advanced did. In the second community, we reciprocally transplanted seeds of 11 subalpine wildflower species along an elevational gradient. For five of these species, we also collected data on seed set and bumble bee visitation rates. Several species of bumble bees in the community are known from historical data to have moved upward in elevation over the past 40 years, potentially reducing pollination success at lower elevations. The patterns we found thus far are species-specific: for three species seed set was positively related to elevation, for two species seed set was positively related to visitation, and for one species seed set was positively related to both elevation and visitation. These patterns can be explained in light of shifts in the elevational distributions and relative abundances of bumble bees. The results of the transplant experiments allow inferences about whether plant populations are locally adapted, which might impede or facilitate spatial and phenological shifts. Together, experimental and historical data can advance our understanding of how plant-pollinator communities will be affected by climate change-induced shifts in space and time.

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1 - Washington State University, Entomology, P.O. Box 646382, Pullman, WA, 99164, USA

Plant-climate interactions.

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY08, Studying plant pollinator interactions in changing environments: approaches, lessons and future directions
Location: Chatham Ballroom - C/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Time: 2:45 PM
Number: SY08004
Abstract ID:63
Candidate for Awards:None

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