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Sample records for pollinators increases crop

  1. Experimental evidence that wildflower strips increase pollinator visits to crops.

    PubMed

    Feltham, Hannah; Park, Kirsty; Minderman, Jeroen; Goulson, Dave

    2015-08-01

    Wild bees provide a free and potentially diverse ecosystem service to farmers growing pollination-dependent crops. While many crops benefit from insect pollination, soft fruit crops, including strawberries are highly dependent on this ecosystem service to produce viable fruit. However, as a result of intensive farming practices and declining pollinator populations, farmers are increasingly turning to commercially reared bees to ensure that crops are adequately pollinated throughout the season. Wildflower strips are a commonly used measure aimed at the conservation of wild pollinators. It has been suggested that commercial crops may also benefit from the presence of noncrop flowers; however, the efficacy and economic benefits of sowing flower strips for crops remain relatively unstudied. In a study system that utilizes both wild and commercial pollinators, we test whether wildflower strips increase the number of visits to adjacent commercial strawberry crops by pollinating insects. We quantified this by experimentally sowing wildflower strips approximately 20 meters away from the crop and recording the number of pollinator visits to crops with, and without, flower strips. Between June and August 2013, we walked 292 crop transects at six farms in Scotland, recording a total of 2826 pollinators. On average, the frequency of pollinator visits was 25% higher for crops with adjacent flower strips compared to those without, with a combination of wild and commercial bumblebees (Bombus spp.) accounting for 67% of all pollinators observed. This effect was independent of other confounding effects, such as the number of flowers on the crop, date, and temperature. Synthesis and applications. This study provides evidence that soft fruit farmers can increase the number of pollinators that visit their crops by sowing inexpensive flower seed mixes nearby. By investing in this management option, farmers have the potential to increase and sustain pollinator populations over time

  2. Experimental evidence that wildflower strips increase pollinator visits to crops

    PubMed Central

    Feltham, Hannah; Park, Kirsty; Minderman, Jeroen; Goulson, Dave

    2015-01-01

    Wild bees provide a free and potentially diverse ecosystem service to farmers growing pollination-dependent crops. While many crops benefit from insect pollination, soft fruit crops, including strawberries are highly dependent on this ecosystem service to produce viable fruit. However, as a result of intensive farming practices and declining pollinator populations, farmers are increasingly turning to commercially reared bees to ensure that crops are adequately pollinated throughout the season. Wildflower strips are a commonly used measure aimed at the conservation of wild pollinators. It has been suggested that commercial crops may also benefit from the presence of noncrop flowers; however, the efficacy and economic benefits of sowing flower strips for crops remain relatively unstudied. In a study system that utilizes both wild and commercial pollinators, we test whether wildflower strips increase the number of visits to adjacent commercial strawberry crops by pollinating insects. We quantified this by experimentally sowing wildflower strips approximately 20 meters away from the crop and recording the number of pollinator visits to crops with, and without, flower strips. Between June and August 2013, we walked 292 crop transects at six farms in Scotland, recording a total of 2826 pollinators. On average, the frequency of pollinator visits was 25% higher for crops with adjacent flower strips compared to those without, with a combination of wild and commercial bumblebees (Bombus spp.) accounting for 67% of all pollinators observed. This effect was independent of other confounding effects, such as the number of flowers on the crop, date, and temperature. Synthesis and applications. This study provides evidence that soft fruit farmers can increase the number of pollinators that visit their crops by sowing inexpensive flower seed mixes nearby. By investing in this management option, farmers have the potential to increase and sustain pollinator populations over time

  3. Synergistic interactions of ecosystem services: florivorous pest control boosts crop yield increase through insect pollination.

    PubMed

    Sutter, Louis; Albrecht, Matthias

    2016-02-10

    Insect pollination and pest control are pivotal functions sustaining global food production. However, they have mostly been studied in isolation and how they interactively shape crop yield remains largely unexplored. Using controlled field experiments, we found strong synergistic effects of insect pollination and simulated pest control on yield quantity and quality. Their joint effect increased yield by 23%, with synergistic effects contributing 10%, while their single contributions were 7% and 6%, respectively. The potential economic benefit for a farmer from the synergistic effects (12%) was 1.8 times greater than their individual contributions (7% each). We show that the principal underlying mechanism was a pronounced pest-induced reduction in flower lifetime, resulting in a strong reduction in the number of pollinator visits a flower receives during its lifetime. Our findings highlight the importance of non-additive interactions among ecosystem services (ES) when valuating, mapping or predicting them and reveal fundamental implications for ecosystem management and policy aimed at maximizing ES for sustainable agriculture. PMID:26865304

  4. The Dependence of Crops for Pollinators and the Economic Value of Pollination in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Giannini, T C; Cordeiro, G D; Freitas, B M; Saraiva, A M; Imperatriz-Fonseca, V L

    2015-06-01

    Food production is challenged by changes in climate and land use and expanding human population growth. Proper pollination can increase the production and quality of fruit, nut, oil, and fiber crops. We reviewed crop dependence on pollinators and estimated the economic value of pollination per year for each crop in Brazil. We analyzed 141 crops and found that 85 depend on pollinators. Almost one-third of these crops have an essential or great dependence on pollinators. The economic contribution of pollinators totals ∼30% (∼US$12 billion) of the total annual agricultural income of the dependent crops (totalizing almost US$45 billion). However, half of these figures includes soybean crop (US$5.7 billion of pollinators' contribution and US$22 billion of annual income). Soybean was considered as having a modest dependence on pollinators, but this remains controversial because pollinator dependence might vary among different varieties cultivated in Brazil. Moreover, we have no information about pollinator dependence regarding some important crops, showing the urgent need for basic research into reproductive biology and pollination ecology. PMID:26470203

  5. Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In evaluating the value of pollinators for world production of human food, our literature review revealed that yields of 87 leading fruit, vegetable or seed crops increase with insect pollination, while 28 do not. We found that pollinators are essential for 12, production increased considerably for ...

  6. Bee pollination improves crop quality, shelf life and commercial value.

    PubMed

    Klatt, Björn K; Holzschuh, Andrea; Westphal, Catrin; Clough, Yann; Smit, Inga; Pawelzik, Elke; Tscharntke, Teja

    2014-01-22

    Pollination improves the yield of most crop species and contributes to one-third of global crop production, but comprehensive benefits including crop quality are still unknown. Hence, pollination is underestimated by international policies, which is particularly alarming in times of agricultural intensification and diminishing pollination services. In this study, exclusion experiments with strawberries showed bee pollination to improve fruit quality, quantity and market value compared with wind and self-pollination. Bee-pollinated fruits were heavier, had less malformations and reached higher commercial grades. They had increased redness and reduced sugar-acid-ratios and were firmer, thus improving the commercially important shelf life. Longer shelf life reduced fruit loss by at least 11%. This is accounting for 0.32 billion US$ of the 1.44 billion US$ provided by bee pollination to the total value of 2.90 billion US$ made with strawberry selling in the European Union 2009. The fruit quality and yield effects are driven by the pollination-mediated production of hormonal growth regulators, which occur in several pollination-dependent crops. Thus, our comprehensive findings should be transferable to a wide range of crops and demonstrate bee pollination to be a hitherto underestimated but vital and economically important determinant of fruit quality. PMID:24307669

  7. Bee pollination improves crop quality, shelf life and commercial value

    PubMed Central

    Klatt, Björn K.; Holzschuh, Andrea; Westphal, Catrin; Clough, Yann; Smit, Inga; Pawelzik, Elke; Tscharntke, Teja

    2014-01-01

    Pollination improves the yield of most crop species and contributes to one-third of global crop production, but comprehensive benefits including crop quality are still unknown. Hence, pollination is underestimated by international policies, which is particularly alarming in times of agricultural intensification and diminishing pollination services. In this study, exclusion experiments with strawberries showed bee pollination to improve fruit quality, quantity and market value compared with wind and self-pollination. Bee-pollinated fruits were heavier, had less malformations and reached higher commercial grades. They had increased redness and reduced sugar–acid–ratios and were firmer, thus improving the commercially important shelf life. Longer shelf life reduced fruit loss by at least 11%. This is accounting for 0.32 billion US$ of the 1.44 billion US$ provided by bee pollination to the total value of 2.90 billion US$ made with strawberry selling in the European Union 2009. The fruit quality and yield effects are driven by the pollination-mediated production of hormonal growth regulators, which occur in several pollination-dependent crops. Thus, our comprehensive findings should be transferable to a wide range of crops and demonstrate bee pollination to be a hitherto underestimated but vital and economically important determinant of fruit quality. PMID:24307669

  8. Expansion of mass-flowering crops leads to transient pollinator dilution and reduced wild plant pollination.

    PubMed

    Holzschuh, Andrea; Dormann, Carsten F; Tscharntke, Teja; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2011-11-22

    Agricultural land use results in direct biodiversity decline through loss of natural habitat, but may also cause indirect cross-habitat effects on conservation areas. We conducted three landscape-scale field studies on 67 sites to test the hypothesis that mass flowering of oilseed rape (Brassica napus) results in a transient dilution of bees in crop fields, and in increased competition between crop plants and grassland plants for pollinators. Abundances of bumble-bees, which are the main pollinators of the grassland plant Primula veris, but also pollinate oilseed rape (OSR), decreased with increasing amount of OSR. This landscape-scale dilution affected bumble-bee abundances strongly in OSR fields and marginally in grasslands, where bumble-bee abundances were generally low at the time of Primula flowering. Seed set of Primula veris, which flowers during OSR bloom, was reduced by 20 per cent when the amount of OSR within 1 km radius increased from 0 to 15 per cent. Hence, the current expansion of bee-attractive biofuel crops results in transient dilution of crop pollinators, which means an increased competition for pollinators between crops and wild plants. In conclusion, mass-flowering crops potentially threaten fitness of concurrently flowering wild plants in conservation areas, despite the fact that, in the long run, mass-flowering crops can enhance abundances of generalist pollinators and their pollination service. PMID:21471115

  9. The identity of crop pollinators helps target conservation for improved ecosystem services☆

    PubMed Central

    Garratt, M.P.D.; Coston, D.J.; Truslove, C.L.; Lappage, M.G.; Polce, C.; Dean, R.; Biesmeijer, J.C.; Potts, S.G.

    2014-01-01

    Insect pollinated mass flowering crops are becoming more widespread and there is a need to understand which insects are primarily responsible for the pollination of these crops so conservation measures can be appropriately targeted in the face of pollinator declines. This study used field surveys in conjunction with cage manipulations to identify the relative contributions of different pollinator taxa to the pollination of two widespread flowering crops, field beans and oilseed rape. Flower visiting pollinator communities observed in the field were distinct for each crop; while field beans were visited primarily by a few bumblebee species, multiple pollinator taxa visited oilseed, and the composition of this pollinator community was highly variable spatially and temporally. Neither pollinator community, however, appears to be meeting the demands of crops in our study regions. Cage manipulations showed that multiple taxa can effectively pollinate both oilseed and field beans, but bumblebees are particularly effective bean pollinators. Combining field observations and cage manipulations demonstrated that the pollination demands of these two mass flowering crops are highly contrasting, one would benefit from management to increase the abundance of some key taxa, whilst for the other, boosting overall pollinator abundance and diversity would be more appropriate. Our findings highlight the need for crop specific mitigation strategies that are targeted at conserving specific pollinator taxa (or group of taxa) that are both active and capable of crop pollination in order to reduce pollination deficits and meet the demands of future crop production. PMID:24696525

  10. Insect Pollinated Crops, Insect Pollinators and US Agriculture: Trend Analysis of Aggregate Data for the Period 1992–2009

    PubMed Central

    Calderone, Nicholas W.

    2012-01-01

    In the US, the cultivated area (hectares) and production (tonnes) of crops that require or benefit from insect pollination (directly dependent crops: apples, almonds, blueberries, cucurbits, etc.) increased from 1992, the first year in this study, through 1999 and continued near those levels through 2009; aggregate yield (tonnes/hectare) remained unchanged. The value of directly dependent crops attributed to all insect pollination (2009 USD) decreased from $14.29 billion in 1996, the first year for value data in this study, to $10.69 billion in 2001, but increased thereafter, reaching $15.12 billion by 2009. The values attributed to honey bees and non-Apis pollinators followed similar patterns, reaching $11.68 billion and $3.44 billion, respectively, by 2009. The cultivated area of crops grown from seeds resulting from insect pollination (indirectly dependent crops: legume hays, carrots, onions, etc.) was stable from 1992 through 1999, but has since declined. Production of those crops also declined, albeit not as rapidly as the decline in cultivated area; this asymmetry was due to increases in aggregate yield. The value of indirectly dependent crops attributed to insect pollination declined from $15.45 billion in 1996 to $12.00 billion in 2004, but has since trended upward. The value of indirectly dependent crops attributed to honey bees and non-Apis pollinators, exclusive of alfalfa leafcutter bees, has declined since 1996 to $5.39 billion and $1.15 billion, respectively in 2009. The value of alfalfa hay attributed to alfalfa leafcutter bees ranged between $4.99 and $7.04 billion. Trend analysis demonstrates that US producers have a continued and significant need for insect pollinators and that a diminution in managed or wild pollinator populations could seriously threaten the continued production of insect pollinated crops and crops grown from seeds resulting from insect pollination. PMID:22629374

  11. Insect pollinated crops, insect pollinators and US agriculture: trend analysis of aggregate data for the period 1992-2009.

    PubMed

    Calderone, Nicholas W

    2012-01-01

    In the US, the cultivated area (hectares) and production (tonnes) of crops that require or benefit from insect pollination (directly dependent crops: apples, almonds, blueberries, cucurbits, etc.) increased from 1992, the first year in this study, through 1999 and continued near those levels through 2009; aggregate yield (tonnes/hectare) remained unchanged. The value of directly dependent crops attributed to all insect pollination (2009 USD) decreased from $14.29 billion in 1996, the first year for value data in this study, to $10.69 billion in 2001, but increased thereafter, reaching $15.12 billion by 2009. The values attributed to honey bees and non-Apis pollinators followed similar patterns, reaching $11.68 billion and $3.44 billion, respectively, by 2009. The cultivated area of crops grown from seeds resulting from insect pollination (indirectly dependent crops: legume hays, carrots, onions, etc.) was stable from 1992 through 1999, but has since declined. Production of those crops also declined, albeit not as rapidly as the decline in cultivated area; this asymmetry was due to increases in aggregate yield. The value of indirectly dependent crops attributed to insect pollination declined from $15.45 billion in 1996 to $12.00 billion in 2004, but has since trended upward. The value of indirectly dependent crops attributed to honey bees and non-Apis pollinators, exclusive of alfalfa leafcutter bees, has declined since 1996 to $5.39 billion and $1.15 billion, respectively in 2009. The value of alfalfa hay attributed to alfalfa leafcutter bees ranged between $4.99 and $7.04 billion. Trend analysis demonstrates that US producers have a continued and significant need for insect pollinators and that a diminution in managed or wild pollinator populations could seriously threaten the continued production of insect pollinated crops and crops grown from seeds resulting from insect pollination. PMID:22629374

  12. Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops

    PubMed Central

    Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Vaissière, Bernard E; Cane, James H; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Cunningham, Saul A; Kremen, Claire; Tscharntke, Teja

    2006-01-01

    The extent of our reliance on animal pollination for world crop production for human food has not previously been evaluated and the previous estimates for countries or continents have seldom used primary data. In this review, we expand the previous estimates using novel primary data from 200 countries and found that fruit, vegetable or seed production from 87 of the leading global food crops is dependent upon animal pollination, while 28 crops do not rely upon animal pollination. However, global production volumes give a contrasting perspective, since 60% of global production comes from crops that do not depend on animal pollination, 35% from crops that depend on pollinators, and 5% are unevaluated. Using all crops traded on the world market and setting aside crops that are solely passively self-pollinated, wind-pollinated or parthenocarpic, we then evaluated the level of dependence on animal-mediated pollination for crops that are directly consumed by humans. We found that pollinators are essential for 13 crops, production is highly pollinator dependent for 30, moderately for 27, slightly for 21, unimportant for 7, and is of unknown significance for the remaining 9. We further evaluated whether local and landscape-wide management for natural pollination services could help to sustain crop diversity and production. Case studies for nine crops on four continents revealed that agricultural intensification jeopardizes wild bee communities and their stabilizing effect on pollination services at the landscape scale. PMID:17164193

  13. Industrial oilseed crops and ecosystem services: Pollinators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Many industrial and specialty oilseed crops have showy flowers that are highly attractive to insect pollinators. Moreover, across the spectrum of species and cultivars that can be grown in frigid regions, such as Minnesota, floral phenology can be manipulated to vary from early spring (April) to lat...

  14. Pollen analyses for pollination research, unacetolyzed pollen

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Pollinators can significantly increase the potential yield of crops, but little is known about which pollinators pollinate various crop species. Many pollinators feed on pollen, nectar and plant secretions associated with flowers, and consequently pollen attaches to the pollinators. Identification...

  15. Rain forest provides pollinating beetles for atemoya crops.

    PubMed

    Blanche, Rosalind; Cunningham, Saul A

    2005-08-01

    Small beetles, usually species of Nitidulidae, are the natural pollinators of atemoya (Annona squamosa L. x A. cherimola Mill. hybrids; custard apple) flowers but commercial atemoya growers often need to carry out labor-intensive hand pollination to produce enough high-quality fruit. Because Australian rain forest has plant species in the same family as atemoya (Annonaceae) and because many rain forest plants are beetle pollinated, we set out to discover whether tropical rain forest in far north Queensland harbors beetles that could provide this ecosystem service for atemoya crops. Orchards were chosen along a gradient of increasing distance from tropical rain forest (0.1-24 km). We sampled 100 flowers from each of nine atemoya orchards and determined the identity and abundance of insects within each flower. To assess the amount of pollination due to insects, we bagged six flowers per tree and left another six flowers per tree accessible to insects on 10 trees at an orchard near rain forest. Results indicated that atemoya orchards < or = 0.5 km from rain forest were predominantly visited by five previously unrecognized native beetle pollinators that are likely to originate in tropical rain forest. These native beetles occurred reliably enough in crops near rain forest to have a positive effect on the quantity of fruit produced but their contribution was not great enough to satisfy commercial production needs. Management changes, aimed at increasing native beetle abundance in crops, are required before these beetles could eliminate the need for growers to hand pollinate atemoya flowers. Appreciation of the value of this resource is necessary if we are to develop landscapes that both conserve native biodiversity and support agricultural production. PMID:16156571

  16. Using pennycress, camelina, and canola cash crops to provision pollinators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    As pollinator decline continues, the need to provide high value forage for insects continues to rise. Finding agricultural crops to diversify the landscape and provide forage is one way to improve pollinator health. Three winter industrial oilseed crops (pennycress, winter camelina, and winter canol...

  17. Mass-flowering crops dilute pollinator abundance in agricultural landscapes across Europe.

    PubMed

    Holzschuh, Andrea; Dainese, Matteo; González-Varo, Juan P; Mudri-Stojnić, Sonja; Riedinger, Verena; Rundlöf, Maj; Scheper, Jeroen; Wickens, Jennifer B; Wickens, Victoria J; Bommarco, Riccardo; Kleijn, David; Potts, Simon G; Roberts, Stuart P M; Smith, Henrik G; Vilà, Montserrat; Vujić, Ante; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2016-10-01

    Mass-flowering crops (MFCs) are increasingly cultivated and might influence pollinator communities in MFC fields and nearby semi-natural habitats (SNHs). Across six European regions and 2 years, we assessed how landscape-scale cover of MFCs affected pollinator densities in 408 MFC fields and adjacent SNHs. In MFC fields, densities of bumblebees, solitary bees, managed honeybees and hoverflies were negatively related to the cover of MFCs in the landscape. In SNHs, densities of bumblebees declined with increasing cover of MFCs but densities of honeybees increased. The densities of all pollinators were generally unrelated to the cover of SNHs in the landscape. Although MFC fields apparently attracted pollinators from SNHs, in landscapes with large areas of MFCs they became diluted. The resulting lower densities might negatively affect yields of pollinator-dependent crops and the reproductive success of wild plants. An expansion of MFCs needs to be accompanied by pollinator-supporting practices in agricultural landscapes. PMID:27531385

  18. Neonicotinoid pesticide exposure impairs crop pollination services provided by bumblebees

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stanley, Dara A.; Garratt, Michael P. D.; Wickens, Jennifer B.; Wickens, Victoria J.; Potts, Simon G.; Raine, Nigel E.

    2015-12-01

    Recent concern over global pollinator declines has led to considerable research on the effects of pesticides on bees. Although pesticides are typically not encountered at lethal levels in the field, there is growing evidence indicating that exposure to field-realistic levels can have sublethal effects on bees, affecting their foraging behaviour, homing ability and reproductive success. Bees are essential for the pollination of a wide variety of crops and the majority of wild flowering plants, but until now research on pesticide effects has been limited to direct effects on bees themselves and not on the pollination services they provide. Here we show the first evidence to our knowledge that pesticide exposure can reduce the pollination services bumblebees deliver to apples, a crop of global economic importance. Bumblebee colonies exposed to a neonicotinoid pesticide provided lower visitation rates to apple trees and collected pollen less often. Most importantly, these pesticide-exposed colonies produced apples containing fewer seeds, demonstrating a reduced delivery of pollination services. Our results also indicate that reduced pollination service delivery is not due to pesticide-induced changes in individual bee behaviour, but most likely due to effects at the colony level. These findings show that pesticide exposure can impair the ability of bees to provide pollination services, with important implications for both the sustained delivery of stable crop yields and the functioning of natural ecosystems.

  19. Neonicotinoid pesticide exposure impairs crop pollination services provided by bumblebees

    PubMed Central

    Stanley, Dara A.; Garratt, Michael P.D.; Wickens, Jennifer B.; Wickens, Victoria J.; Potts, Simon G.; Raine, Nigel E.

    2015-01-01

    Recent concern over global pollinator declines has led to considerable research on the effects of pesticides on bees1-5. Although pesticides are typically not encountered at lethal levels in the field, there is growing evidence indicating that exposure to field-realistic levels can have sub-lethal effects on bees affecting their foraging behaviour1,6,7, homing ability8,9 and reproductive success2,5. Bees are essential for the pollination of a wide variety of crops and the majority of wild flowering plants10-12, but until now research on pesticide impacts has been limited to direct effects on bees themselves and not on the pollination services they provide. Here we show the first evidence that pesticide exposure can reduce the pollination services bumblebees deliver to apples, a crop of global economic importance. Colonies exposed to a neonicotinoid pesticide provided lower visitation rates to apple trees and collected pollen less often. Most importantly these pesticide exposed colonies produced apples containing fewer seeds demonstrating a reduced delivery of pollination services. Our results also suggest reduced pollination service delivery is not due to pesticide-induced changes in individual bee behaviour but most likely due to impacts at the colony level. These findings show that pesticide exposure can impair the ability of bees to provide pollination services, with important implications for both the sustained delivery of stable crop yields and the function of natural ecosystems. PMID:26580009

  20. Pollination services enhanced with urbanization despite increasing pollinator parasitism.

    PubMed

    Theodorou, Panagiotis; Radzevičiūtė, Rita; Settele, Josef; Schweiger, Oliver; Murray, Tomás E; Paxton, Robert J

    2016-06-29

    Animal-mediated pollination is required for the reproduction of the majority of angiosperms, and pollinators are therefore essential for ecosystem functioning and the economy. Two major threats to insect pollinators are anthropogenic land-use change and the spread of pathogens, whose effects may interact to impact pollination. Here, we investigated the relative effects on the ecosystem service of pollination of (i) land-use change brought on by agriculture and urbanization as well as (ii) the prevalence of pollinator parasites, using experimental insect pollinator-dependent plant species in natural pollinator communities. We found that pollinator habitat (i.e. availability of nesting resources for ground-nesting bees and local flower richness) was strongly related to flower visitation rates at the local scale and indirectly influenced plant pollination success. At the landscape scale, pollination was positively related to urbanization, both directly and indirectly via elevated visitation rates. Bumblebees were the most abundant pollinator group visiting experimental flowers. Prevalence of trypanosomatids, such as the common bumblebee parasite Crithidia bombi, was higher in urban compared with agricultural areas, a relationship which was mediated through higher Bombus abundance. Yet, we did not find any top-down, negative effects of bumblebee parasitism on pollination. We conclude that urban areas can be places of high transmission of both pollen and pathogens. PMID:27335419

  1. Pollination services enhanced with urbanization despite increasing pollinator parasitism

    PubMed Central

    Radzevičiūtė, Rita; Murray, Tomás E.

    2016-01-01

    Animal-mediated pollination is required for the reproduction of the majority of angiosperms, and pollinators are therefore essential for ecosystem functioning and the economy. Two major threats to insect pollinators are anthropogenic land-use change and the spread of pathogens, whose effects may interact to impact pollination. Here, we investigated the relative effects on the ecosystem service of pollination of (i) land-use change brought on by agriculture and urbanization as well as (ii) the prevalence of pollinator parasites, using experimental insect pollinator-dependent plant species in natural pollinator communities. We found that pollinator habitat (i.e. availability of nesting resources for ground-nesting bees and local flower richness) was strongly related to flower visitation rates at the local scale and indirectly influenced plant pollination success. At the landscape scale, pollination was positively related to urbanization, both directly and indirectly via elevated visitation rates. Bumblebees were the most abundant pollinator group visiting experimental flowers. Prevalence of trypanosomatids, such as the common bumblebee parasite Crithidia bombi, was higher in urban compared with agricultural areas, a relationship which was mediated through higher Bombus abundance. Yet, we did not find any top-down, negative effects of bumblebee parasitism on pollination. We conclude that urban areas can be places of high transmission of both pollen and pathogens. PMID:27335419

  2. Climate-driven spatial mismatches between British orchards and their pollinators: increased risks of pollination deficits

    PubMed Central

    Polce, Chiara; Garratt, Michael P; Termansen, Mette; Ramirez-Villegas, Julian; Challinor, Andrew J; Lappage, Martin G; Boatman, Nigel D; Crowe, Andrew; Endalew, Ayenew Melese; Potts, Simon G; Somerwill, Kate E; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C

    2014-01-01

    Understanding how climate change can affect crop-pollinator systems helps predict potential geographical mismatches between a crop and its pollinators, and therefore identify areas vulnerable to loss of pollination services. We examined the distribution of orchard species (apples, pears, plums and other top fruits) and their pollinators in Great Britain, for present and future climatic conditions projected for 2050 under the SRES A1B Emissions Scenario. We used a relative index of pollinator availability as a proxy for pollination service. At present, there is a large spatial overlap between orchards and their pollinators, but predictions for 2050 revealed that the most suitable areas for orchards corresponded to low pollinator availability. However, we found that pollinator availability may persist in areas currently used for fruit production, which are predicted to provide suboptimal environmental suitability for orchard species in the future. Our results may be used to identify mitigation options to safeguard orchard production against the risk of pollination failure in Great Britain over the next 50 years; for instance, choosing fruit tree varieties that are adapted to future climatic conditions, or boosting wild pollinators through improving landscape resources. Our approach can be readily applied to other regions and crop systems, and expanded to include different climatic scenarios. PMID:24638986

  3. The Effects of Crop Intensification on the Diversity of Native Pollinator Communities.

    PubMed

    Mogren, Christina L; Rand, Tatyana A; Fausti, Scott W; Lundgren, Jonathan G

    2016-08-01

    Increases in agricultural conversion are leading to declines in native grasslands and natural resources critical for beneficial insects. However, little is known regarding how these changes affect pollinator diversity. Land use types were categorized within 300 m and 3 km radii of pollinator sampling locations in Brookings County, SD. Pollinator abundance and species richness were regressed on the proportion of the landscape dedicated to row crops, grass and pasture, forage crops, small grains, and aquatic habitats using variance components modeling. Row crops had a negative effect on bee abundance at 300 m, after fixed effects modeling accounted for outliers skewing this relationship. At 3 km, corn positively affected bee abundance and richness, while soybean acreage decreased species richness. The landscape matrix of outlying sites consisted of large monocultured areas with few alternative habitat types available, leading to inflated populations of Melissodes and Halictidae. Syrphids had a positive parabolic relationship between diversity and row crops, indicating potential for competitive exclusion from intermediate landscapes. Unlike other studies, landscape diversity within 300 m was not found to significantly benefit pollinator diversity. Within especially agriculturally developed areas of the region, high abundances of pollinators suggest selection for a few dominant species. There was no effect of forage crops or aquatic habitats on pollinator diversity, indicating that less highly managed areas still represent degraded habitat within the landscape. Incorporating pollinator-friendly crops at the farm level throughout the region is likely to enhance pollinator diversity by lessening the negative effects of large monocultures. PMID:27271948

  4. Delivery of crop pollination services is an insufficient argument for wild pollinator conservation

    PubMed Central

    Kleijn, David; Winfree, Rachael; Bartomeus, Ignasi; Carvalheiro, Luísa G; Henry, Mickaël; Isaacs, Rufus; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Kremen, Claire; M'Gonigle, Leithen K; Rader, Romina; Ricketts, Taylor H; Williams, Neal M; Lee Adamson, Nancy; Ascher, John S; Báldi, András; Batáry, Péter; Benjamin, Faye; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C; Blitzer, Eleanor J; Bommarco, Riccardo; Brand, Mariëtte R; Bretagnolle, Vincent; Button, Lindsey; Cariveau, Daniel P; Chifflet, Rémy; Colville, Jonathan F; Danforth, Bryan N; Elle, Elizabeth; Garratt, Michael P.D.; Herzog, Felix; Holzschuh, Andrea; Howlett, Brad G; Jauker, Frank; Jha, Shalene; Knop, Eva; Krewenka, Kristin M; Le Féon, Violette; Mandelik, Yael; May, Emily A; Park, Mia G; Pisanty, Gideon; Reemer, Menno; Riedinger, Verena; Rollin, Orianne; Rundlöf, Maj; Sardiñas, Hillary S; Scheper, Jeroen; Sciligo, Amber R; Smith, Henrik G; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Thorp, Robbin; Tscharntke, Teja; Verhulst, Jort; Viana, Blandina F; Vaissière, Bernard E; Veldtman, Ruan; Westphal, Catrin; Potts, Simon G

    2015-01-01

    There is compelling evidence that more diverse ecosystems deliver greater benefits to people, and these ecosystem services have become a key argument for biodiversity conservation. However, it is unclear how much biodiversity is needed to deliver ecosystem services in a cost-effective way. Here we show that, while the contribution of wild bees to crop production is significant, service delivery is restricted to a limited subset of all known bee species. Across crops, years and biogeographical regions, crop-visiting wild bee communities are dominated by a small number of common species, and threatened species are rarely observed on crops. Dominant crop pollinators persist under agricultural expansion and many are easily enhanced by simple conservation measures, suggesting that cost-effective management strategies to promote crop pollination should target a different set of species than management strategies to promote threatened bees. Conserving the biological diversity of bees therefore requires more than just ecosystem-service-based arguments. PMID:26079893

  5. Non-bee insects are important contributors to global crop pollination

    PubMed Central

    Bartomeus, Ignasi; Garibaldi, Lucas A.; Garratt, Michael P. D.; Howlett, Brad G.; Winfree, Rachael; Cunningham, Saul A.; Mayfield, Margaret M.; Arthur, Anthony D.; Andersson, Georg K. S.; Bommarco, Riccardo; Brittain, Claire; Carvalheiro, Luísa G.; Chacoff, Natacha P.; Entling, Martin H.; Foully, Benjamin; Freitas, Breno M.; Gemmill-Herren, Barbara; Ghazoul, Jaboury; Griffin, Sean R.; Gross, Caroline L.; Herbertsson, Lina; Herzog, Felix; Hipólito, Juliana; Jaggar, Sue; Jauker, Frank; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Kleijn, David; Krishnan, Smitha; Lemos, Camila Q.; Lindström, Sandra A. M.; Mandelik, Yael; Monteiro, Victor M.; Nelson, Warrick; Nilsson, Lovisa; Pattemore, David E.; de O. Pereira, Natália; Pisanty, Gideon; Potts, Simon G.; Reemer, Menno; Rundlöf, Maj; Sheffield, Cory S.; Scheper, Jeroen; Schüepp, Christof; Smith, Henrik G.; Stanley, Dara A.; Stout, Jane C.; Szentgyörgyi, Hajnalka; Taki, Hisatomo; Vergara, Carlos H.; Viana, Blandina F.; Woyciechowski, Michal

    2016-01-01

    Wild and managed bees are well documented as effective pollinators of global crops of economic importance. However, the contributions by pollinators other than bees have been little explored despite their potential to contribute to crop production and stability in the face of environmental change. Non-bee pollinators include flies, beetles, moths, butterflies, wasps, ants, birds, and bats, among others. Here we focus on non-bee insects and synthesize 39 field studies from five continents that directly measured the crop pollination services provided by non-bees, honey bees, and other bees to compare the relative contributions of these taxa. Non-bees performed 25–50% of the total number of flower visits. Although non-bees were less effective pollinators than bees per flower visit, they made more visits; thus these two factors compensated for each other, resulting in pollination services rendered by non-bees that were similar to those provided by bees. In the subset of studies that measured fruit set, fruit set increased with non-bee insect visits independently of bee visitation rates, indicating that non-bee insects provide a unique benefit that is not provided by bees. We also show that non-bee insects are not as reliant as bees on the presence of remnant natural or seminatural habitat in the surrounding landscape. These results strongly suggest that non-bee insect pollinators play a significant role in global crop production and respond differently than bees to landscape structure, probably making their crop pollination services more robust to changes in land use. Non-bee insects provide a valuable service and provide potential insurance against bee population declines. PMID:26621730

  6. Non-bee insects are important contributors to global crop pollination.

    PubMed

    Rader, Romina; Bartomeus, Ignasi; Garibaldi, Lucas A; Garratt, Michael P D; Howlett, Brad G; Winfree, Rachael; Cunningham, Saul A; Mayfield, Margaret M; Arthur, Anthony D; Andersson, Georg K S; Bommarco, Riccardo; Brittain, Claire; Carvalheiro, Luísa G; Chacoff, Natacha P; Entling, Martin H; Foully, Benjamin; Freitas, Breno M; Gemmill-Herren, Barbara; Ghazoul, Jaboury; Griffin, Sean R; Gross, Caroline L; Herbertsson, Lina; Herzog, Felix; Hipólito, Juliana; Jaggar, Sue; Jauker, Frank; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Kleijn, David; Krishnan, Smitha; Lemos, Camila Q; Lindström, Sandra A M; Mandelik, Yael; Monteiro, Victor M; Nelson, Warrick; Nilsson, Lovisa; Pattemore, David E; Pereira, Natália de O; Pisanty, Gideon; Potts, Simon G; Reemer, Menno; Rundlöf, Maj; Sheffield, Cory S; Scheper, Jeroen; Schüepp, Christof; Smith, Henrik G; Stanley, Dara A; Stout, Jane C; Szentgyörgyi, Hajnalka; Taki, Hisatomo; Vergara, Carlos H; Viana, Blandina F; Woyciechowski, Michal

    2016-01-01

    Wild and managed bees are well documented as effective pollinators of global crops of economic importance. However, the contributions by pollinators other than bees have been little explored despite their potential to contribute to crop production and stability in the face of environmental change. Non-bee pollinators include flies, beetles, moths, butterflies, wasps, ants, birds, and bats, among others. Here we focus on non-bee insects and synthesize 39 field studies from five continents that directly measured the crop pollination services provided by non-bees, honey bees, and other bees to compare the relative contributions of these taxa. Non-bees performed 25-50% of the total number of flower visits. Although non-bees were less effective pollinators than bees per flower visit, they made more visits; thus these two factors compensated for each other, resulting in pollination services rendered by non-bees that were similar to those provided by bees. In the subset of studies that measured fruit set, fruit set increased with non-bee insect visits independently of bee visitation rates, indicating that non-bee insects provide a unique benefit that is not provided by bees. We also show that non-bee insects are not as reliant as bees on the presence of remnant natural or seminatural habitat in the surrounding landscape. These results strongly suggest that non-bee insect pollinators play a significant role in global crop production and respond differently than bees to landscape structure, probably making their crop pollination services more robust to changes in land use. Non-bee insects provide a valuable service and provide potential insurance against bee population declines. PMID:26621730

  7. Interactive effects among ecosystem services and management practices on crop production: Pollination in coffee agroforestry systems

    PubMed Central

    Boreux, Virginie; Kushalappa, Cheppudira G.; Vaast, Philippe; Ghazoul, Jaboury

    2013-01-01

    Crop productivity is improved by ecosystem services, including pollination, but this should be set in the context of trade-offs among multiple management practices. We investigated the impact of pollination services on coffee production, considering variation in fertilization, irrigation, shade cover, and environmental variables such as rainfall (which stimulates coffee flowering across all plantations), soil pH, and nitrogen availability. After accounting for management interventions, bee abundance improved coffee production (number of berries harvested). Some management interventions, such as irrigation, used once to trigger asynchronous flowering, dramatically increased bee abundance at coffee trees. Others, such as the extent and type of tree cover, revealed interacting effects on pollination and, ultimately, crop production. The effects of management interventions, notably irrigation and addition of lime, had, however, far more substantial positive effects on coffee production than tree cover. These results suggest that pollination services matter, but managing the asynchrony of flowering was a more effective tool for securing good pollination than maintaining high shade tree densities as pollinator habitat. Complex interactions across farm and landscape scales, including both management practices and environmental conditions, shape pollination outcomes. Effective production systems therefore require the integrated consideration of management practices in the context of the surrounding habitat structure. This paper points toward a more strategic use of ecosystem services in agricultural systems, where ecosystem services are shaped by the coupling of management interventions and environmental variables. PMID:23671073

  8. Interactive effects among ecosystem services and management practices on crop production: pollination in coffee agroforestry systems.

    PubMed

    Boreux, Virginie; Kushalappa, Cheppudira G; Vaast, Philippe; Ghazoul, Jaboury

    2013-05-21

    Crop productivity is improved by ecosystem services, including pollination, but this should be set in the context of trade-offs among multiple management practices. We investigated the impact of pollination services on coffee production, considering variation in fertilization, irrigation, shade cover, and environmental variables such as rainfall (which stimulates coffee flowering across all plantations), soil pH, and nitrogen availability. After accounting for management interventions, bee abundance improved coffee production (number of berries harvested). Some management interventions, such as irrigation, used once to trigger asynchronous flowering, dramatically increased bee abundance at coffee trees. Others, such as the extent and type of tree cover, revealed interacting effects on pollination and, ultimately, crop production. The effects of management interventions, notably irrigation and addition of lime, had, however, far more substantial positive effects on coffee production than tree cover. These results suggest that pollination services matter, but managing the asynchrony of flowering was a more effective tool for securing good pollination than maintaining high shade tree densities as pollinator habitat. Complex interactions across farm and landscape scales, including both management practices and environmental conditions, shape pollination outcomes. Effective production systems therefore require the integrated consideration of management practices in the context of the surrounding habitat structure. This paper points toward a more strategic use of ecosystem services in agricultural systems, where ecosystem services are shaped by the coupling of management interventions and environmental variables. PMID:23671073

  9. Species Distribution Models for Crop Pollination: A Modelling Framework Applied to Great Britain

    PubMed Central

    Polce, Chiara; Termansen, Mette; Aguirre-Gutiérrez, Jesus; Boatman, Nigel D.; Budge, Giles E.; Crowe, Andrew; Garratt, Michael P.; Pietravalle, Stéphane; Potts, Simon G.; Ramirez, Jorge A.; Somerwill, Kate E.; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C.

    2013-01-01

    Insect pollination benefits over three quarters of the world's major crops. There is growing concern that observed declines in pollinators may impact on production and revenues from animal pollinated crops. Knowing the distribution of pollinators is therefore crucial for estimating their availability to pollinate crops; however, in general, we have an incomplete knowledge of where these pollinators occur. We propose a method to predict geographical patterns of pollination service to crops, novel in two elements: the use of pollinator records rather than expert knowledge to predict pollinator occurrence, and the inclusion of the managed pollinator supply. We integrated a maximum entropy species distribution model (SDM) with an existing pollination service model (PSM) to derive the availability of pollinators for crop pollination. We used nation-wide records of wild and managed pollinators (honey bees) as well as agricultural data from Great Britain. We first calibrated the SDM on a representative sample of bee and hoverfly crop pollinator species, evaluating the effects of different settings on model performance and on its capacity to identify the most important predictors. The importance of the different predictors was better resolved by SDM derived from simpler functions, with consistent results for bees and hoverflies. We then used the species distributions from the calibrated model to predict pollination service of wild and managed pollinators, using field beans as a test case. The PSM allowed us to spatially characterize the contribution of wild and managed pollinators and also identify areas potentially vulnerable to low pollination service provision, which can help direct local scale interventions. This approach can be extended to investigate geographical mismatches between crop pollination demand and the availability of pollinators, resulting from environmental change or policy scenarios. PMID:24155899

  10. Pollen resources for pollinators in specialty oilseed crops

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Simplified agroecosystems have depleted habitats for beneficial insects throughout the Midwest and Northern Great Plains of the USA. Beneficial insects include pollinators and natural enemies of crop pests, and both rely heavily on floral resources and habitat diversity to maintain healthy populatio...

  11. Profiling crop pollinators: life history traits predict habitat use and crop visitation by Mediterranean wild bees.

    PubMed

    Pisanty, Gideon; Mandelik, Yael

    2015-04-01

    Wild pollinators, bees in particular, may greatly contribute to crop pollination and provide a safety net against declines in commercial pollinators. However, the identity, life history traits, and environmental sensitivities of main crop pollinator species.have received limited attention. These are crucial for predicting pollination services of different communities and for developing management practices that enhance crop pollinators. We sampled wild bees in three crop systems (almond, confection sunflower, and seed watermelon) in a mosaic Israeli Mediterranean landscape. Bees were sampled in field/orchard edges and interiors, and in seminatural scrub surrounding the fields/orchards. We also analyzed land cover at 50-2500 m radii around fields/orchards. We used this data to distinguish crop from non-crop pollinators based on a set of life history traits (nesting, lecty, sociality, body size) linked to habitat preference and crop visitation. Bee abundance and species richness decreased from the surrounding seminatural habitat to the field/orchard interior, especially across the seminatural habitat-field edge ecotone. Thus, although rich bee communities were found near fields, only small fractions crossed the ecotone and visited crop flowers in substantial numbers. The bee assemblage in agricultural fields/orchards and on crop flowers was dominated by ground-nesting bees of the tribe Halictini, which tend to nest within fields. Bees' habitat preferences were determined mainly by nesting guild, whereas crop visitation was determined mainly by sociality. Lecty and body size also affected both measures. The percentage of surrounding seminatural habitat at 250-2500 m radii had a positive effect on wild bee diversity in field edges, for all bee guilds, while at 50-100 m radii, only aboveground nesters were positively affected. In sum, we found that crop and non-crop pollinators are distinguished by behavioral and morphological traits. Hence, analysis of life

  12. Crop pollination exposes honey bees to pesticides which alters their susceptibility to the gut pathogen Nosema ceranae

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Recent declines in honey bee populations and increasing demand for insect-pollinated crops raise concerns about pollinator shortages. Pesticide exposure and pathogens may interact to have strong negative effects on managed honey bee colonies. Such findings are of great concern given the large number...

  13. Supporting crop pollinators with floral resources: network-based phenological matching

    PubMed Central

    Russo, Laura; DeBarros, Nelson; Yang, Suann; Shea, Katriona; Mortensen, David

    2013-01-01

    The production of diverse and affordable agricultural crop species depends on pollination services provided by bees. Indeed, the proportion of pollinator-dependent crops is increasing globally. Agriculture relies heavily on the domesticated honeybee; the services provided by this single species are under threat and becoming increasingly costly. Importantly, the free pollination services provided by diverse wild bee communities have been shown to be sufficient for high agricultural yields in some systems. However, stable, functional wild bee communities require floral resources, such as pollen and nectar, throughout their active season, not just when crop species are in flower. To target floral provisioning efforts to conserve and support native and managed bee species, we apply network theoretical methods incorporating plant and pollinator phenologies. Using a two-year dataset comprising interactions between bees (superfamily Apoidea, Anthophila) and 25 native perennial plant species in floral provisioning habitat, we identify plant and bee species that provide a key and central role to the stability of the structure of this community. We also examine three specific case studies: how provisioning habitat can provide temporally continuous support for honeybees (Apis mellifera) and bumblebees (Bombus impatiens), and how resource supplementation strategies might be designed for a single genus of important orchard pollinators (Osmia). This framework could be used to provide native bee communities with additional, well-targeted floral resources to ensure that they not only survive, but also thrive. PMID:24101999

  14. Insect pollination and self-incompatibility in edible and/or medicinal crops in southwestern China, a global hotspot of biodiversity.

    PubMed

    Ren, Zong-Xin; Wang, Hong; Bernhardt, Peter; Li, De-Zhu

    2014-10-01

    An increasing global demand for food, coupled with the widespread decline of pollinator diversity, remains an international concern in agriculture and genetic conservation. In particular, there are large gaps in the study of the pollination of economically important and traditionally grown species in China. Many plant species grown in China are both edible and used medicinally. The country retains extensive written records of agricultural and apicultural practices, facilitating contemporary studies of some important taxa. Here, we focus on Yunnan in southwestern China, a mega-biodiversity hotspot for medicinal/food plants. We used plant and insect taxa as model systems to understand the patterns and consequences of pollinator deficit to crops. We identified several gaps and limitations in research on the pollination ecology and breeding systems of domesticated taxa and their wild relatives in Yunnan and asked the following questions: (1) What is known about pollination systems of edible and medicinal plants in Yunnan? (2) What are the most important pollinators of Codonopsis subglobosa (Campanulaceae)? (3) How important are native pollinator species for maximizing yield in Chinese crops compared with the introduced Apis mellifera? We found that some crops that require cross-pollination now depend exclusively on hand pollination. Three domesticated crops are dependent primarily on the native but semidomesticated Apis cerana and the introduced A. mellifera. Other species of wild pollinators often play important roles for certain specialty crops (e.g., Vespa velutina pollinates Codonopsis subglobosa). We propose a more systematic and comprehensive approach to applied research in the future. PMID:25326615

  15. Contribution of Pollinator-Mediated Crops to Nutrients in the Human Food Supply

    PubMed Central

    Eilers, Elisabeth J.; Kremen, Claire; Smith Greenleaf, Sarah; Garber, Andrea K.; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2011-01-01

    The contribution of nutrients from animal pollinated world crops has not previously been evaluated as a biophysical measure for the value of pollination services. This study evaluates the nutritional composition of animal-pollinated world crops. We calculated pollinator dependent and independent proportions of different nutrients of world crops, employing FAO data for crop production, USDA data for nutritional composition, and pollinator dependency data according to Klein et al. (2007). Crop plants that depend fully or partially on animal pollinators contain more than 90% of vitamin C, the whole quantity of Lycopene and almost the full quantity of the antioxidants β-cryptoxanthin and β-tocopherol, the majority of the lipid, vitamin A and related carotenoids, calcium and fluoride, and a large portion of folic acid. Ongoing pollinator decline may thus exacerbate current difficulties of providing a nutritionally adequate diet for the global human population. PMID:21731717

  16. Mutually beneficial pollinator diversity and crop yield outcomes in small and large farms.

    PubMed

    Garibaldi, Lucas A; Carvalheiro, Luísa G; Vaissière, Bernard E; Gemmill-Herren, Barbara; Hipólito, Juliana; Freitas, Breno M; Ngo, Hien T; Azzu, Nadine; Sáez, Agustín; Åström, Jens; An, Jiandong; Blochtein, Betina; Buchori, Damayanti; Chamorro García, Fermín J; Oliveira da Silva, Fabiana; Devkota, Kedar; Ribeiro, Márcia de Fátima; Freitas, Leandro; Gaglianone, Maria C; Goss, Maria; Irshad, Mohammad; Kasina, Muo; Pacheco Filho, Alípio J S; Kiill, Lucia H Piedade; Kwapong, Peter; Parra, Guiomar Nates; Pires, Carmen; Pires, Viviane; Rawal, Ranbeer S; Rizali, Akhmad; Saraiva, Antonio M; Veldtman, Ruan; Viana, Blandina F; Witter, Sidia; Zhang, Hong

    2016-01-22

    Ecological intensification, or the improvement of crop yield through enhancement of biodiversity, may be a sustainable pathway toward greater food supplies. Such sustainable increases may be especially important for the 2 billion people reliant on small farms, many of which are undernourished, yet we know little about the efficacy of this approach. Using a coordinated protocol across regions and crops, we quantify to what degree enhancing pollinator density and richness can improve yields on 344 fields from 33 pollinator-dependent crop systems in small and large farms from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. For fields less than 2 hectares, we found that yield gaps could be closed by a median of 24% through higher flower-visitor density. For larger fields, such benefits only occurred at high flower-visitor richness. Worldwide, our study demonstrates that ecological intensification can create synchronous biodiversity and yield outcomes. PMID:26798016

  17. Caveats to quantifying ecosystem services: fruit abortion blurs benefits from crop pollination.

    PubMed

    Bos, Merijn M; Veddeler, Dorthe; Bogdanski, Anne K; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Tscharntke, Teja; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Tylianakis, Jason M

    2007-09-01

    The recent trend to place monetary values on ecosystem services has led to studies on the economic importance of pollinators for agricultural crops. Several recent studies indicate regional, long-term pollinator declines, and economic consequences have been derived from declining pollination efficiencies. However, use of pollinator services as economic incentives for conservation must consider environmental factors such as drought, pests, and diseases, which can also limit yields. Moreover, "flower excess" is a well-known reproductive strategy of plants as insurance against unpredictable, external factors that limit reproduction. With three case studies on the importance of pollination levels for amounts of harvested fruits of three tropical crops (passion fruit in Brazil, coffee in Ecuador, and cacao in Indonesia) we illustrate how reproductive strategies and environmental stress can obscure initial benefits from improved pollination. By interpreting these results with findings from evolutionary sciences, agronomy, and studies on wild-plant populations, we argue that studies on economic benefits from pollinators should include the total of ecosystem processes that (1) lead to successful pollination and (2) mobilize nutrients and improve plant quality to the extent that crop yields indeed benefit from enhanced pollinator services. Conservation incentives that use quantifications of nature's services to human welfare will benefit from approaches at the ecosystem level that take into account the broad spectrum of biological processes that limit or deliver the service. PMID:17913145

  18. Comparison of perimeter trap crop varieties: effects on herbivory, pollination, and yield in butternut squash.

    PubMed

    Adler, L S; Hazzard, R V

    2009-02-01

    Perimeter trap cropping (PTC) is a method of integrated pest management (IPM) in which the main crop is surrounded with a perimeter trap crop that is more attractive to pests. Blue Hubbard (Cucurbita maxima Duch.) is a highly effective trap crop for butternut squash (C. moschata Duch. ex Poir) attacked by striped cucumber beetles (Acalymma vittatum Fabricius), but its limited marketability may reduce adoption of PTC by growers. Research comparing border crop varieties is necessary to provide options for growers. Furthermore, pollinators are critical for cucurbit yield, and the effect of PTC on pollination to main crops is unknown. We examined the effect of five border treatments on herbivory, pollination, and yield in butternut squash and manipulated herbivory and pollination to compare their importance for main crop yield. Blue Hubbard, buttercup squash (C. maxima Duch.), and zucchini (C. pepo L.) were equally attractive to cucumber beetles. Border treatments did not affect butternut leaf damage, but butternut flowers had the fewest beetles when surrounded by Blue Hubbard or buttercup squash. Yield was highest in the Blue Hubbard and buttercup treatments, but this effect was not statistically significant. Native bees accounted for 87% of pollinator visits, and pollination did not limit yield. There was no evidence that border crops competed with the main crop for pollinators. Our results suggest that both buttercup squash and zucchini may be viable alternatives to Blue Hubbard as borders for the main crop of butternut squash. Thus, growers may have multiple border options that reduce pesticide use, effectively manage pests, and do not disturb mutualist interactions with pollinators. PMID:19791616

  19. Complementary ecosystem services provided by pest predators and pollinators increase quantity and quality of coffee yields.

    PubMed

    Classen, Alice; Peters, Marcell K; Ferger, Stefan W; Helbig-Bonitz, Maria; Schmack, Julia M; Maassen, Genevieve; Schleuning, Matthias; Kalko, Elisabeth K V; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2014-03-22

    Wild animals substantially support crop production by providing ecosystem services, such as pollination and natural pest control. However, the strengths of synergies between ecosystem services and their dependencies on land-use management are largely unknown. Here, we took an experimental approach to test the impact of land-use intensification on both individual and combined pollination and pest control services in coffee production systems at Mount Kilimanjaro. We established a full-factorial pollinator and vertebrate exclosure experiment along a land-use gradient from traditional homegardens (agroforestry systems), shaded coffee plantations to sun coffee plantations (total sample size = 180 coffee bushes). The exclusion of vertebrates led to a reduction in fruit set of ca 9%. Pollinators did not affect fruit set, but significantly increased fruit weight of coffee by an average of 7.4%. We found no significant decline of these ecosystem services along the land-use gradient. Pest control and pollination service were thus complementary, contributing to coffee production by affecting the quantity and quality of a major tropical cash crop across different coffee production systems at Mount Kilimanjaro. PMID:24500173

  20. Complementary ecosystem services provided by pest predators and pollinators increase quantity and quality of coffee yields

    PubMed Central

    Classen, Alice; Peters, Marcell K.; Ferger, Stefan W.; Helbig-Bonitz, Maria; Schmack, Julia M.; Maassen, Genevieve; Schleuning, Matthias; Kalko, Elisabeth K. V.; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf

    2014-01-01

    Wild animals substantially support crop production by providing ecosystem services, such as pollination and natural pest control. However, the strengths of synergies between ecosystem services and their dependencies on land-use management are largely unknown. Here, we took an experimental approach to test the impact of land-use intensification on both individual and combined pollination and pest control services in coffee production systems at Mount Kilimanjaro. We established a full-factorial pollinator and vertebrate exclosure experiment along a land-use gradient from traditional homegardens (agroforestry systems), shaded coffee plantations to sun coffee plantations (total sample size = 180 coffee bushes). The exclusion of vertebrates led to a reduction in fruit set of ca 9%. Pollinators did not affect fruit set, but significantly increased fruit weight of coffee by an average of 7.4%. We found no significant decline of these ecosystem services along the land-use gradient. Pest control and pollination service were thus complementary, contributing to coffee production by affecting the quantity and quality of a major tropical cash crop across different coffee production systems at Mount Kilimanjaro. PMID:24500173

  1. Resource Effects on Solitary Bee Reproduction in a Managed Crop Pollination System.

    PubMed

    Pitts-Singer, Theresa L

    2015-08-01

    Population density may affect solitary bee maternal resource allocation. The number of Megachile rotundata (F.), alfalfa leafcutting bee, females released for seed production of Medicago sativa L., alfalfa, may limit flower availability for nest provisioning. In turn, pollinator abundance also may affect crop yield. The M. sativa pollination system presents an opportunity to test for effects of density dependence and maternal manipulation on M. rotundata reproduction. A multiyear study was performed on M. sativa fields upon which M. rotundata densities were altered to induce low, medium, and high density situations. Numbers of adult bees and open flowers were recorded weekly; bee reproduction variables were collected once. Fields varied in plant performance for each site and year, and the intended bee densities were not realized. Therefore, the variable density index (DI) was derived to describe the number of female bees per area of flowers over the study period. As DI increased, percentages of pollinated flowers, established females, and healthy brood significantly increased, and the number of pollinated flowers per female and of dead or diseased brood significantly decreased. Sex ratio was significantly more female biased as DI increased. Overwintered offspring weights were similar regardless of DI, but significantly differed by year for both sexes, and for males also by field and year × field interaction. Overall, resource limitation was not found in this field study. Other density-dependent factors may have induced a bee dispersal response soon after bees were released in the fields that circumvented the need for, or impact of, maternal manipulation. PMID:26314057

  2. Evaluation of native bees as pollinators of cucurbit crops under floating row covers.

    PubMed

    Minter, Logan M; Bessin, Ricardo T

    2014-10-01

    Production of cucurbit crops presents growers with numerous challenges. Several severe pests and diseases can be managed through the use of rotation, trap cropping, mechanical barriers, such as row covers, and chemical applications. However, considerations must also be made for pollinating insects, as adequate pollination affects the quantity and quality of fruit. Insecticides may negatively affect pollinators; a concern enhanced in recent years due to losses in managed Apis melifera L. colonies. Row covers can be used in place of chemical control before pollination, but when removed, pests have access to fields along with the pollinators. If pollination services of native bees could be harnessed for use under continuous row covers, both concerns could be balanced for growers. The potential of two bee species which specialize on cucurbit flowers, Peponapis pruinosa Say and Xenoglossa strenua Cresson, were assessed under continuous row covers, employed over acorn squash. Experimental treatments included plots with either naturally or artificially introduced bees under row covers and control plots with row covers either permanently removed at crop flowering, or employed continuously with no added pollinating insects. Pests in plots with permanently removed row covers were managed using standard practices used in certified organic production. Marketable yields from plots inoculated with bees were indistinguishable from those produced under standard practices, indicating this system would provide adequate yields to growers without time and monetary inputs of insecticide applications. Additionally, application of this technique was investigated for muskmelon production and discussed along with considerations for farm management. PMID:25199100

  3. Pollinator shifts drive increasingly long nectar spurs in columbine flowers.

    PubMed

    Whittall, Justen B; Hodges, Scott A

    2007-06-01

    Directional evolutionary trends have long garnered interest because they suggest that evolution can be predictable. However, the identification of the trends themselves and the underlying processes that may produce them have often been controversial. In 1862, in explaining the exceptionally long nectar spur of Angraecum sesquipedale, Darwin proposed that a coevolutionary 'race' had driven the directional increase in length of a plant's spur and its pollinator's tongue. Thus he predicted the existence of an exceptionally long-tongued moth. Though the discovery of Xanthopan morgani ssp. praedicta in 1903 with a tongue length of 22 cm validated Darwin's prediction, his 'race' model for the evolution of long-spurred flowers remains contentious. Spurs may also evolve to exceptional lengths by way of pollinator shifts as plants adapt to a series of unrelated pollinators, each with a greater tongue length. Here, using a species-level phylogeny of the columbine genus, Aquilegia, we show a significant evolutionary trend for increasing spur length during directional shifts to pollinators with longer tongues. In addition, we find evidence for 'punctuated' change in spur length during speciation events, suggesting that Aquilegia nectar spurs rapidly evolve to fit adaptive peaks predefined by pollinator morphology. These findings show that evolution may proceed in predictable pathways without reversals and that change may be concentrated during speciation. PMID:17554306

  4. Potential pollinators of tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum (Solanaceae), in open crops and the effect of a solitary bee in fruit set and quality.

    PubMed

    Santos, A O R; Bartelli, B F; Nogueira-Ferreira, F H

    2014-06-01

    We identified native bees that are floral visitors and potential pollinators of tomato in Cerrado areas, described the foraging behavior of these species, and verified the influence of the visitation of a solitary bee on the quantity and quality of fruits. Three areas of tomato crops, located in Minas Gerais, Brazil, were sampled between March and November 2012. We collected 185 bees belonging to 13 species. Exomalopsis (Exomalopsis) analis Spinola, 1853 (Hymenoptera: Apidae) was the most abundant. Ten species performed buzz pollination. Apis mellifera L. 1758 (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and Paratrigona lineata (Lepeletier, 1836) (Hymenoptera: Apidae) could also act as pollinators. The fruit set and number of seeds obtained from the pollination treatment by E. analis were higher than those in the control group. Our results allowed the identification of potential tomato pollinators in Cerrado areas and also contributed information regarding the impact of a single species (E. analis) on fruit set and quality. Although most of the visiting bees show the ability for tomato pollination, there is an absence of adequate management techniques, and its usage is difficult with the aim of increasing the crop production, which is the case for E. analis. Species such as Melipona quinquefasciata, P. lineata, and A. mellifera, which are easy to handle, are not used for pollination services. Finally, it is suggested that a combination of different bee species that are able to pollinate the tomato is necessary to prevent the super-exploitation of only a single species for pollination services and to guarantee the occurrence of potential pollinators in the crop area. PMID:25026657

  5. Using cash cover crops to provide pollinator provisions

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    To date, the use of winter cover crops in MN and SD has been slow to be adopted. The short growing season and potential for late wet springs make cover crops risky to farmers with little economic return. The use of cash cover crops in this area offers the standard advantages of other cover crops, wi...

  6. Impact of bioenergy crops on pests, natural enemies and pollinators in agricultural and non-crop landscapes

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Sustainability of the nation's bioenergy feedstock production relies on selection and placement of energy crops that efficiently generate biomass or oilseed without compromising existing agricultural or natural systems. Pest and beneficial arthropods (e.g., pollinators, predators) will occur in thes...

  7. Does the invasive Lupinus polyphyllus increase pollinator visitation to a native herb through effects on pollinator population sizes?

    PubMed

    Jakobsson, Anna; Padrón, Benigno

    2014-01-01

    Invasive plants may compete with native species for abiotic factors as light, space and nutrients, and have also been shown to affect native pollination interactions. Studies have mainly focused on how invasive plants affect pollinator behaviour, i.e. attraction of pollinators to or away from native flowers. However, when an invasive plant provides resources utilized by native pollinators this could increase pollinator population sizes and thereby pollination success in natives. Effects mediated through changes in pollinator population sizes have been largely ignored in previous studies, and the dominance of negative interactions suggested by meta-analyses may therefore be biased. We investigated the impact of the invasive Lupinus polyphyllus on pollination in the native Lotus corniculatus using a study design comparing invaded and uninvaded sites before and after the flowering period of the invasive. We monitored wild bee abundance in transects, and visit rate and seed production of potted Lotus plants. Bumblebee abundance increased 3.9 times in invaded sites during the study period, whereas it was unaltered in uninvaded sites. Total visit rate per Lotus plant increased 2.1 times in invaded sites and decreased 4.4 times in uninvaded sites. No corresponding change in seed production of Lotus was found. The increase in visit rate to Lotus was driven by an increase in solitary bee visitation, whereas mainly bumblebees were observed to visit the invasive Lupinus. The mechanism by which the invasive increases pollinator visit rates to Lotus could be increased availability of other flower resources for solitary bees when bumblebees forage on Lupinus. PMID:24061551

  8. Crop pollination exposes honey bees to pesticides which alters their susceptibility to the gut pathogen Nosema ceranae.

    PubMed

    Pettis, Jeffery S; Lichtenberg, Elinor M; Andree, Michael; Stitzinger, Jennie; Rose, Robyn; Vanengelsdorp, Dennis

    2013-01-01

    Recent declines in honey bee populations and increasing demand for insect-pollinated crops raise concerns about pollinator shortages. Pesticide exposure and pathogens may interact to have strong negative effects on managed honey bee colonies. Such findings are of great concern given the large numbers and high levels of pesticides found in honey bee colonies. Thus it is crucial to determine how field-relevant combinations and loads of pesticides affect bee health. We collected pollen from bee hives in seven major crops to determine 1) what types of pesticides bees are exposed to when rented for pollination of various crops and 2) how field-relevant pesticide blends affect bees' susceptibility to the gut parasite Nosema ceranae. Our samples represent pollen collected by foragers for use by the colony, and do not necessarily indicate foragers' roles as pollinators. In blueberry, cranberry, cucumber, pumpkin and watermelon bees collected pollen almost exclusively from weeds and wildflowers during our sampling. Thus more attention must be paid to how honey bees are exposed to pesticides outside of the field in which they are placed. We detected 35 different pesticides in the sampled pollen, and found high fungicide loads. The insecticides esfenvalerate and phosmet were at a concentration higher than their median lethal dose in at least one pollen sample. While fungicides are typically seen as fairly safe for honey bees, we found an increased probability of Nosema infection in bees that consumed pollen with a higher fungicide load. Our results highlight a need for research on sub-lethal effects of fungicides and other chemicals that bees placed in an agricultural setting are exposed to. PMID:23894612

  9. Crop Pollination Exposes Honey Bees to Pesticides Which Alters Their Susceptibility to the Gut Pathogen Nosema ceranae

    PubMed Central

    Pettis, Jeffery S.; Lichtenberg, Elinor M.; Andree, Michael; Stitzinger, Jennie; Rose, Robyn; vanEngelsdorp, Dennis

    2013-01-01

    Recent declines in honey bee populations and increasing demand for insect-pollinated crops raise concerns about pollinator shortages. Pesticide exposure and pathogens may interact to have strong negative effects on managed honey bee colonies. Such findings are of great concern given the large numbers and high levels of pesticides found in honey bee colonies. Thus it is crucial to determine how field-relevant combinations and loads of pesticides affect bee health. We collected pollen from bee hives in seven major crops to determine 1) what types of pesticides bees are exposed to when rented for pollination of various crops and 2) how field-relevant pesticide blends affect bees’ susceptibility to the gut parasite Nosema ceranae. Our samples represent pollen collected by foragers for use by the colony, and do not necessarily indicate foragers’ roles as pollinators. In blueberry, cranberry, cucumber, pumpkin and watermelon bees collected pollen almost exclusively from weeds and wildflowers during our sampling. Thus more attention must be paid to how honey bees are exposed to pesticides outside of the field in which they are placed. We detected 35 different pesticides in the sampled pollen, and found high fungicide loads. The insecticides esfenvalerate and phosmet were at a concentration higher than their median lethal dose in at least one pollen sample. While fungicides are typically seen as fairly safe for honey bees, we found an increased probability of Nosema infection in bees that consumed pollen with a higher fungicide load. Our results highlight a need for research on sub-lethal effects of fungicides and other chemicals that bees placed in an agricultural setting are exposed to. PMID:23894612

  10. Pollination

    PubMed Central

    Kühn, Nathalie; Arce-Johnson, Patricio

    2012-01-01

    Berry formation is the process of ovary conversion into a functional fruit, and is characterized by abrupt changes in the content of several phytohormones, associated with pollination and fertilization. Much effort has been made in order to improve our understanding of berry development, particularly from veraison to post-harvest time. However, the period of berry formation has been poorly investigated, despite its importance. Phytohormones are involved in the control of fruit formation; hence it is important to understand the regulation of their content at this stage. Grapevine is an excellent fleshy-fruit plant model since its fruits have particularities that differentiate them from those of commonly studied organisms. For instance, berries are prepared to cope with stress by producing several antioxidants and they are non-climacteric fruits. Also its genome is fully sequenced, which allows to identify genes involved in developmental processes. In grapevine, no link has been established between pollination and phytohormone biosynthesis, until recently. Here we highlight relevant findings regarding pollination effect on gene expression related to phytohormone biosynthesis, and present results showing how quickly this effect is achieved. PMID:22301957

  11. Developing and establishing bee species as crop pollinators: the example of Osmia spp. (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) and fruit trees.

    PubMed

    Bosch, J; Bosch, J; Kemp, W P

    2002-02-01

    The development of a bee species as a new crop pollinator starts with the identification of a pollination-limited crop production deficit and the selection of one or more candidate pollinator species. The process continues with a series of studies on the developmental biology, pollinating efficacy, nesting behaviour, preference for different nesting substrates, and population dynamics of the candidate pollinator. Parallel studies investigate the biology of parasites, predators and pathogens. The information gained in these studies is combined with information on the reproductive biology of the crop to design a management system. Complete management systems should provide guidelines on rearing and releasing methods, bee densities required for adequate pollination, nesting materials, and control against parasites, predators and pathogens. Management systems should also provide methods to ensure a reliable pollinator supply. Pilot tests on a commercial scale are then conducted to test and eventually refine the management system. The process culminates with the delivery of a viable system to manage and sustain the new pollinator on a commercial scale. The process is illustrated by the development of three mason bees, Osmia cornifrons (Radoszkowski), O. lignaria Say and O. cornuta (Latreille) as orchard pollinators in Japan, the USA and Europe, respectively. PMID:12020357

  12. Insecticide residues in pollen and nectar of a cucurbit crop and their potential exposure to pollinators.

    PubMed

    Dively, Galen P; Kamel, Alaa

    2012-05-01

    Neonicotinoids are systemic insecticides widely used on many pollinated agricultural crops, and increasing evidence indicates that they move to some extent into pollen and nectar. This study measured levels of neonicotinoid residues in pollen and nectar from a pumpkin crop treated with formulated products containing imidacloprid, dinotefuran, and thiamethoxam using different timings and application methods. Environmental conditions have a significant effect on overall residue levels; nectar residues were 73.5-88.8% less than pollen residues, and metabolites accounted for 15.5-27.2% of the total residue amounts. Foliar-applied treatments and chemigated insecticides applied through drip irrigation during flowering resulted in the highest residues of parent insecticide and metabolites, which may reach average levels up to 122 ng/g in pollen and 17.6 ng/g in nectar. The lowest levels of residues were detected in treatment regimens involving applications of insecticides at planting, as either seed dressing, bedding tray drench, or transplant water treatment. PMID:22452667

  13. Pollination Services of Mango Flower Pollinators.

    PubMed

    Huda, A Nurul; Salmah, M R Che; Hassan, A Abu; Hamdan, A; Razak, M N Abdul

    2015-01-01

    Measuring wild pollinator services in agricultural production is very important in the context of sustainable management. In this study, we estimated the contribution of native pollinators to mango fruit set production of two mango cultivars Mangifera indica (L). cv. 'Sala' and 'Chok Anan'. Visitation rates of pollinators on mango flowers and number of pollen grains adhering to their bodies determined pollinator efficiency for reproductive success of the crop. Chok Anan failed to produce any fruit set in the absence of pollinators. In natural condition, we found that Sala produced 4.8% fruit set per hermaphrodite flower while Chok Anan produced 3.1% per flower. Hand pollination tremendously increased fruit set of naturally pollinated flower for Sala (>100%), but only 33% for Chok Anan. Pollinator contribution to mango fruit set was estimated at 53% of total fruit set production. Our results highlighted the importance of insect pollinations in mango production. Large size flies Eristalinus spp. and Chrysomya spp. were found to be effective pollen carriers and visited more mango flowers compared with other flower visitors. PMID:26246439

  14. Pollination Services of Mango Flower Pollinators

    PubMed Central

    Huda, A. Nurul; Salmah, M. R. Che; Hassan, A. Abu; Hamdan, A.; Razak, M. N. Abdul

    2015-01-01

    Measuring wild pollinator services in agricultural production is very important in the context of sustainable management. In this study, we estimated the contribution of native pollinators to mango fruit set production of two mango cultivars Mangifera indica (L). cv. ‘Sala’ and ‘Chok Anan’. Visitation rates of pollinators on mango flowers and number of pollen grains adhering to their bodies determined pollinator efficiency for reproductive success of the crop. Chok Anan failed to produce any fruit set in the absence of pollinators. In natural condition, we found that Sala produced 4.8% fruit set per hermaphrodite flower while Chok Anan produced 3.1% per flower. Hand pollination tremendously increased fruit set of naturally pollinated flower for Sala (>100%), but only 33% for Chok Anan. Pollinator contribution to mango fruit set was estimated at 53% of total fruit set production. Our results highlighted the importance of insect pollinations in mango production. Large size flies Eristalinus spp. and Chrysomya spp. were found to be effective pollen carriers and visited more mango flowers compared with other flower visitors. PMID:26246439

  15. Sugar concentration in nectar: a quantitative metric of crop attractiveness for refined pollinator risk assessments.

    PubMed

    Knopper, Loren D; Dan, Tereza; Reisig, Dominic D; Johnson, Josephine D; Bowers, Lisa M

    2016-10-01

    Those involved with pollinator risk assessment know that agricultural crops vary in attractiveness to bees. Intuitively, this means that exposure to agricultural pesticides is likely greatest for attractive plants and lowest for unattractive plants. While crop attractiveness in the risk assessment process has been qualitatively remarked on by some authorities, absent is direction on how to refine the process with quantitative metrics of attractiveness. At a high level, attractiveness of crops to bees appears to depend on several key variables, including but not limited to: floral, olfactory, visual and tactile cues; seasonal availability; physical and behavioral characteristics of the bee; plant and nectar rewards. Notwithstanding the complexities and interactions among these variables, sugar content in nectar stands out as a suitable quantitative metric by which to refine pollinator risk assessments for attractiveness. Provided herein is a proposed way to use sugar nectar concentration to adjust the exposure parameter (with what is called a crop attractiveness factor) in the calculation of risk quotients in order to derive crop-specific tier I assessments. This Perspective is meant to invite discussion on incorporating such changes in the risk assessment process. © 2016 The Authors. Pest Management Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry. PMID:27197566

  16. Spatial and Temporal Trends of Global Pollination Benefit

    PubMed Central

    Lautenbach, Sven; Seppelt, Ralf; Liebscher, Juliane; Dormann, Carsten F.

    2012-01-01

    Pollination is a well-studied and at the same time a threatened ecosystem service. A significant part of global crop production depends on or profits from pollination by animals. Using detailed information on global crop yields of 60 pollination dependent or profiting crops, we provide a map of global pollination benefits on a 5′ by 5′ latitude-longitude grid. The current spatial pattern of pollination benefits is only partly correlated with climate variables and the distribution of cropland. The resulting map of pollination benefits identifies hot spots of pollination benefits at sufficient detail to guide political decisions on where to protect pollination services by investing in structural diversity of land use. Additionally, we investigated the vulnerability of the national economies with respect to potential decline of pollination services as the portion of the (agricultural) economy depending on pollination benefits. While the general dependency of the agricultural economy on pollination seems to be stable from 1993 until 2009, we see increases in producer prices for pollination dependent crops, which we interpret as an early warning signal for a conflict between pollination service and other land uses at the global scale. Our spatially explicit analysis of global pollination benefit points to hot spots for the generation of pollination benefits and can serve as a base for further planning of land use, protection sites and agricultural policies for maintaining pollination services. PMID:22563427

  17. Mitochondrial DNA variability in populations of Centris aenea (Hymenoptera, Apidae), a crop-pollinating bee in Brazil.

    PubMed

    Ferreira, V S; Aguiar, C M L; Oliveira, E J F; Costa, M A; Santos, G M M; Silva, J G

    2013-01-01

    Centris spp are oil-collecting solitary bees that are valuable pollinators of crops such as Brazil nut, cashew, and acerola. We investigated the genetic variability of populations of C. aenea in the northeastern region of Brazil. Total DNA was extracted from 59 individuals from 6 locations in the States of Pernambuco and Bahia and a 600-650-bp fragment of the mitochondrial COI/COII region amplified by PCR, followed by digestion with the restriction enzymes DraI and SspI. PCR-RFLP analysis revealed eight different haplotypes among the populations. Haplotype A1, revealed by DraI, was the most frequent (50%), and haplotypes A3 and A4 were exclusive to Feira de Santana, Bahia and Morro do Chapéu, Bahia, respectively. Among the haplotypes revealed by SspI, B2 was the most frequent (37%) and B3 was exclusive to Feira de Santana. This information revealing high haplotype diversity will be useful for developing management strategies for Centris, especially because of increasing interest in the rearing and/ or relocation of these bees for crop pollination. PMID:23546967

  18. The diversity and abundance of small arthropods in onion, Allium cepa, seed crops, and their potential role in pollination.

    PubMed

    Walker, M K; Howlett, B G; Wallace, A R; McCallum, J A; Teulon, D A J

    2011-01-01

    Onion, Allium cepa L. (Asparagales: Amaryllidaceae), crop fields grown for seed production require arthropod pollination for adequate seed yield. Although many arthropod species visit A. cepa flowers, for most there is little information on their role as pollinators. Small flower visiting arthropods (body width < 3 mm) in particular are rarely assessed. A survey of eight flowering commercial A. cepa seed fields in the North and South Islands of New Zealand using window traps revealed that small arthropods were highly abundant among all except one field. Insects belonging to the orders Diptera and Thysanoptera were the most abundant and Hymenoptera, Collembola, Psocoptera, Hemiptera, and Coleoptera were also present. To test whether small arthropods might contribute to pollination, seed sets from umbels caged within 3 mm diameter mesh cages were compared with similarly caged, hand-pollinated umbels and uncaged umbels. Caged umbels that were not hand-pollinated set significantly fewer seeds (average eight seeds/umbel, n = 10) than caged hand-pollinated umbels (average 146 seeds/umbel) and uncaged umbels (average 481 seeds/umbel). Moreover, sticky traps placed on umbels within cages captured similar numbers of small arthropods as sticky traps placed on uncaged umbels, suggesting cages did not inhibit the movement of small arthropods to umbels. Therefore, despite the high abundance of small arthropods within fields, evidence to support their role as significant pollinators of commercial A. cepa seed crops was not found. PMID:22208869

  19. The Diversity and Abundance of Small Arthropods in Onion, Allium cepa, Seed Crops, and their Potential Role in Pollination

    PubMed Central

    Walker, M. K.; Howlett, B. G.; Wallace, A. R.; Mccallum, J. A.; Teulon, D. A. J.

    2011-01-01

    Onion, Allium cepa L. (Asparagales: Amaryllidaceae), crop fields grown for seed production require arthropod pollination for adequate seed yield. Although many arthropod species visit A. cepa flowers, for most there is little information on their role as pollinators. Small flower visiting arthropods (body width < 3 mm) in particular are rarely assessed. A survey of eight flowering commercial A. cepa seed fields in the North and South Islands of New Zealand using window traps revealed that small arthropods were highly abundant among all except one field. Insects belonging to the orders Diptera and Thysanoptera were the most abundant and Hymenoptera, Collembola, Psocoptera, Hemiptera, and Coleoptera were also present. To test whether small arthropods might contribute to pollination, seed sets from umbels caged within 3 mm diameter mesh cages were compared with similarly caged, hand-pollinated umbels and uncaged umbels. Caged umbels that were not hand-pollinated set significantly fewer seeds (average eight seeds/umbel, n = 10) than caged hand-pollinated umbels (average 146 seeds/umbel) and uncaged umbels (average 481 seeds/umbel). Moreover, sticky traps placed on umbels within cages captured similar numbers of small arthropods as sticky traps placed on uncaged umbels, suggesting cages did not inhibit the movement of small arthropods to umbels. Therefore, despite the high abundance of small arthropods within fields, evidence to support their role as significant pollinators of commercial A. cepa seed crops was not found. PMID:22208869

  20. Strong pollinator-mediated selection for increased flower brightness and contrast in a deceptive orchid.

    PubMed

    Sletvold, Nina; Trunschke, Judith; Smit, Mart; Verbeek, Jeffrey; Ågren, Jon

    2016-03-01

    Contrasting flower color patterns that putatively attract or direct pollinators toward a reward are common among angiosperms. In the deceptive orchid Anacamptis morio, the lower petal, which makes up most of the floral display, has a light central patch with dark markings. Within populations, there is pronounced variation in petal brightness, patch size, amount of dark markings, and contrast between patch and petal margin. We tested whether pollinators mediate selection on these color traits and on morphology (plant height, number of flowers, corolla size, spur length), and whether selection is consistent with facilitated or negative frequency-dependent pollination. Pollinators mediated strong selection for increased petal brightness (Δβpoll = 0.42) and contrast (Δβpoll = 0.51). Pollinators also tended to mediate stabilizing selection on brightness (Δγpoll = -0.27, n.s.) favoring the most common phenotype in the population. Selection for reduced petal brightness among hand-pollinated plants indicated a fitness cost associated with brightness. The results demonstrate that flower color traits influence pollination success and seed production in A. morio, indicating that they affect attractiveness to pollinators, efficiency of pollen transfer, or both. The documented selection is consistent with facilitated pollination and selection for color convergence toward cooccurring rewarding species. PMID:26878831

  1. The Future of Agricultural Pollination

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This chapter summarizes how agricultural production and bees are inter-dependent. Honey bees are the most commonly used agricultural pollinators in the world, but are threatened by an increasing number of hive pests. In addition, not all crops are well pollinated by honey bees (e.g., tomatoes, alfal...

  2. Evolution of autonomous selfing accompanies increased specialization in the pollination system of Schizanthus (Solanaceae).

    PubMed

    Pérez, Fernanda; Arroyo, Mary T K; Armesto, Juan J

    2009-06-01

    The co-occurrence of elaborate flowers visited by specific groups of pollinators and capacity for autonomous selfing in the same plant species has puzzled evolutionary biologists since the time of Charles Darwin. To examine whether autonomous selfing and floral specialization evolved in association, we quantified the autofertility level (AFI) in nine Schizanthus species characterized by a wide range of pollination specialization, revealing AFI values of 0.02 to complete selfing. An independent contrasts analysis conducted on AFIs and number of functional pollinator groups showed that autonomous selfing evolved from an ancestral outcrossing system as plants became increasingly specialized (r = -0.82). To assess whether autonomous selfing together with specialization acts as a reproductive assurance mechanism, we estimated spatial and interannual variation in fruit set due to pollinator failure in two closely related high Andean Schizanthus species differing in their specialization levels. Variation in pollinator failure rate was more pronounced and autonomous selfing increased fruit production over biotically assisted pollination in the more specialized species. Our study suggests that specialized pollination deems species more vulnerable to pollinator fluctuation thus promoting the evolution of delayed autonomous selfing. PMID:21628267

  3. Density of insect-pollinated grassland plants decreases with increasing surrounding land-use intensity.

    PubMed

    Clough, Yann; Ekroos, Johan; Báldi, András; Batáry, Péter; Bommarco, Riccardo; Gross, Nicolas; Holzschuh, Andrea; Hopfenmüller, Sebastian; Knop, Eva; Kuussaari, Mikko; Lindborg, Regina; Marini, Lorenzo; Öckinger, Erik; Potts, Simon G; Pöyry, Juha; Roberts, Stuart Pm; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Smith, Henrik G

    2014-09-01

    Pollinator declines have raised concerns about the persistence of plant species that depend on insect pollination, in particular by bees, for their reproduction. The impact of pollinator declines remains unknown for species-rich plant communities found in temperate seminatural grasslands. We investigated effects of land-use intensity in the surrounding landscape on the distribution of plant traits related to insect pollination in 239 European seminatural grasslands. Increasing arable land use in the surrounding landscape consistently reduced the density of plants depending on bee and insect pollination. Similarly, the relative abundance of bee-pollination-dependent plants increased with higher proportions of non-arable agricultural land (e.g. permanent grassland). This was paralleled by an overall increase in bee abundance and diversity. By isolating the impact of the surrounding landscape from effects of local habitat quality, we show for the first time that grassland plants dependent on insect pollination are particularly susceptible to increasing land-use intensity in the landscape. PMID:25040328

  4. Functionality of Varroa-Resistant Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) When Used in Migratory Beekeeping for Crop Pollination

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Two types of honey bees, Apis mellifera L., that were bred for resistance to Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman were evaluated for performance when used for beekeeping in an intensive, migratory crop pollination system. Colonies of these stocks (Russian honey bees [RHB] and outcrosses of bees with...

  5. Roadmap to increased cover crop adoption

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Cover crops are increasingly utilized by farmers and promoted by agronomists for the multiple benefits they contribute to soil and crop management systems. Yet, only a small percentage of cropland is planted to cover crops. In June of 2012, the National Wildlife Federation brought together 36 of the...

  6. Ecological and evolutionary conditions for fruit abortion to regulate pollinating seed-eaters and increase plant production

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Holland, J. Nathaniel; DeAngelis, Donald L.

    2002-01-01

    Coevolved mutualisms, such as those between senita cacti, yuccas, and their respective obligate pollinators, benefit both species involved in the interaction. However, in these pollination mutualisms the pollinator's larvae impose a cost on plants through consumption of developing seeds and fruit. The effects of pollinators on benefits and costs are expected to vary with the abundance of pollinators, because large population sizes result in more eggs and larval seed-eaters. Here, we develop the hypothesis that fruit abortion, which is common in yucca, senita, and plants in general, could in some cases have the function of limiting pollinator abundance and, thereby, increasing fruit production. Using a general steady-state model of fruit production and pollinator dynamics, we demonstrate that plants involved in pollinating seed-eater mutualisms can increase their fecundity by randomly aborting fruit. We show that the ecological conditions under which fruit abortion can improve plants fecundity are not unusual. They are best met when the plant is long-lived, the population dynamics of the pollinator are much faster than those of the plant, the loss of one fruit via abortion kills a larva that would have the expectation of destroying more than one fruit through its future egg laying as an adult moth, and the effects of fruit abortion on pollinator abundance are spatially localized. We then use the approach of adaptive dynamics to find conditions under which a fruit abortion strategy based on regulating the pollinator population could feasibly evolve in this type of plant–pollinator interaction.

  7. When bigger is not better: intraspecific competition for pollination increases with population size in invasive milkweeds.

    PubMed

    Ward, Megan; Johnson, Steven D; Zalucki, Myron P

    2013-04-01

    One of the essential requirements for an introduced plant species to become invasive is an ability to reproduce outside the native range, particularly when initial populations are small. If a reproductive Allee effect is operating, plants in small populations will have reduced reproductive success relative to plants in larger populations. Alternatively, if plants in small populations experience less competition for pollination than those in large populations, they may actually have higher levels of reproductive success than plants in large populations. To resolve this uncertainty, we investigated how the per capita fecundity of plants was affected by population size in three invasive milkweed species. Field surveys of seed production in natural populations of different sizes but similar densities were conducted for three pollinator-dependent invasive species, namely Asclepias curassavica, Gomphocarpus fruticosus and G. physocarpus. Additionally, supplemental hand-pollinations were performed in small and large populations in order to determine whether reproductive output was limited by pollinator activity in these populations. Reproductive Allee effects were not detected in any of the study species. Instead, plants in small populations exhibited remarkably high levels of reproductive output compared to those in large populations. Increased fruit production following supplemental hand-pollinations suggested that the lower reproductive output of naturally pollinated plants in large populations is a consequence of pollen limitation rather than limitation due to abiotic resources. This is consistent with increased intraspecific competition for pollination amongst plants in large populations. It is likely that the invasion of these milkweed species in Australia has been enhanced because plants in small founding populations experience less intraspecific competition for pollinators than those in large populations, and thus have the ability to produce copious amounts of

  8. Diversity of wild bees supports pollination services in an urbanized landscape.

    PubMed

    Lowenstein, David M; Matteson, Kevin C; Minor, Emily S

    2015-11-01

    Plantings in residential neighborhoods can support wild pollinators. However, it is unknown how effectively wild pollinators maintain pollination services in small, urban gardens with diverse floral resources. We used a 'mobile garden' experimental design, whereby potted plants of cucumber, eggplant, and purple coneflower were brought to 30 residential yards in Chicago, IL, USA, to enable direct assessment of pollination services provided by wild pollinator communities. We measured fruit and seed set and investigated the effect of within-yard characteristics and adjacent floral resources on plant pollination. Increased pollinator visitation and taxonomic richness generally led to increases in fruit and seed set for all focal plants. Furthermore, fruit and seed set were correlated across the three species, suggesting that pollination services vary across the landscape in ways that are consistent among different plant species. Plant species varied in terms of which pollinator groups provided the most visits and benefit for pollination. Cucumber pollination was linked to visitation by small sweat bees (Lasioglossum spp.), whereas eggplant pollination was linked to visits by bumble bees. Purple coneflower was visited by the most diverse group of pollinators and, perhaps due to this phenomenon, was more effectively pollinated in florally-rich gardens. Our results demonstrate how a diversity of wild bees supports pollination of multiple plant species, highlighting the importance of pollinator conservation within cities. Non-crop resources should continue to be planted in urban gardens, as these resources have a neutral and potentially positive effect on crop pollination. PMID:26187241

  9. Do Pollinators Contribute to Nutritional Health?

    PubMed Central

    Ellis, Alicia M.; Myers, Samuel S.; Ricketts, Taylor H.

    2015-01-01

    Despite suggestions that animal pollinators are crucial for human nutritional health, no studies have actually tested this claim. Here, we combined data on crop pollination requirements, food nutrient densities, and actual human diets to predict the effects of pollinator losses on the risk of nutrient deficiency. In four developing countries and across five nutrients, we found that 0 to 56% of populations would become newly at risk if pollinators were removed. Increases in risk were most pronounced for vitamin A in populations with moderate levels of total nutrient intake. Overall, the effects of pollinator decline varied widely among populations and nutrients. We conclude that the importance of pollinators to human nutrition depends critically on the composition of local diets, and cannot be reliably predicted from global commodity analyses. We identify conditions under which severe health effects of pollinator loss are most likely to occur. PMID:25575027

  10. Pollination Increases Gibberellin Levels in Developing Ovaries of Seeded Varieties of Citrus.

    PubMed Central

    Ben-Cheikh, W.; Perez-Botella, J.; Tadeo, F. R.; Talon, M.; Primo-Millo, E.

    1997-01-01

    Reproductive and vegetative tissues of the seeded Pineapple cultivars of sweet orange (Citrus sinensis L.) contained the following C-13 hydroxylated gibberellins (GAs): GA53, GA17, GA19, GA20, GA1, GA29, and GA8, as well as GA97, 3-epi-GA1, and several uncharacterized GAs. The inclusion of 3-epi-GA1 as an endogenous substance was based on measurements of the isomerization rates of previously added [2H2]GA1. Pollination enhanced amounts of GA19, GA20, GA29, and GA8 in developing ovaries. Levels of GA1 increased from 5.0 to 9.5 ng/g dry weight during anthesis and were reduced thereafter. The amount of GA in mature pollen was very low. Emasculation reduced GA levels and caused a rapid 100% ovary abscission. This effect was partially counteracted by either pollination or application of GA3. In pollinated ovaries, repeated paclobutrazol applications decreased the amount of GA and increased ovary abscission, although the pattern of continuous decline was different from the sudden abscission induced by emasculation. The above results indicate that, in citrus, pollination increases GA levels and reduces ovary abscission and that the presence of exogenous GA3 in unpollinated ovaries also suppresses abscission. Evidence is also presented that pollination and GAs do not, as is generally assumed, suppress ovary abscission through the reactivation of cell division. PMID:12223728

  11. Fruit set of highland coffee increases with the diversity of pollinating bees.

    PubMed Central

    Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Tscharntke, Teja

    2003-01-01

    The worldwide decline of pollinators may negatively affect the fruit set of wild and cultivated plants. Here, we show that fruit set of the self-fertilizing highland coffee (Coffea arabica) is highly variable and related to bee pollination. In a comparison of 24 agroforestry systems in Indonesia, the fruit set of coffee could be predicted by the number of flower-visiting bee species, and it ranged from ca. 60% (three species) to 90% (20 species). Diversity, not abundance, explained variation in fruit set, so the collective role of a species-rich bee community was important for pollination success. Additional experiments showed that single flower visits from rare solitary species led to higher fruit set than with abundant social species. Pollinator diversity was affected by two habitat parameters indicating guild-specific nesting requirements: the diversity of social bees decreased with forest distance, whereas the diversity of solitary bees increased with light intensity of the agroforestry systems. These results give empirical evidence for a positive relationship between ecosystem functions such as pollination and biodiversity. Conservation of rainforest adjacent to adequately managed agroforestry systems could improve the yields of farmers. PMID:12803911

  12. Using the Animal Model to Accelerate Response to Selection in a Self-Pollinating Crop

    PubMed Central

    Cowling, Wallace A.; Stefanova, Katia T.; Beeck, Cameron P.; Nelson, Matthew N.; Hargreaves, Bonnie L. W.; Sass, Olaf; Gilmour, Arthur R.; Siddique, Kadambot H. M.

    2015-01-01

    We used the animal model in S0 (F1) recurrent selection in a self-pollinating crop including, for the first time, phenotypic and relationship records from self progeny, in addition to cross progeny, in the pedigree. We tested the model in Pisum sativum, the autogamous annual species used by Mendel to demonstrate the particulate nature of inheritance. Resistance to ascochyta blight (Didymella pinodes complex) in segregating S0 cross progeny was assessed by best linear unbiased prediction over two cycles of selection. Genotypic concurrence across cycles was provided by pure-line ancestors. From cycle 1, 102/959 S0 plants were selected, and their S1 self progeny were intercrossed and selfed to produce 430 S0 and 575 S2 individuals that were evaluated in cycle 2. The analysis was improved by including all genetic relationships (with crossing and selfing in the pedigree), additive and nonadditive genetic covariances between cycles, fixed effects (cycles and spatial linear trends), and other random effects. Narrow-sense heritability for ascochyta blight resistance was 0.305 and 0.352 in cycles 1 and 2, respectively, calculated from variance components in the full model. The fitted correlation of predicted breeding values across cycles was 0.82. Average accuracy of predicted breeding values was 0.851 for S2 progeny of S1 parent plants and 0.805 for S0 progeny tested in cycle 2, and 0.878 for S1 parent plants for which no records were available. The forecasted response to selection was 11.2% in the next cycle with 20% S0 selection proportion. This is the first application of the animal model to cyclic selection in heterozygous populations of selfing plants. The method can be used in genomic selection, and for traits measured on S0-derived bulks such as grain yield. PMID:25943522

  13. Using the Animal Model to Accelerate Response to Selection in a Self-Pollinating Crop.

    PubMed

    Cowling, Wallace A; Stefanova, Katia T; Beeck, Cameron P; Nelson, Matthew N; Hargreaves, Bonnie L W; Sass, Olaf; Gilmour, Arthur R; Siddique, Kadambot H M

    2015-07-01

    We used the animal model in S0 (F1) recurrent selection in a self-pollinating crop including, for the first time, phenotypic and relationship records from self progeny, in addition to cross progeny, in the pedigree. We tested the model in Pisum sativum, the autogamous annual species used by Mendel to demonstrate the particulate nature of inheritance. Resistance to ascochyta blight (Didymella pinodes complex) in segregating S0 cross progeny was assessed by best linear unbiased prediction over two cycles of selection. Genotypic concurrence across cycles was provided by pure-line ancestors. From cycle 1, 102/959 S0 plants were selected, and their S1 self progeny were intercrossed and selfed to produce 430 S0 and 575 S2 individuals that were evaluated in cycle 2. The analysis was improved by including all genetic relationships (with crossing and selfing in the pedigree), additive and nonadditive genetic covariances between cycles, fixed effects (cycles and spatial linear trends), and other random effects. Narrow-sense heritability for ascochyta blight resistance was 0.305 and 0.352 in cycles 1 and 2, respectively, calculated from variance components in the full model. The fitted correlation of predicted breeding values across cycles was 0.82. Average accuracy of predicted breeding values was 0.851 for S2 progeny of S1 parent plants and 0.805 for S0 progeny tested in cycle 2, and 0.878 for S1 parent plants for which no records were available. The forecasted response to selection was 11.2% in the next cycle with 20% S0 selection proportion. This is the first application of the animal model to cyclic selection in heterozygous populations of selfing plants. The method can be used in genomic selection, and for traits measured on S0-derived bulks such as grain yield. PMID:25943522

  14. Resource effects on solitary bee reproduction in a managed crop pollination system

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The number of solitary bees (Megachile rotundata) released for pollination in a managed system (Medicago sativa seed production) and the number of flowers available for brood provisioning may affect reproduction through maternal resource allocation and investment. Overwhelming, limited, or adequate...

  15. Farming practices influence wild pollinator populations on squash and pumpkin.

    PubMed

    Shuler, Rachel E; Roulston, Tai H; Farris, Grace E

    2005-06-01

    Recent declines in managed honey bee, Apis mellifera L., colonies have increased interest in the current and potential contribution of wild bee populations to the pollination of agricultural crops. Because wild bees often live in agricultural fields, their population density and contribution to crop pollination may be influenced by farming practices, especially those used to reduce the populations of other insects. We took a census of pollinators of squash and pumpkin at 25 farms in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland to see whether pollinator abundance was related to farming practices. The main pollinators were Peponapis pruinosa Say; honey bees, and bumble bees (Bombus spp.). The squash bee was the most abundant pollinator on squash and pumpkin, occurring at 23 of 25 farms in population densities that were commonly several times higher than that of other pollinators. Squash bee density was related to tillage practices: no-tillage farms hosted three times as great a density of squash bees as tilled farms. Pollinator density was not related to pesticide use. Honey bee density on squash and pumpkin was not related to the presence of managed honey bee colonies on farms. Farms with colonies did not have more honey bees per flower than farms that did not keep honey bees, probably reflecting the lack of affinity of honey bees for these crops. Future research should examine the economic impacts of managing farms in ways that promote pollinators, particularly pollinators of crops that are not well served by managed honey bee colonies. PMID:16022307

  16. Contrasting effects of mass-flowering crops on bee pollination of hedge plants at different spatial and temporal scales.

    PubMed

    Kovács-Hostyánszki, Anikó; Haenke, Sebastian; Batáry, Péter; Jauker, Birgit; Báldi, András; Tscharntke, Teja; Holzschuh, Andrea

    2013-12-01

    Landscape-wide mass-flowering of oilseed rape (canola Brassica napus) can considerably affect wild bee communities and pollination success of wild plants. We aimed to assess the impact of oilseed rape on the pollination of wild plants and bee abundance during and after oilseed-rape bloom, including effects on crop-noncrop spillover at landscape and adjacent-field scales. We focused on two shrub species (hawthorn Crataegus spp., dog rose Rosa canina) and adjacent herb flowering in forest edges, connected hedges, and isolated hedges in Lower Saxony, Germany. We selected 35 landscape circles of 1 km radius, differing in the amount of oilseed rape; 18 were adjacent to oilseed rape and 17 to cereal fields, and we quantified bee density via pan traps at all sites. Adjacent oilseed rape positively affected fruit mass and seed number per fruit of simultaneously flowering hawthorn (no effect on dog rose, which flowers after the oilseed rape bloom). At the landscape scale, oilseed rape had a negative effect on bumble bee density in the hedges during flowering due to dilution of pollinators per unit area and the consequently intensified competition between oilseed rape and wild shrubs, but a positive effect after flowering when bees moved to the hedges, which still provided resources. In contrast, positive landscape-scale effects of oilseed rape were found throughout the season in forest edges, suggesting that edges support nesting activity and enhanced food resources. Our results show that oilseed rape effects on bee abundances and pollination success in seminatural habitats depend on the spatial and temporal scale considered and on the habitat type, the wild plant species, and the time of crop flowering. These scale-dependent positive and negative effects should be considered in evaluations of landscape-scale configuration and composition of crops. Food resources provided by mass-flowering crops should be most beneficial for landscape-wide enhancement of wild bee

  17. Pollination of lark daisy on roadsides declines as traffic speed increases along an Amazonian highway.

    PubMed

    Dargas, J H F; Chaves, S R; Fischer, E

    2016-05-01

    Ecological disturbances caused by roadways have previously been reported, but traffic speed has not been addressed. We investigate effects of traffic speed on pollination of Centratherum punctatum (Asteraceae) along an Amazonian highway roadside. We hypothesised that frequency of flower visitors, duration of single visits and pollen deposition on stigmas will vary negatively as traffic speed increases. After measuring vehicle velocities, we classified three road sections as low-, mid- and high-velocity traffic. The main pollinator bee, Augochlora sp., visited C. punctatum inflorescences with decreasing frequency from low- to high-velocity roadside sections, whereas the nectar thief butterflies did the opposite. Duration of single visits by bees and butterflies was shorter, and arrival of pollen on C. punctatum stigmas was lower, in high- than in low-velocity roadside. Air turbulence due to passing vehicles increases with velocity and disturbed the flower visitors. Overall, results support that traffic velocity negatively affects foraging of flower visitors and the pollination of C. punctatum on roadsides. PMID:26809110

  18. Contrasting Pollinators and Pollination in Native and Non-Native Regions of Highbush Blueberry Production

    PubMed Central

    Gibbs, Jason; Elle, Elizabeth; Bobiwash, Kyle; Haapalainen, Tiia; Isaacs, Rufus

    2016-01-01

    Highbush blueberry yields are dependent on pollination by bees, and introduction of managed honey bees is the primary strategy used for pollination of this crop. Complementary pollination services are also provided by wild bees, yet highbush blueberry is increasingly grown in regions outside its native range where wild bee communities may be less adapted to the crop and growers may still be testing appropriate honey bee stocking densities. To contrast crop pollination in native and non-native production regions, we sampled commercial ‘Bluecrop’ blueberry fields in British Columbia and Michigan with grower-selected honey bee stocking rates (0–39.5 hives per ha) to compare bee visitors to blueberry flowers, pollination and yield deficits, and how those vary with local- and landscape-scale factors. Observed and Chao-1 estimated species richness, as well as Shannon diversity of wild bees visiting blueberries were significantly higher in Michigan where the crop is within its native range. The regional bee communities were also significantly different, with Michigan farms having greater dissimilarity than British Columbia. Blueberry fields in British Columbia had fewer visits by honey bees than those in Michigan, irrespective of stocking rate, and they also had lower berry weights and a significant pollination deficit. In British Columbia, pollination service increased with abundance of wild bumble bees, whereas in Michigan the abundance of honey bees was the primary predictor of pollination. The proportion of semi-natural habitat at local and landscape scales was positively correlated with wild bee abundance in both regions. Wild bee abundance declined significantly with distance from natural borders in Michigan, but not in British Columbia where large-bodied bumble bees dominated the wild bee community. Our results highlight the varying dependence of crop production on different types of bees and reveal that strategies for pollination improvement in the same crop

  19. Contrasting Pollinators and Pollination in Native and Non-Native Regions of Highbush Blueberry Production.

    PubMed

    Gibbs, Jason; Elle, Elizabeth; Bobiwash, Kyle; Haapalainen, Tiia; Isaacs, Rufus

    2016-01-01

    Highbush blueberry yields are dependent on pollination by bees, and introduction of managed honey bees is the primary strategy used for pollination of this crop. Complementary pollination services are also provided by wild bees, yet highbush blueberry is increasingly grown in regions outside its native range where wild bee communities may be less adapted to the crop and growers may still be testing appropriate honey bee stocking densities. To contrast crop pollination in native and non-native production regions, we sampled commercial 'Bluecrop' blueberry fields in British Columbia and Michigan with grower-selected honey bee stocking rates (0-39.5 hives per ha) to compare bee visitors to blueberry flowers, pollination and yield deficits, and how those vary with local- and landscape-scale factors. Observed and Chao-1 estimated species richness, as well as Shannon diversity of wild bees visiting blueberries were significantly higher in Michigan where the crop is within its native range. The regional bee communities were also significantly different, with Michigan farms having greater dissimilarity than British Columbia. Blueberry fields in British Columbia had fewer visits by honey bees than those in Michigan, irrespective of stocking rate, and they also had lower berry weights and a significant pollination deficit. In British Columbia, pollination service increased with abundance of wild bumble bees, whereas in Michigan the abundance of honey bees was the primary predictor of pollination. The proportion of semi-natural habitat at local and landscape scales was positively correlated with wild bee abundance in both regions. Wild bee abundance declined significantly with distance from natural borders in Michigan, but not in British Columbia where large-bodied bumble bees dominated the wild bee community. Our results highlight the varying dependence of crop production on different types of bees and reveal that strategies for pollination improvement in the same crop can

  20. Using cash cover crops to provide pollinator provisions in the Upper Midwest

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    To date, the use of winter cover crops in MN and SD has been slow to be adopted. The short growing season and potential for late, wet springs make cover crops risky to farmers with little economic return. The use of cash cover crops in this area offers the standard advantages of other cover crops, w...

  1. Pesticide use within a pollinator-dependent crop has negative effects on the abundance and species richness of sweat bees, Lasioglossum spp., and on bumble bee colony growth.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Pesticides are implicated in current bee declines. Wild bees that nest or forage within agroecosystems may be exposed to numerous pesticides applied throughout their life cycles, with potential additive or synergistic effects. In pollinator-dependent crops, pesticides may reduce bee populations, cre...

  2. Synergistic effects of non-Apis bees and honey bees for pollination services.

    PubMed

    Brittain, Claire; Williams, Neal; Kremen, Claire; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2013-03-01

    In diverse pollinator communities, interspecific interactions may modify the behaviour and increase the pollination effectiveness of individual species. Because agricultural production reliant on pollination is growing, improving pollination effectiveness could increase crop yield without any increase in agricultural intensity or area. In California almond, a crop highly dependent on honey bee pollination, we explored the foraging behaviour and pollination effectiveness of honey bees in orchards with simple (honey bee only) and diverse (non-Apis bees present) bee communities. In orchards with non-Apis bees, the foraging behaviour of honey bees changed and the pollination effectiveness of a single honey bee visit was greater than in orchards where non-Apis bees were absent. This change translated to a greater proportion of fruit set in these orchards. Our field experiments show that increased pollinator diversity can synergistically increase pollination service, through species interactions that alter the behaviour and resulting functional quality of a dominant pollinator species. These results of functional synergy between species were supported by an additional controlled cage experiment with Osmia lignaria and Apis mellifera. Our findings highlight a largely unexplored facilitative component of the benefit of biodiversity to ecosystem services, and represent a way to improve pollinator-dependent crop yields in a sustainable manner. PMID:23303545

  3. Changes in the Relative Abundance and Movement of Insect Pollinators During the Flowering Cycle of Brassica rapa Crops: Implications for Gene Flow

    PubMed Central

    Mesa, Laura A.; Howlett, Bradley G.; Grant, Jan E.; Didham, Raphael K.

    2013-01-01

    The potential movement of transgenes from genetically modified crops to non-genetically modified crops via insect-mediated pollen dispersal has been highlighted as one of the areas of greatest concern in regards to genetically modified crops. Pollen movement depends sensitively on spatial and temporal variation in the movement of insect pollinators between crop fields. This study tested the degree of variation in the diversity and relative abundance of flower-visiting insects entering versus leaving pak choi, Brassica rapa var. chinensis L. (Brassicales: Brassicaceae), crops throughout different stages of the flowering cycle. The relative abundance of flower-visiting insects varied significantly with Brassica crop phenology. Greater numbers of flower-visiting insects were captured inside rather than outside the crop fields, with the highest capture rates of flower-visitors coinciding with the peak of flowering in both spring-flowering and summer-flowering crops. Moreover, the ratio of flower-visiting insects entering versus leaving crop fields also varied considerably with changing crop phenology. Despite high variation in relative capture rates, the data strongly indicate non-random patterns of variation in insect movement in relation to crop phenology, with early-season aggregation of flower-visiting insects entering and remaining in the crop, and then mass emigration of flower-visiting insects leaving the crop late in the flowering season. Although pollen movement late in the flowering cycle might contribute relatively little to total seed set (and hence crop production), the findings here suggest that extensive late-season pollinator redistribution in the landscape could contribute disproportionately to long-distance gene movement between crops. PMID:23937538

  4. Changes in the relative abundance and movement of insect pollinators during the flowering cycle of Brassica rapa crops: implications for gene flow.

    PubMed

    Mesa, Laura A; Howlett, Bradley G; Grant, Jan E; Didham, Raphael K

    2013-01-01

    The potential movement of transgenes from genetically modified crops to non-genetically modified crops via insect-mediated pollen dispersal has been highlighted as one of the areas of greatest concern in regards to genetically modified crops. Pollen movement depends sensitively on spatial and temporal variation in the movement of insect pollinators between crop fields. This study tested the degree of variation in the diversity and relative abundance of flower-visiting insects entering versus leaving pak choi, Brassica rapa var. chinensis L. (Brassicales: Brassicaceae), crops throughout different stages of the flowering cycle. The relative abundance of flower-visiting insects varied significantly with Brassica crop phenology. Greater numbers of flower-visiting insects were captured inside rather than outside the crop fields, with the highest capture rates of flower-visitors coinciding with the peak of flowering in both spring-flowering and summer-flowering crops. Moreover, the ratio of flower-visiting insects entering versus leaving crop fields also varied considerably with changing crop phenology. Despite high variation in relative capture rates, the data strongly indicate non-random patterns of variation in insect movement in relation to crop phenology, with early-season aggregation of flower-visiting insects entering and remaining in the crop, and then mass emigration of flower-visiting insects leaving the crop late in the flowering season. Although pollen movement late in the flowering cycle might contribute relatively little to total seed set (and hence crop production), the findings here suggest that extensive late-season pollinator redistribution in the landscape could contribute disproportionately to long-distance gene movement between crops. PMID:23937538

  5. Plant diversity increases spatio-temporal niche complementarity in plant-pollinator interactions.

    PubMed

    Venjakob, Christine; Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Ebeling, Anne; Tscharntke, Teja; Scherber, Christoph

    2016-04-01

    Ongoing biodiversity decline impairs ecosystem processes, including pollination. Flower visitation, an important indicator of pollination services, is influenced by plant species richness. However, the spatio-temporal responses of different pollinator groups to plant species richness have not yet been analyzed experimentally. Here, we used an experimental plant species richness gradient to analyze plant-pollinator interactions with an unprecedented spatio-temporal resolution. We observed four pollinator functional groups (honeybees, bumblebees, solitary bees, and hoverflies) in experimental plots at three different vegetation strata between sunrise and sunset. Visits were modified by plant species richness interacting with time and space. Furthermore, the complementarity of pollinator functional groups in space and time was stronger in species-rich mixtures. We conclude that high plant diversity should ensure stable pollination services, mediated via spatio-temporal niche complementarity in flower visitation. PMID:27069585

  6. Managed Bumblebees Outperform Honeybees in Increasing Peach Fruit Set in China: Different Limiting Processes with Different Pollinators

    PubMed Central

    Williams, Paul H.; Vaissière, Bernard E.; Zhou, Zhiyong; Gai, Qinbao; Dong, Jie; An, Jiandong

    2015-01-01

    Peach Prunus persica (L.) Batsch is self-compatible and largely self-fertile, but under greenhouse conditions pollinators must be introduced to achieve good fruit set and quality. Because little work has been done to assess the effectiveness of different pollinators on peach trees under greenhouse conditions, we studied ‘Okubo’ peach in greenhouse tunnels near Beijing between 2012 and 2014. We measured pollen deposition, pollen-tube growth rates, ovary development, and initial fruit set after the flowers were visited by either of two managed pollinators: bumblebees, Bombus patagiatus Nylander, and honeybees, Apis mellifera L. The results show that B. patagiatus is more effective than A. mellifera as a pollinator of peach in greenhouses because of differences in two processes. First, B. patagiatus deposits more pollen grains on peach stigmas than A. mellifera, both during a single visit and during a whole day of open pollination. Second, there are differences in the fertilization performance of the pollen deposited. Half of the flowers visited by B. patagiatus are fertilized 9–11 days after bee visits, while for flowers visited by A. mellifera, half are fertilized 13–15 days after bee visits. Consequently, fruit development is also accelerated by bumblebees, showing that the different pollinators have not only different pollination efficiency, but also influence the subsequent time course of fertilization and fruit set. Flowers visited by B. patagiatus show faster ovary growth and ultimately these flowers produce more fruit. Our work shows that pollinators may influence fruit production beyond the amount of pollen delivered. We show that managed indigenous bumblebees significantly outperform introduced honeybees in increasing peach initial fruit set under greenhouse conditions. PMID:25799170

  7. The phylogenetic structure of plant-pollinator networks increases with habitat size and isolation.

    PubMed

    Aizen, Marcelo A; Gleiser, Gabriela; Sabatino, Malena; Gilarranz, Luis J; Bascompte, Jordi; Verdú, Miguel

    2016-01-01

    Similarity among species in traits related to ecological interactions is frequently associated with common ancestry. Thus, closely related species usually interact with ecologically similar partners, which can be reinforced by diverse co-evolutionary processes. The effect of habitat fragmentation on the phylogenetic signal in interspecific interactions and correspondence between plant and animal phylogenies is, however, unknown. Here, we address to what extent phylogenetic signal and co-phylogenetic congruence of plant-animal interactions depend on habitat size and isolation by analysing the phylogenetic structure of 12 pollination webs from isolated Pampean hills. Phylogenetic signal in interspecific interactions differed among webs, being stronger for flower-visiting insects than plants. Phylogenetic signal and overall co-phylogenetic congruence increased independently with hill size and isolation. We propose that habitat fragmentation would erode the phylogenetic structure of interaction webs. A decrease in phylogenetic signal and co-phylogenetic correspondence in plant-pollinator interactions could be associated with less reliable mutualism and erratic co-evolutionary change. PMID:26493295

  8. Milkweed (Gentianales: Apocynaceae): a farmscape resource for increasing parasitism of stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and providing nectar to insect pollinators and monarch butterflies.

    PubMed

    Tillman, P G; Carpenter, J E

    2014-04-01

    In peanut-cotton farmscapes in Georgia, the stink bugs Nezara viridula (L.) and Chinavia hilaris (Say) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and the leaffooted bug, Leptoglossus phyllopus (L.) (Hemiptera: Coreidae), disperse at crop-to-crop interfaces to feed on bolls in cotton. The main objective of this study was to determine whether insecticide-free tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica L.), a nectar-producing plant, can increase parasitism of these bugs by Trichopoda pennipes (F.) (Diptera: Tachinidae) and provide nectar to monarch butterflies and insect pollinators in these farmscapes. Peanut-cotton plots with and without flowering milkweed plants were established in 2009 and 2010. Adult T. pennipes, monarch butterflies, honey bees, and native insect pollinators readily fed on floral nectar of milkweed. Monarch larvae feeding on milkweed vegetation successfully developed into pupae. In 2009, N. viridula was the primary host of T. pennipes in cotton, and parasitism of this pest by the parasitoid was significantly higher in milkweed cotton (61.6%) than in control cotton (13.3%). In 2010, parasitism of N. viridula, C. hilaris, and L. phyllopus by T. pennipes was significantly higher in milkweed cotton (24.0%) than in control cotton (1.1%). For both years of the study, these treatment differences were not owing to a response by the parasitoid to differences in host density, because density of hosts was not significantly different between treatments. In conclusion, incorporation of milkweed in peanut-cotton plots increased stink bug parasitism in cotton and provided nectar to insect pollinators and monarch butterflies. PMID:24763094

  9. Lack of pollinators limits fruit production in commercial blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).

    PubMed

    Benjamin, Faye E; Winfree, Rachael

    2014-12-01

    Modern agriculture relies on domesticated pollinators such as the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.), and to a lesser extent on native pollinators, for the production of animal-pollinated crops. There is growing concern that pollinator availability may not keep pace with increasing agricultural production. However, whether crop production is in fact pollen-limited at the field scale has rarely been studied. Here, we ask whether commercial highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) production in New Jersey is limited by a lack of pollination even when growers provide honey bees at recommended densities. We studied two varieties of blueberry over 3 yr to determine whether blueberry crop production is pollen-limited and to measure the relative contributions of honey bees and native bees to blueberry pollination. We found two lines of evidence for pollen limitation. First, berries receiving supplemental hand-pollination were generally heavier than berries receiving ambient pollination. Second, mean berry mass increased significantly and nonasymptotically with honey bee flower visitation rate. While honey bees provided 86% of pollination and thus drove the findings reported above, native bees still contributed 14% of total pollination even in our conventionally managed, high-input agricultural system. Honey bees and native bees were also similarly efficient as pollinators on a per-visit basis. Overall, our study shows that pollination can be a limiting factor in commercial fruit production. Yields might increase with increased honey bee stocking rates and improved dispersal of hives within crop fields, and with habitat restoration to increase pollination provided by native bees. PMID:25313694

  10. Cage-Fighting Bees: Can Aggressive Competition Increase Pollination Efficacy for an Oligolectic Native Bee?

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Pollination efficacy of the oligolectic bee Ptilothrix bombiformis was measured as the number of pollen grains delivered to virgin Hibiscus stigmas. Such specialized bee foragers are often assumed to be highly efficient pollinators. Intriguingly, however, we discovered females fight over host blooms...

  11. Effects of pollination timing and distance on seed production in a dioecious weed Silene latifolia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, Jay F.; Duddu, Hema S. N.; Shirtliffe, Steven J.; Benaragama, Dilshan; Syrovy, Lena D.; Stanley, Katherine A.; Haile, Teketel A.

    2015-11-01

    Silene latifolia Poir. (white cockle or white campion) is an important invasive weed in North American agriculture. It exhibits dioecy, therefore, both male and female plants are required in order for seed production to occur. However, dioecious species being invasive is not common because of their limitations in pollination and subsequent seed production. The objective of this study is to determine the effect of pollination timing and distance on seed production of Silene latifolia. A series of experiments including pollination exclusion, timing and pollination distance were conducted in 2009 and 2010 at or around Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. For pollination exclusion, exclosures were built around the natural female plants for exclosure, sham-exclosure, and male and female combined treatments. Pollination timing was studied by applying exclosure, non-exclosure, night-exclosure, and day-exclosure treatments to individual female plants. Female plants were transplanted along a linear interval at six different distances from the pollen source to study the effect of pollination distance. S. latifolia was exclusively insect-pollinated and pollination occurred both day and night; however, in one year, pollination occurred mainly at night. Female plants that were in the range of 0-4 m from a compatible pollen source experienced no limitation to pollination. However, when the distance was increased further up to 128 m, pollination levels and subsequent seed production were declined. Moreover, there were differences in seed production between years suggesting that pollination was affected by the environmental conditions during pollination and the crop that white cockle was grown in. These experiments indicate that seed production in S. latifolia is limited by insect-pollination. Although there was pollination limitation for seed production at greater distances from a pollen source, the high fecundity rate (3000-18000 seeds per plant) resulted in a large seed output. Thus, we

  12. Large-scale pollination experiment demonstrates the importance of insect pollination in winter oilseed rape.

    PubMed

    Lindström, Sandra A M; Herbertsson, Lina; Rundlöf, Maj; Smith, Henrik G; Bommarco, Riccardo

    2016-03-01

    Insect pollination, despite its potential to contribute substantially to crop production, is not an integrated part of agronomic planning. A major reason for this are knowledge gaps in the contribution of pollinators to yield, which partly result from difficulties in determining area-based estimates of yield effects from insect pollination under field conditions. We have experimentally manipulated honey bee Apis mellifera densities at 43 oilseed rape Brassica napus fields over 2 years in Scandinavia. Honey bee hives were placed in 22 fields; an additional 21 fields without large apiaries in the surrounding landscape were selected as controls. Depending on the pollination system in the parental generation, the B. napus cultivars in the crop fields are classified as either open-pollinated or first-generation hybrids, with both types being open-pollinated in the generation of plants cultivated in the fields. Three cultivars of each type were grown. We measured the activity of flower-visiting insects during flowering and estimated yields by harvesting with small combine harvesters. The addition of honey bee hives to the fields dramatically increased abundance of flower-visiting honey bees in those fields. Honey bees affected yield, but the effect depended on cultivar type (p = 0.04). Post-hoc analysis revealed that open-pollinated cultivars, but not hybrid cultivars, had 11% higher yields in fields with added honey bees than those grown in the control fields (p = 0.07). To our knowledge, this is the first whole-field study in replicated landscapes to assess the benefit of insect pollination in oilseed rape. Our results demonstrate that honey bees have the potential to increase oilseed rape yields, thereby emphasizing the importance of pollinator management for optimal cultivation of oilseed rape. PMID:26650584

  13. Floral colour signal increases short-range detectability of a sexually deceptive orchid to its bee pollinator.

    PubMed

    Streinzer, Martin; Paulus, Hannes F; Spaethe, Johannes

    2009-05-01

    Orchids of the genus Ophrys are pollinated by males of solitary bees and wasps through sexual deception. The flowers mimic the behaviourally active compounds of the sex pheromone of receptive females and thus attract males that seek to copulate. Odour is the main attractant while visual stimuli have been assumed so far to play only a minor role. In contrast to most species of the genus, Heldreich's orchid Ophrys heldreichii, which is pollinated by males of the long-horned bee Tetralonia berlandi, possesses a bright pink perianth that appears conspicuous to a human observer. We investigated the role of this floral colour signal in pollinator attraction. We filmed approach flights of male bees to flowers in which we removed the original perianth and in which we substituted the perianth with an artificial one of a particular selected colour. At distances >30 cm, male search time correlated only with wind speed but not with the spectral parameters of the perianth, i.e. chromatic and green receptor-specific contrast. By contrast, in the close range (<30 cm), where the perianth subtends a visual angle of at least 5 deg. to the bee's eye, search time decreased with increasing green receptor contrast between perianth and background; however, no correlation with chromatic contrast or wind speed was found. Our results indicate that pollinators are first attracted by olfactory signals from a distance. Once in the vicinity of the flower where spatial vision of the males is sufficient, they are guided exclusively by vision. However, it can be expected that possession of a ;non-private' colour signal would increase the risk of pollen loss in sexually deceptive orchids by accidentally attracting non-specific flower visitors. We therefore discuss the occurrence of colour signals in the genus Ophrys in respect to the species-specific visual system of the pollinators. PMID:19376957

  14. Crop domestication facilitated rapid geographical expansion of a specialist pollinator, the squash bee Peponapis pruinosa.

    PubMed

    López-Uribe, Margarita M; Cane, James H; Minckley, Robert L; Danforth, Bryan N

    2016-06-29

    Squash was first domesticated in Mexico and is now found throughout North America (NA) along with Peponapis pruinosa, a pollen specialist bee species of the squash genus Cucurbita The origin and spread of squash cultivation is well-studied archaeologically and phylogenetically; however, no study has documented how cultivation of this or any other crop has influenced species in mutualistic interactions. We used molecular markers to reconstruct the demographic range expansion and colonization routes of P. pruinosa from its native range into temperate NA. Populations east of the Rocky Mountains expanded from the wild host plant's range in Mexico and were established by a series of founder events. Eastern North America was most likely colonized from squash bee populations in the present-day continental Midwest USA and not from routes that followed the Gulf and Atlantic coasts from Mexico. Populations of P. pruinosa west of the Rockies spread north from the warm deserts much more recently, showing two genetically differentiated populations with no admixture: one in California and the other one in eastern Great Basin. These bees have repeatedly endured severe bottlenecks as they colonized NA, following human spread of their Cucurbita pollen hosts during the Holocene. PMID:27335417

  15. Pollination increases ethylene production in Lilium hybrida cv. Brindisi flowers but does not affect the time to tepal senescence or tepal abscission.

    PubMed

    Pacifici, Silvia; Prisa, Domenico; Burchi, Gianluca; van Doorn, Wouter G

    2014-09-01

    In many species, pollination induces a rapid increase in ethylene production, which induces early petal senescence, petal abscission, or flower closure. Cross-pollination in Lilium hybrida cv. Brindisi resulted in a small increase in flower ethylene production. In intact plants and in isolated flowers, pollination had no effect on the time to tepal senescence or tepal abscission. When applied to closed buds of unpollinated flowers, exogenous ethylene slightly hastened the time to tepal senescence and abscission. However, exogenous ethylene had no effect when the flowers had just opened, i.e. at the time of pollination. Experiments with silver thiosulphate, which blocks the ethylene receptor, indicated that endogenous ethylene had a slight effect on the regulation of tepal senescence and tepal abscission, although only at the time the tepals were still inside buds and not in open flowers. Low ethylene-sensitivity after anthesis therefore explains why pollination had no effect on the processes studied. PMID:25462085

  16. Insect pollination reduces yield loss following heat stress in faba bean (Vicia faba L.)

    PubMed Central

    Bishop, Jacob; Jones, Hannah Elizabeth; Lukac, Martin; Potts, Simon Geoffrey

    2016-01-01

    Global food security, particularly crop fertilization and yield production, is threatened by heat waves that are projected to increase in frequency and magnitude with climate change. Effects of heat stress on the fertilization of insect-pollinated plants are not well understood, but experiments conducted primarily in self-pollinated crops, such as wheat, show that transfer of fertile pollen may recover yield following stress. We hypothesized that in the partially pollinator-dependent crop, faba bean (Vicia faba L.), insect pollination would elicit similar yield recovery following heat stress. We exposed potted faba bean plants to heat stress for 5 days during floral development and anthesis. Temperature treatments were representative of heat waves projected in the UK for the period 2021–2050 and onwards. Following temperature treatments, plants were distributed in flight cages and either pollinated by domesticated Bombus terrestris colonies or received no insect pollination. Yield loss due to heat stress at 30 °C was greater in plants excluded from pollinators (15%) compared to those with bumblebee pollination (2.5%). Thus, the pollinator dependency of faba bean yield was 16% at control temperatures (18–26 °C) and extreme stress (34 °C), but was 53% following intermediate heat stress at 30 °C. These findings provide the first evidence that the pollinator dependency of crops can be modified by heat stress, and suggest that insect pollination may become more important in crop production as the probability of heat waves increases. PMID:26989276

  17. Increasing Crop Diversity Mitigates Weather Variations and Improves Yield Stability

    PubMed Central

    Gaudin, Amélie C. M.; Tolhurst, Tor N.; Ker, Alan P.; Janovicek, Ken; Tortora, Cristina; Martin, Ralph C.; Deen, William

    2015-01-01

    Cropping sequence diversification provides a systems approach to reduce yield variations and improve resilience to multiple environmental stresses. Yield advantages of more diverse crop rotations and their synergistic effects with reduced tillage are well documented, but few studies have quantified the impact of these management practices on yields and their stability when soil moisture is limiting or in excess. Using yield and weather data obtained from a 31-year long term rotation and tillage trial in Ontario, we tested whether crop rotation diversity is associated with greater yield stability when abnormal weather conditions occur. We used parametric and non-parametric approaches to quantify the impact of rotation diversity (monocrop, 2-crops, 3-crops without or with one or two legume cover crops) and tillage (conventional or reduced tillage) on yield probabilities and the benefits of crop diversity under different soil moisture and temperature scenarios. Although the magnitude of rotation benefits varied with crops, weather patterns and tillage, yield stability significantly increased when corn and soybean were integrated into more diverse rotations. Introducing small grains into short corn-soybean rotation was enough to provide substantial benefits on long-term soybean yields and their stability while the effects on corn were mostly associated with the temporal niche provided by small grains for underseeded red clover or alfalfa. Crop diversification strategies increased the probability of harnessing favorable growing conditions while decreasing the risk of crop failure. In hot and dry years, diversification of corn-soybean rotations and reduced tillage increased yield by 7% and 22% for corn and soybean respectively. Given the additional advantages associated with cropping system diversification, such a strategy provides a more comprehensive approach to lowering yield variability and improving the resilience of cropping systems to multiple environmental

  18. Milkweed: A resource for increasing stink bug parasitism and aiding insect pollinator and monarch butterfly conservation

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The flowers of milkweed species can produce a rich supply of nectar, and therefore, planting an insecticide-free milkweed habitat in agricultural farmscapes could possibly conserve monarch butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators, as well as enhance parasitism of insect pests. In peanut-cotton...

  19. Calorie increase and water savings of redistributing global crop production

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davis, K. F.; Seveso, A.; Rulli, M. C.; D'Odorico, P.

    2015-12-01

    Human demand for crop production is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades as a result of population growth, richer diets and biofuel use. In order for food production to keep pace, unprecedented amounts of resources - water, fertilizers, energy - will be required. This has led to calls for 'sustainable intensification' in which yields are increased on existing croplands while seeking to minimize impacts on water and other agricultural resources. Recent studies have quantified aspects of this, showing that there is a large potential to improve crop yields and increase harvest frequencies to better meet human demand. Though promising, both solutions would necessitate large additional inputs of water and fertilizer in order to be achieved under current technologies. However, the question of whether the current distribution of crops is, in fact, the best for realizing maximized production has not been considered to date. To this end, we ask: Is it possible to increase calorie production and minimize water demand by simply growing crops where soil and climate conditions are best suited? Here we use maps of agro-ecological suitability - a measure of physical and chemical soil fertility - for 15 major food crops to identify differences between current crop distributions and where they can most suitably be planted. By redistributing crops across currently cultivated lands, we determine the potential improvement in calorie production as well as the associated change in water demand. We also consider what distribution of crops would maintain current calorie production while minimizing crop water demand. In doing all of this, our study provides a novel tool for improving crop calorie production without necessarily increasing resource demands.

  20. Enhancing Legume Ecosystem Services through an Understanding of Plant-Pollinator Interplay.

    PubMed

    Suso, María J; Bebeli, Penelope J; Christmann, Stefanie; Mateus, Célia; Negri, Valeria; Pinheiro de Carvalho, Miguel A A; Torricelli, Renzo; Veloso, Maria M

    2016-01-01

    Legumes are bee-pollinated, but to a different extent. The importance of the plant-pollinator interplay (PPI), in flowering crops such as legumes lies in a combination of the importance of pollination for the production service and breeding strategies, plus the increasing urgency in mitigating the decline of pollinators through the development and implementation of conservation measures. To realize the full potential of the PPI, a multidisciplinary approach is required. This article assembles an international team of genebank managers, geneticists, plant breeders, experts on environmental governance and agro-ecology, and comprises several sections. The contributions in these sections outline both the state of the art of knowledge in the field and the novel aspects under development, and encompass a range of reviews, opinions and perspectives. The first three sections explore the role of PPI in legume breeding strategies. PPI based approaches to crop improvement can make it possible to adapt and re-design breeding strategies to meet both goals of: (1) optimal productivity, based on an efficient use of pollinators, and (2) biodiversity conservation. The next section deals with entomological aspects and focuses on the protection of the "pest control service" and pollinators in legume crops. The final section addresses general approaches to encourage the synergy between food production and pollination services at farmer field level. Two basic approaches are proposed: (a) Farming with Alternative Pollinators and (b) Crop Design System. PMID:27047514

  1. Enhancing Legume Ecosystem Services through an Understanding of Plant–Pollinator Interplay

    PubMed Central

    Suso, María J.; Bebeli, Penelope J.; Christmann, Stefanie; Mateus, Célia; Negri, Valeria; Pinheiro de Carvalho, Miguel A. A.; Torricelli, Renzo; Veloso, Maria M.

    2016-01-01

    Legumes are bee-pollinated, but to a different extent. The importance of the plant–pollinator interplay (PPI), in flowering crops such as legumes lies in a combination of the importance of pollination for the production service and breeding strategies, plus the increasing urgency in mitigating the decline of pollinators through the development and implementation of conservation measures. To realize the full potential of the PPI, a multidisciplinary approach is required. This article assembles an international team of genebank managers, geneticists, plant breeders, experts on environmental governance and agro-ecology, and comprises several sections. The contributions in these sections outline both the state of the art of knowledge in the field and the novel aspects under development, and encompass a range of reviews, opinions and perspectives. The first three sections explore the role of PPI in legume breeding strategies. PPI based approaches to crop improvement can make it possible to adapt and re-design breeding strategies to meet both goals of: (1) optimal productivity, based on an efficient use of pollinators, and (2) biodiversity conservation. The next section deals with entomological aspects and focuses on the protection of the “pest control service” and pollinators in legume crops. The final section addresses general approaches to encourage the synergy between food production and pollination services at farmer field level. Two basic approaches are proposed: (a) Farming with Alternative Pollinators and (b) Crop Design System. PMID:27047514

  2. Evaluating pollination deficits in pumpkin production in New York.

    PubMed

    Petersen, J D; Huseth, A S; Nault, B A

    2014-10-01

    Potential decreases in crop yield from reductions in bee-mediated pollination services threaten food production demands of a growing population. Many fruit and vegetable growers supplement their fields with bee colonies during crop bloom. The extent to which crop production requires supplementary pollination services beyond those provided by wild bees is not well documented. Pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo L., requires bee-mediated pollination for fruit development. Previous research identified the common eastern bumble bee, Bombus impatiens (Cresson), as the most efficient pumpkin pollinator. Two concomitant studies were conducted to examine pollination deficits in New York pumpkin fields from 2011 to 2013. In the first study, fruit weight, seed set, and B. impatiens visits to pumpkin flowers were compared across fields supplemented with B. impatiens colonies at a recommended stocking density of five colonies per hectare, a high density of 15 colonies per hectare, or not supplemented with bees. In the second study, fruit weight and seed set of pumpkins that received supplemental pollen through hand-pollination were compared with those that were open-pollinated by wild bees. Results indicated that supplementing pumpkin fields with B. impatiens colonies, regardless of stocking density, did not increase fruit weight, seed set, or B. impatiens visits to pumpkin flowers. Fruit weight and seed set did not differ between hand- and open-pollinated treatments. In general, we conclude that pumpkin production in central New York is not limited by inadequate pollination services provided by wild bees and that on average, supplementation with B. impatiens colonies did not improve pumpkin yield. PMID:25198126

  3. Legumes Can Increase Cadmium Contamination in Neighboring Crops

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Jianjun; Xu, Ligen; Yang, Xiantian; Yong, Jean W. H.; Chen, Xin

    2012-01-01

    Legumes are widely used in many cropping systems because they share their nitrogen fixation products and phosphorus mobilization activities with their neighbors. In the current study, however, we showed that co-cultivation with legumes increased cadmium (Cd) contamination in the adjacent crops. Both field and mesocosm experiments indicated that legumes increased Cd levels in edible parts and shoots of four neighboring crops and five maize varieties tested, regardless of the Cd levels in the soil. This enhanced Cd accumulation in crops was attributed to root interactions that alter the rhizosphere environment. Co-cultivation with legumes reduced soil pH, which somewhat increased the exchangeable forms of Cd. Our results have demonstrated the inevitable increases in Cd levels of crops as a direct result of co-cultivation with legumes even under situations when these levels are below the permissible threshold. With this new revelation, we need to consider carefully the current cropping systems involving legumes and perhaps to re-design the current and future cropping systems in view of avoiding food contamination by Cd. PMID:22905189

  4. Development of a novel recessive genetic male sterility system for hybrid seed production in maize and other cross-pollinating crops.

    PubMed

    Wu, Yongzhong; Fox, Tim W; Trimnell, Mary R; Wang, Lijuan; Xu, Rui-Ji; Cigan, A Mark; Huffman, Gary A; Garnaat, Carl W; Hershey, Howard; Albertsen, Marc C

    2016-03-01

    We have developed a novel hybridization platform that utilizes nuclear male sterility to produce hybrids in maize and other cross-pollinating crops. A key component of this platform is a process termed Seed Production Technology (SPT). This process incorporates a transgenic SPT maintainer line capable of propagating nontransgenic nuclear male-sterile lines for use as female parents in hybrid production. The maize SPT maintainer line is a homozygous recessive male sterile transformed with a SPT construct containing (i) a complementary wild-type male fertility gene to restore fertility, (ii) an α-amylase gene to disrupt pollination and (iii) a seed colour marker gene. The sporophytic wild-type allele complements the recessive mutation, enabling the development of pollen grains, all of which carry the recessive allele but with only half carrying the SPT transgenes. Pollen grains with the SPT transgenes exhibit starch depletion resulting from expression of α-amylase and are unable to germinate. Pollen grains that do not carry the SPT transgenes are nontransgenic and are able to fertilize homozygous mutant plants, resulting in nontransgenic male-sterile progeny for use as female parents. Because transgenic SPT maintainer seeds express a red fluorescent protein, they can be detected and efficiently separated from seeds that do not contain the SPT transgenes by mechanical colour sorting. The SPT process has the potential to replace current approaches to pollen control in commercial maize hybrid seed production. It also has important applications for other cross-pollinating crops where it can unlock the potential for greater hybrid productivity through expanding the parental germplasm pool. PMID:26442654

  5. Bee Pollination in Agricultural Eco-Systems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    For many agricultural crops, bees play a vital role as pollinators, and this book discusses the interplay between bees, agriculture and the environment. Although honey bees are well recognized as pollinators, managed bumble bees and solitary bees are also critical for the successful pollination of c...

  6. Modifying crops to increase cell wall digestibility.

    PubMed

    Jung, Hans-Joachim G; Samac, Deborah A; Sarath, Gautam

    2012-04-01

    Improving digestibility of roughage cell walls will improve ruminant animal performance and reduce loss of nutrients to the environment. The main digestibility impediment for dicotyledonous plants is highly lignified secondary cell walls, notably in stem secondary xylem, which become almost non-digestible. Digestibility of grasses is slowed severely by lignification of most tissues, but these cell walls remain largely digestible. Cell wall lignification creates an access barrier to potentially digestible wall material by rumen bacteria if cells have not been physically ruptured. Traditional breeding has focused on increasing total dry matter digestibility rather than cell wall digestibility, which has resulted in minimal reductions in cell wall lignification. Brown midrib mutants in some annual grasses exhibit small reductions in lignin concentration and improved cell wall digestibility. Similarly, transgenic approaches down-regulating genes in monolignol synthesis have produced plants with reduced lignin content and improved cell wall digestibility. While major reductions in lignin concentration have been associated with poor plant fitness, smaller reductions in lignin provided measurable improvements in digestibility without significantly impacting agronomic fitness. Additional targets for genetic modification to enhance digestibility and improve roughages for use as biofuel feedstocks are discussed; including manipulating cell wall polysaccharide composition, novel lignin structures, reduced lignin/polysaccharide cross-linking, smaller lignin polymers, enhanced development of non-lignified tissues, and targeting specific cell types. Greater tissue specificity of transgene expression will be needed to maximize benefits while avoiding negative impacts on plant fitness.cauliflower mosiac virus (CaMV) 35S promoter. PMID:22325867

  7. Global growth and stability of agricultural yield decrease with pollinator dependence

    PubMed Central

    Garibaldi, Lucas A.; Aizen, Marcelo A.; Klein, Alexandra M.; Cunningham, Saul A.; Harder, Lawrence D.

    2011-01-01

    Human welfare depends on the amount and stability of agricultural production, as determined by crop yield and cultivated area. Yield increases asymptotically with the resources provided by farmers’ inputs and environmentally sensitive ecosystem services. Declining yield growth with increased inputs prompts conversion of more land to cultivation, but at the risk of eroding ecosystem services. To explore the interdependence of agricultural production and its stability on ecosystem services, we present and test a general graphical model, based on Jensen's inequality, of yield–resource relations and consider implications for land conversion. For the case of animal pollination as a resource influencing crop yield, this model predicts that incomplete and variable pollen delivery reduces yield mean and stability (inverse of variability) more for crops with greater dependence on pollinators. Data collected by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations during 1961–2008 support these predictions. Specifically, crops with greater pollinator dependence had lower mean and stability in relative yield and yield growth, despite global yield increases for most crops. Lower yield growth was compensated by increased land cultivation to enhance production of pollinator-dependent crops. Area stability also decreased with pollinator dependence, as it correlated positively with yield stability among crops. These results reveal that pollen limitation hinders yield growth of pollinator-dependent crops, decreasing temporal stability of global agricultural production, while promoting compensatory land conversion to agriculture. Although we examined crop pollination, our model applies to other ecosystem services for which the benefits to human welfare decelerate as the maximum is approached. PMID:21422295

  8. Disease associations between honeybees and bumblebees as a threat to wild pollinators.

    PubMed

    Fürst, M A; McMahon, D P; Osborne, J L; Paxton, R J; Brown, M J F

    2014-02-20

    Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) pose a risk to human welfare, both directly and indirectly, by affecting managed livestock and wildlife that provide valuable resources and ecosystem services, such as the pollination of crops. Honeybees (Apis mellifera), the prevailing managed insect crop pollinator, suffer from a range of emerging and exotic high-impact pathogens, and population maintenance requires active management by beekeepers to control them. Wild pollinators such as bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are in global decline, one cause of which may be pathogen spillover from managed pollinators like honeybees or commercial colonies of bumblebees. Here we use a combination of infection experiments and landscape-scale field data to show that honeybee EIDs are indeed widespread infectious agents within the pollinator assemblage. The prevalence of deformed wing virus (DWV) and the exotic parasite Nosema ceranae in honeybees and bumblebees is linked; as honeybees have higher DWV prevalence, and sympatric bumblebees and honeybees are infected by the same DWV strains, Apis is the likely source of at least one major EID in wild pollinators. Lessons learned from vertebrates highlight the need for increased pathogen control in managed bee species to maintain wild pollinators, as declines in native pollinators may be caused by interspecies pathogen transmission originating from managed pollinators. PMID:24553241

  9. Disease associations between honeybees and bumblebees as a threat to wild pollinators

    PubMed Central

    Fürst, M.A.; McMahon, D.P.; Osborne, J.L.; Paxton, R.J.; Brown, M.J.F.

    2014-01-01

    Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) pose a risk to human welfare, both directly1 and indirectly, by affecting managed livestock and wildlife that provide valuable resources and ecosystem services, such as the pollination of crops2. Honey bees (Apis mellifera), the prevailing managed insect crop pollinator, suffer from a range of emerging and exotic high impact pathogens3,4 and population maintenance requires active management by beekeepers to control them. Wild pollinators such as bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are in global decline5,6, one cause of which may be pathogen spillover from managed pollinators like honey bees7,8 or commercial colonies of bumble bees9. In our study, a combination of infection experiments with landscape scale field data indicates that honey bee EIDs are indeed widespread infectious agents within the pollinator assemblage. The prevalence of deformed wing virus (DWV) and the exotic Nosema ceranae is linked between honey bees and bumble bees, with honey bees having higher DWV prevalence, and sympatric bumble bees and honey bees sharing DWV strains; Apis is therefore the likely source of at least one major EID in wild pollinators. Lessons learned from vertebrates10,11 highlight the need for increased pathogen control in managed bee species to maintain wild pollinators, as declines in native pollinators may be caused by interspecies pathogen transmission originating from managed pollinators. PMID:24553241

  10. Increasing global crop harvest frequency: recent trends and future directions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ray, Deepak K.; Foley, Jonathan A.

    2013-12-01

    The world’s agricultural systems face the challenge of meeting the rising demands from population growth, changing dietary preferences, and expanding biofuel use. Previous studies have put forward strategies for meeting this growing demand by increasing global crop production, either expanding the area under cultivation or intensifying the crop yields of our existing agricultural lands. However, another possible means for increasing global crop production has received less attention: increasing the frequency of global cropland harvested each year. Historically, many of the world’s croplands were left fallow, or had failed harvests, each year, foregoing opportunities for delivering crop production. Furthermore, many regions, particularly in the tropics, may be capable of multiple harvests per year, often more than are harvested today. Here we analyze a global compilation of agricultural statistics to show how the world’s harvested cropland has changed. Between 2000 and 2011, harvested land area grew roughly 4 times faster than total standing cropland area. Using a metric of cropland harvest frequency (CHF)—the ratio of land harvested each year to the total standing cropland—and its recent trends, we identify countries that harvest their croplands more frequently, and those that have the potential to increase their cropland harvest frequency. We suggest that a possible ‘harvest gap’ may exist in many countries that represents an opportunity to increase crop production on existing agricultural lands. However, increasing the harvest frequency of existing croplands could have significant environmental and social impacts, which need careful evaluation.

  11. Does deficit irrigation of field crops increase water use efficiency

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Deficit irrigation is often proposed as a method to stretch limited irrigation water supply and increase water use efficiency. A field study of field crops in the high plains shows that water use efficiency, in terms of irrigation water applied, often increases with deficit irrigation. However, in t...

  12. Impact of distinct insect pollinators on gene flow

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The vast majority of fruits and vegetables, together with some hay crops (alfalfa) and some oil-producing crops (canola) are pollinated by insects. However we have little information on how insect pollinators affect the movement of genes via pollen and even less on how distinct insect pollinators ma...

  13. Impacts of the use of nonnative commercial bumble bees for pollinator supplementation in raspberry.

    PubMed

    Lye, G C; Jennings, S N; Osborne, J L; Goulson, D

    2011-02-01

    Evidence for pollinator declines has led to concern that inadequate pollination services may limit crop yields. The global trade in commercial bumble bee (Bombus spp.) colonies provides pollination services for both glasshouse and open-field crops. For example, in the United Kingdom, commercial colonies of nonnative subspecies of the bumble bee Bombus terrestris L. imported from mainland Europe are widely used for the pollination of raspberries, Rubus idaeus L. The extent to which these commercial colonies supplement the services provided by wild pollinators has not been formally quantified and the impact of commercial bumble bees on native bees visiting the crop is unknown. Here, the impacts of allowing commercially available bumble bee colonies to forage on raspberry canes are assessed in terms of the yield of marketable fruit produced and the pollinator communities found foraging on raspberry flowers. No differences were found in the abundance, diversity, or composition of social bee species observed visiting raspberry flowers when commercial bumble bees were deployed compared with when they were absent. However, weight of marketable raspberries produced increased when commercial bees were present, indicating that wild pollinator services alone are inadequate for attaining maximum yields. The findings of the study suggests that proportional yield increases associated with deployment of commercial colonies may be small, but that nevertheless, investment in commercial colonies for raspberry pollination could produce very significant increases in net profit for the grower. Given potential environmental risks associated with the importation of nonnative bumble bees, the development of alternative solutions to the pollination deficit in raspberry crops in the United Kingdom may be beneficial. PMID:21404847

  14. Economic Dependence of U.S. Industrial Sectors on Animal-Mediated Pollination Service.

    PubMed

    Chopra, Shauhrat S; Bakshi, Bhavik R; Khanna, Vikas

    2015-12-15

    Declining animal pollinator health and diversity in the U.S. is a matter of growing concern and has particularly gained attention since the emergence of colony collapse disorder (CCD) in 2006. Failure to maintain adequate animal-mediated pollination service to support increasing demand for pollination-dependent crops poses risks for the U.S. economy. We integrate the Economic Input-Output (EIO) model and network analysis with data on pollinator dependence of crops to understand the economic dependence of U.S. industrial sectors on animal-mediated pollination service. The novelty of this work lies in its ability to identify industrial sectors and industrial communities (groups of closely linked sectors) that are most vulnerable to scarcity of pollination service provided by various animal species. While the economic dependence of agricultural sectors on pollination service is significant (US$14.2-23.8 billion), the higher-order economic dependence of the rest of the U.S. industrial sectors is substantially high as well (US$10.3-21.1 billion). The results are compelling as they highlight the critical importance of animal-induced pollination service for the U.S. economy, and the need to account for the role of ecosystem goods and services in product life cycles. PMID:26575436

  15. Methods for generating or increasing revenues from crops

    DOEpatents

    Copenhaver, Gregory P.; Keith, Kevin; Preuss, Daphne

    2007-03-20

    The present invention provides methods of doing business and providing services. For example, methods of increasing the revenue of crops are provided. To this end, the method includes the use of a nucleic acid sequences of plant centromeres. This will permit construction of stably inherited recombinant DNA constructs and mini chromosomes which can serve as vectors for the construction of transgenic plant and animal cells.

  16. Increased occurrence of pesticide residues on crops grown in protected environments compared to crops grown in open field conditions.

    PubMed

    Allen, Gina; Halsall, Crispin J; Ukpebor, Justina; Paul, Nigel D; Ridall, Gareth; Wargent, Jason J

    2015-01-01

    Crops grown under plastic-clad structures or in greenhouses may be prone to an increased frequency of pesticide residue detections and higher concentrations of pesticides relative to equivalent crops grown in the open field. To test this we examined pesticide data for crops selected from the quarterly reports (2004-2009) of the UK's Pesticide Residue Committee. Five comparison crop pairs were identified whereby one crop of each pair was assumed to have been grown primarily under some form of physical protection ('protected') and the other grown primarily in open field conditions ('open'). For each pair, the number of detectable pesticide residues and the proportion of crop samples containing pesticides were statistically compared (n=100 s samples for each crop). The mean concentrations of selected photolabile pesticides were also compared. For the crop pairings of cabbage ('open') vs. lettuce ('protected') and 'berries' ('open') vs. strawberries ('protected') there was a significantly higher number of pesticides and proportion of samples with multiple residues for the protected crops. Statistically higher concentrations of pesticides, including cypermethrin, cyprodinil, fenhexamid, boscalid and iprodione were also found in the protected crops compared to the open crops. The evidence here demonstrates that, in general, the protected crops possess a higher number of detectable pesticides compared to analogous crops grown in the open. This may be due to different pesticide-use regimes, but also due to slower rates of pesticide removal in protected systems. The findings of this study raise implications for pesticide management in protected-crop systems. PMID:25465948

  17. Bats and birds increase crop yield in tropical agroforestry landscapes.

    PubMed

    Maas, Bea; Clough, Yann; Tscharntke, Teja

    2013-12-01

    Human welfare is significantly linked to ecosystem services such as the suppression of pest insects by birds and bats. However, effects of biocontrol services on tropical cash crop yield are still largely unknown. For the first time, we manipulated the access of birds and bats in an exclosure experiment (day, night and full exclosures compared to open controls in Indonesian cacao agroforestry) and quantified the arthropod communities, the fruit development and the final yield over a long time period (15 months). We found that bat and bird exclusion increased insect herbivore abundance, despite the concurrent release of mesopredators such as ants and spiders, and negatively affected fruit development, with final crop yield decreasing by 31% across local (shade cover) and landscape (distance to primary forest) gradients. Our results highlight the tremendous economic impact of common insectivorous birds and bats, which need to become an essential part of sustainable landscape management. PMID:24131776

  18. Corridors restore animal-mediated pollination in fragmented tropical forest landscapes.

    PubMed

    Kormann, Urs; Scherber, Christoph; Tscharntke, Teja; Klein, Nadja; Larbig, Manuel; Valente, Jonathon J; Hadley, Adam S; Betts, Matthew G

    2016-01-27

    Tropical biodiversity and associated ecosystem functions have become heavily eroded through habitat loss. Animal-mediated pollination is required in more than 94% of higher tropical plant species and 75% of the world's leading food crops, but it remains unclear if corridors avert deforestation-driven pollination breakdown in fragmented tropical landscapes. Here, we used manipulative resource experiments and field observations to show that corridors functionally connect neotropical forest fragments for forest-associated hummingbirds and increase pollen transfer. Further, corridors boosted forest-associated pollinator availability in fragments by 14.3 times compared with unconnected equivalents, increasing overall pollination success. Plants in patches without corridors showed pollination rates equal to bagged control flowers, indicating pollination failure in isolated fragments. This indicates, for the first time, that corridors benefit tropical forest ecosystems beyond boosting local species richness, by functionally connecting mutualistic network partners. We conclude that small-scale adjustments to landscape configuration safeguard native pollinators and associated pollination services in tropical forest landscapes. PMID:26817765

  19. Bee pollination and fruit set of Coffea arabica and C. canephora (Rubiaceae).

    PubMed

    Klein, Alexandra-Maria; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Tscharntke, Teja

    2003-01-01

    Self-sterile Coffea canephora and self-fertile C. arabica are important cash crops in many tropical countries. We examined the relative importance of insect, wind, and spontaneous self-pollination and the degree of self-fertility of these two coffee species in 24 agroforestry coffee fields in Indonesia. In both species, open pollination and cross pollination by hand led to the highest fruit set. Wind pollination (including self-pollination) led to 16% lower fruit set than open pollination in C. canephora and to 12.3% lower fruit set in C. arabica. Self-pollinated flowers and unmanipulated controls achieved an extremely low fruit set of 10% or less in the self-sterile species, and of 60% and 48%, respectively in the self-fertile species. These results constitute experimental evidence that cross pollination by bees causes a significant increase in fruit set of not only the self-sterile, but also the self-fertile coffee species. The practical implication is that coffee yield may be improved by managing fields for increased flower visitation by bees. PMID:21659091

  20. Proximity to forest edge does not affect crop production despite pollen limitation

    PubMed Central

    Chacoff, Natacha P; Aizen, Marcelo A; Aschero, Valeria

    2008-01-01

    A decline in pollination function has been linked to agriculture expansion and intensification. In northwest Argentina, pollinator visits to grapefruit, a self-compatible but pollinator-dependent crop, decline by approximately 50% at 1 km from forest edges. We evaluated whether this decrease in visitation also reduces the pollination service in this crop. We analysed the quantity and quality of pollen deposited on stigmas, and associated limitation of fruit production at increasing distances (edge: 10, 100, 500 and 1000 m) from the remnants of Yungas forest. We also examined the quantitative and qualitative efficiency of honeybees as pollen vectors. Pollen receipt and pollen tubes in styles decreased with increasing distance from forest edge; however, this decline did not affect fruit production. Supplementation of natural pollen with self- and cross-pollen revealed that both pollen quantity and quality limited fruit production. Despite pollen limitation, honeybees cannot raise fruit production because they often do not deposit sufficient high-quality pollen per visit to elicit fruit development. However, declines in visitation frequency well below seven visits during a flower's lifespan could decrease production beyond current yields. In this context, the preservation of forest remnants, which act as pollinator sources, could contribute to resilience in crop production. Like wild plants, pollen limitation of the yield among animal-pollinated crops may be common and indicative not only of pollinator scarcity, but also of poor pollination quality, whereby pollinator efficiency, rather than just abundance, can play a broader role than previously appreciated. PMID:18230596

  1. Modelling pollination services across agricultural landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Lonsdorf, Eric; Kremen, Claire; Ricketts, Taylor; Winfree, Rachael; Williams, Neal; Greenleaf, Sarah

    2009-01-01

    Background and Aims Crop pollination by bees and other animals is an essential ecosystem service. Ensuring the maintenance of the service requires a full understanding of the contributions of landscape elements to pollinator populations and crop pollination. Here, the first quantitative model that predicts pollinator abundance on a landscape is described and tested. Methods Using information on pollinator nesting resources, floral resources and foraging distances, the model predicts the relative abundance of pollinators within nesting habitats. From these nesting areas, it then predicts relative abundances of pollinators on the farms requiring pollination services. Model outputs are compared with data from coffee in Costa Rica, watermelon and sunflower in California and watermelon in New Jersey–Pennsylvania (NJPA). Key Results Results from Costa Rica and California, comparing field estimates of pollinator abundance, richness or services with model estimates, are encouraging, explaining up to 80 % of variance among farms. However, the model did not predict observed pollinator abundances on NJPA, so continued model improvement and testing are necessary. The inability of the model to predict pollinator abundances in the NJPA landscape may be due to not accounting for fine-scale floral and nesting resources within the landscapes surrounding farms, rather than the logic of our model. Conclusions The importance of fine-scale resources for pollinator service delivery was supported by sensitivity analyses indicating that the model's predictions depend largely on estimates of nesting and floral resources within crops. Despite the need for more research at the finer-scale, the approach fills an important gap by providing quantitative and mechanistic model from which to evaluate policy decisions and develop land-use plans that promote pollination conservation and service delivery. PMID:19324897

  2. Fragmentation can increase spatial genetic structure without decreasing pollen-mediated gene flow in a wind-pollinated tree.

    PubMed

    Wang, Rong; Compton, Stephen G; Chen, Xiao-Yong

    2011-11-01

    Fragmentation reduces population sizes, increases isolation between habitats and can result in restricted dispersal of pollen and seeds. Given that diploid seed dispersal contributes more to shaping fine-scale spatial genetic structure (SGS) than haploid pollen flow, we tested whether fine-scale SGS can be sensitive to fragmentation even if extensive pollen dispersal is maintained. Castanopsis sclerophylla (Lindley & Paxton) Schottky (Fagaceae), a wind-pollinated and gravity seed-dispersed tree, was studied in an area of southeast China where its populations have been fragmented to varying extents by human activity. Using different age classes of trees in areas subject to varying extents of fragmentation, we found no significant difference in genetic diversity between prefragmentation vs. postfragmentation C. sclerophylla subpopulations. Genetic differentiation among postfragmentation subpopulations was also only slightly lower than among prefragmentation subpopulations. In the most fragmented habitat, selfing rates were significantly higher than zero in prefragmentation, but not postfragmentation, cohorts. These results suggest that fragmentation had not decreased gene flow among these populations and that pollen flow remains extensive. However, significantly greater fine-scale SGS was found in postfragmentation subpopulations in the most fragmented habitat, but not in less fragmented habitats. This alteration in SGS reflected more restricted seed dispersal, induced by changes in the physical environments and the prevention of secondary seed dispersal by rodents. An increase in SGS can therefore result from more restricted seed dispersal, even in the face of extensive pollen flow, making it a sensitive indicator of the negative consequences of population fragmentation. PMID:21981067

  3. Manipulating cover crops to increase mycorrhizal colonization in corn (Zea mays)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Field studies were performed to determine the influence of cover crop treatments on the abundance of mycorrhizal fungi which can increase nutrient uptake by cash crops. Replicated plots established in spring wheat were assigned to eight cover crop treatments: No cover crop, winter canola, oats, hai...

  4. Linking pollinator visitation rate and pollen receipt.

    PubMed

    Cayenne Engel, E; Irwin, Rebecca E

    2003-11-01

    The majority of flowering plants require animals for pollination, a critical ecosystem service in natural and agricultural systems. However, quantifying useful estimates of pollinator visitation rates can be nearly impossible when pollinator visitation is infrequent. We examined the utility of an indirect measure of pollinator visitation, namely pollen receipt by flowers, using the hummingbird-pollinated plant, Ipomopsis aggregata (Polemoniaceae). Our a priori hypothesis was that increased pollinator visitation should result in increased pollen receipt by stigmas. However, the relationship between pollinator visitation rate and pollen receipt may be misleading if pollen receipt is a function of both the number of pollinator visits and variation in pollinator efficiency at depositing pollen, especially in the context of variable floral morphology. Therefore, we measured floral and plant characters known to be important to pollinator visitation and/or pollen receipt in I. aggregata (corolla length and width and plant height) and used path analysis to dissect and compare the effect of pollinator visitation rate vs. pollinator efficiency on pollen receipt. Of the characters we measured, pollinator visitation rate (number of times plants were visited multiplied by the mean percentage of flowers probed per visit) had the strongest direct positive effect on pollen receipt, explaining 36% of the variation in pollen receipt. Plant height had a direct positive effect on pollinator visitation rate and an indirect positive effect on pollen receipt. Despite the supposition that floral characters would directly affect pollen receipt as a result of changes in pollinator efficiency, corolla length and width only weakly affected pollen receipt. These results suggest a direct positive link between pollinator visitation rate and pollen receipt across naturally varying floral morphology in I. aggregata. Understanding the relationship between pollinator visitation rate and pollen

  5. Insect pollination enhances seed yield, quality, and market value in oilseed rape.

    PubMed

    Bommarco, Riccardo; Marini, Lorenzo; Vaissière, Bernard E

    2012-08-01

    The relationships between landscape intensification, the abundance and diversity of pollinating insects, and their contributions to crop yield, quality, and market value are poorly studied, despite observed declines in wild and domesticated pollinators. Abundance and species richness of pollinating insects were estimated in ten fields of spring oilseed rape, Brassica napus var. SW Stratos™, located along a gradient of landscape compositions ranging from simple landscapes dominated by arable land to heterogeneous landscapes with extensive cover of semi-natural habitats. In each field, we assessed the contribution of wind and insect pollination to seed yield, seed quality (individual seed weight and oil and chlorophyll contents), and market value in a block experiment with four replicates and two treatments: (1) all flowers were accessible to insects, self and wind pollination, and (2) flowers enclosed in tulle net bags (mesh: 1 × 1 mm) were accessible only to wind and self pollination. Complex landscapes enhanced the overall abundance of wild insects as well as the abundance and species richness of hoverflies. This did not translate to a higher yield, probably due to consistent pollination by honey bees across all fields. However, the pollination experiment showed that insects increased seed weight per plant by 18% and market value by 20%. Seed quality was enhanced by insect pollination, rendering heavier seeds as well as higher oil and lower chlorophyll contents, clearly showing that insect pollination is required to reach high seed yield and quality in oilseed rape. Our study demonstrates considerable and previously underestimated contributions from pollinating insects to both the yield and the market value of oilseed rape. PMID:22311256

  6. The Neonicotinoid Insecticide Imidacloprid Repels Pollinating Flies and Beetles at Field-Realistic Concentrations

    PubMed Central

    Easton, Amy H.; Goulson, Dave

    2013-01-01

    Neonicotinoids are widely used systemic insecticides which, when applied to flowering crops, are translocated to the nectar and pollen where they may impact upon pollinators. Given global concerns over pollinator declines, this potential impact has recently received much attention. Field exposure of pollinators to neonicotinoids depends on the concentrations present in flowering crops and the degree to which pollinators choose to feed upon them. Here we describe a simple experiment using paired yellow pan traps with or without insecticide to assess whether the commonly used neonicotinoid imidacloprid repels or attracts flying insects. Both Diptera and Coleoptera exhibited marked avoidance of traps containing imidacloprid at a field-realistic dose of 1 µg L−1, with Diptera avoiding concentrations as low as 0.01 µg L−1. This is to our knowledge the first evidence for any biological activity at such low concentrations, which are below the limits of laboratory detection using most commonly available techniques. Catch of spiders in pan traps was also slightly reduced by the highest concentrations of imidacloprid used (1 µg L−1), but catch was increased by lower concentrations. It remains to be seen if the repellent effect on insects occurs when neonicotinoids are present in real flowers, but if so then this could have implications for exposure of pollinators to neonicotinoids and for crop pollination. PMID:23382980

  7. Improved storage of the pollinator, Megachile rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, is the 3rd most common pollinator used for crop pollination in North America and low-temperature storage protocols are a critical component of M. rotundata management. There are four times during the production cycle that bees may need to be subj...

  8. Stingless Bees as Alternative Pollinators of Canola.

    PubMed

    Witter, Sidia; Nunes-Silva, Patrícia; Lisboa, Bruno B; Tirelli, Flavia P; Sattler, Aroni; Both Hilgert-Moreira, Suzane; Blochtein, Betina

    2015-06-01

    Alternative pollinators can ensure pollination services if the availability of the managed or most common pollinator is compromised. In this study, the behavior and pollination efficiency of Apis mellifera L. and two species of stingless bees, Plebeia emerina Friese and Tetragonisca fiebrigi Schwarz, were evaluated and compared in flowers of Brassica napus L. 'Hyola 61'. A. mellifera was an efficient pollinator when collecting nectar because it effectively touched the reproductive organs of the flower. In contrast, stingless bees were efficient pollinators only when collecting pollen. The number of pollen grains deposited on the stigma after a single visit by worker bees of the three species was greater than the number of grains resulting from pollination without the bee visits. On average, the three species deposited enough pollen grains to fertilize all of the flower ovules. A. mellifera and P. emerina had similar pollination efficiency because no significant differences were observed in the characteristics of the siliques produced. Although T. fiebrigi is also an effective pollinator, the seed mass produced by their pollination was lower. Native bees promoted similar rates of fruit set compared with A. mellifera. Thus, P. emerina has potential to be used for pollination in canola crops. PMID:26470207

  9. Apple Pollination: Demand Depends on Variety and Supply Depends on Pollinator Identity.

    PubMed

    Garratt, M P D; Breeze, T D; Boreux, V; Fountain, M T; McKerchar, M; Webber, S M; Coston, D J; Jenner, N; Dean, R; Westbury, D B; Biesmeijer, J C; Potts, S G

    2016-01-01

    Insect pollination underpins apple production but the extent to which different pollinator guilds supply this service, particularly across different apple varieties, is unknown. Such information is essential if appropriate orchard management practices are to be targeted and proportional to the potential benefits pollinator species may provide. Here we use a novel combination of pollinator effectiveness assays (floral visit effectiveness), orchard field surveys (flower visitation rate) and pollinator dependence manipulations (pollinator exclusion experiments) to quantify the supply of pollination services provided by four different pollinator guilds to the production of four commercial varieties of apple. We show that not all pollinators are equally effective at pollinating apples, with hoverflies being less effective than solitary bees and bumblebees, and the relative abundance of different pollinator guilds visiting apple flowers of different varieties varies significantly. Based on this, the taxa specific economic benefits to UK apple production have been established. The contribution of insect pollinators to the economic output in all varieties was estimated to be £92.1M across the UK, with contributions varying widely across taxa: solitary bees (£51.4M), honeybees (£21.4M), bumblebees (£18.6M) and hoverflies (£0.7M). This research highlights the differences in the economic benefits of four insect pollinator guilds to four major apple varieties in the UK. This information is essential to underpin appropriate investment in pollination services management and provides a model that can be used in other entomolophilous crops to improve our understanding of crop pollination ecology. PMID:27152628

  10. Apple Pollination: Demand Depends on Variety and Supply Depends on Pollinator Identity

    PubMed Central

    Garratt, M. P. D.; Breeze, T. D.; Boreux, V.; Coston, D. J.; Jenner, N.; Dean, R.; Westbury, D. B.; Biesmeijer, J. C.; Potts, S. G.

    2016-01-01

    Insect pollination underpins apple production but the extent to which different pollinator guilds supply this service, particularly across different apple varieties, is unknown. Such information is essential if appropriate orchard management practices are to be targeted and proportional to the potential benefits pollinator species may provide. Here we use a novel combination of pollinator effectiveness assays (floral visit effectiveness), orchard field surveys (flower visitation rate) and pollinator dependence manipulations (pollinator exclusion experiments) to quantify the supply of pollination services provided by four different pollinator guilds to the production of four commercial varieties of apple. We show that not all pollinators are equally effective at pollinating apples, with hoverflies being less effective than solitary bees and bumblebees, and the relative abundance of different pollinator guilds visiting apple flowers of different varieties varies significantly. Based on this, the taxa specific economic benefits to UK apple production have been established. The contribution of insect pollinators to the economic output in all varieties was estimated to be £92.1M across the UK, with contributions varying widely across taxa: solitary bees (£51.4M), honeybees (£21.4M), bumblebees (£18.6M) and hoverflies (£0.7M). This research highlights the differences in the economic benefits of four insect pollinator guilds to four major apple varieties in the UK. This information is essential to underpin appropriate investment in pollination services management and provides a model that can be used in other entomolophilous crops to improve our understanding of crop pollination ecology. PMID:27152628

  11. Bird pollination of Canary Island endemic plants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ollerton, Jeff; Cranmer, Louise; Stelzer, Ralph J.; Sullivan, Steve; Chittka, Lars

    2009-02-01

    The Canary Islands are home to a guild of endemic, threatened bird-pollinated plants. Previous work has suggested that these plants evolved floral traits as adaptations to pollination by flower specialist sunbirds, but subsequently, they appear to have co-opted generalist passerine birds as sub-optimal pollinators. To test this idea, we carried out a quantitative study of the pollination biology of three of the bird-pollinated plants, Canarina canariensis (Campanulaceae), Isoplexis canariensis (Veronicaceae) and Lotus berthelotii (Fabaceae), on the island of Tenerife. Using colour vision models, we predicted the detectability of flowers to bird and bee pollinators. We measured pollinator visitation rates, nectar standing crops as well as seed-set and pollen removal and deposition. These data showed that the plants are effectively pollinated by non-flower specialist passerine birds that only occasionally visit flowers. The large nectar standing crops and extended flower longevities (>10 days) of Canarina and Isoplexis suggests that they have evolved a bird pollination system that effectively exploits these low frequency non-specialist pollen vectors and is in no way sub-optimal. Seed set in two of the three species was high and was significantly reduced or zero in flowers where pollinator access was restricted. In L. berthelotii, however, no fruit set was observed, probably because the plants were self-incompatible horticultural clones of a single genet. We also show that, while all three species are easily detectable for birds, the orange Canarina and the red Lotus (but less so the yellow-orange Isoplexis) should be difficult to detect for insect pollinators without specialised red receptors, such as bumblebees. Contrary to expectations if we accept that the flowers are primarily adapted to sunbird pollination, the chiffchaff ( Phylloscopus canariensis) was an effective pollinator of these species.

  12. Crop Insurance Increases Water Withdrawals for Irrigation in Agriculture

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Konar, M.; Deryugina, T.; Lin, X.

    2015-12-01

    Agricultural production remains particularly vulnerable to weather fluctuations and extreme events, such as droughts, floods, and heat waves. Crop insurance is a risk management tool that has been developed to mitigate some of this weather risk and protect farmer income in times of poor production. However, it is not clear what the implications of crop insurance are for crop irrigation. By providing a guaranteed level of income in case of crop failure, crop insurance can reduce the farmer's incentive to irrigate. Thus, crop insurance can decrease water use in times of drought and promote water sustainability. However, to minimize this "moral hazard", the insurer may require farmers to irrigate crops more than necessary. Further, by shifting crop production, crop insurance may increase demand for water. Thus, it is unclear whether crop insurance increases or decreases crop water use. Here, we determine the empirical relationship between crop insurance and irrigation withdrawals in the United States. To establish causality, we exploit variation in crop insurance policies over time, using an instrumental variables approach. We find that a 1% increase in insured crop acreage leads to a 0.223% increase in irrigation withdrawals, primarily from groundwater aquifers.

  13. Agroecosystem diversity and pollinator ecosystem services on the northern Great Plains

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The northern Great Plains provide critical habitat to pollinators. In 2012, North and South Dakota produced one-third of the total honey in the U.S. According to large scale analyses, crop diversity in the northern Great Plains has increased during the past 35 years. Increased diversity, greater com...

  14. Distance from forest edge affects bee pollinators in oilseed rape fields.

    PubMed

    Bailey, Samantha; Requier, Fabrice; Nusillard, Benoît; Roberts, Stuart P M; Potts, Simon G; Bouget, Christophe

    2014-02-01

    Wild pollinators have been shown to enhance the pollination of Brassica napus (oilseed rape) and thus increase its market value. Several studies have previously shown that pollination services are greater in crops adjoining forest patches or other seminatural habitats than in crops completely surrounded by other crops. In this study, we investigated the specific importance of forest edges in providing potential pollinators in B. napus fields in two areas in France. Bees were caught with yellow pan traps at increasing distances from both warm and cold forest edges into B. napus fields during the blooming period. A total of 4594 individual bees, representing six families and 83 taxa, were collected. We found that both bee abundance and taxa richness were negatively affected by the distance from forest edge. However, responses varied between bee groups and edge orientations. The ITD (Inter-Tegular distance) of the species, a good proxy for bee foraging range, seems to limit how far the bees can travel from the forest edge. We found a greater abundance of cuckoo bees (Nomada spp.) of Andrena spp. and Andrena spp. males at forest edges, which we assume indicate suitable nesting sites, or at least mating sites, for some abundant Andrena species and their parasites (Fig. 1). Synthesis and Applications. This study provides one of the first examples in temperate ecosystems of how forest edges may actually act as a reservoir of potential pollinators and directly benefit agricultural crops by providing nesting or mating sites for important early spring pollinators. Policy-makers and land managers should take forest edges into account and encourage their protection in the agricultural matrix to promote wild bees and their pollination services. PMID:24634722

  15. Distance from forest edge affects bee pollinators in oilseed rape fields

    PubMed Central

    Bailey, Samantha; Requier, Fabrice; Nusillard, Benoît; Roberts, Stuart P M; Potts, Simon G; Bouget, Christophe

    2014-01-01

    Wild pollinators have been shown to enhance the pollination of Brassica napus (oilseed rape) and thus increase its market value. Several studies have previously shown that pollination services are greater in crops adjoining forest patches or other seminatural habitats than in crops completely surrounded by other crops. In this study, we investigated the specific importance of forest edges in providing potential pollinators in B. napus fields in two areas in France. Bees were caught with yellow pan traps at increasing distances from both warm and cold forest edges into B. napus fields during the blooming period. A total of 4594 individual bees, representing six families and 83 taxa, were collected. We found that both bee abundance and taxa richness were negatively affected by the distance from forest edge. However, responses varied between bee groups and edge orientations. The ITD (Inter-Tegular distance) of the species, a good proxy for bee foraging range, seems to limit how far the bees can travel from the forest edge. We found a greater abundance of cuckoo bees (Nomada spp.) of Andrena spp. and Andrena spp. males at forest edges, which we assume indicate suitable nesting sites, or at least mating sites, for some abundant Andrena species and their parasites (Fig. 1). Synthesis and Applications. This study provides one of the first examples in temperate ecosystems of how forest edges may actually act as a reservoir of potential pollinators and directly benefit agricultural crops by providing nesting or mating sites for important early spring pollinators. Policy-makers and land managers should take forest edges into account and encourage their protection in the agricultural matrix to promote wild bees and their pollination services. PMID:24634722

  16. The Robustness of Plant-Pollinator Assemblages: Linking Plant Interaction Patterns and Sensitivity to Pollinator Loss

    PubMed Central

    Astegiano, Julia; Massol, François; Vidal, Mariana Morais; Cheptou, Pierre-Olivier; Guimarães, Paulo R.

    2015-01-01

    partners may increase the probability of disruption of interactions, the fact that the plants most sensitive to pollinator loss interacted with more particular pollinator assemblages suggest that the persistence of these plants and their pollinators might be highly compromised. PMID:25646762

  17. The robustness of plant-pollinator assemblages: linking plant interaction patterns and sensitivity to pollinator loss.

    PubMed

    Astegiano, Julia; Massol, François; Vidal, Mariana Morais; Cheptou, Pierre-Olivier; Guimarães, Paulo R

    2015-01-01

    partners may increase the probability of disruption of interactions, the fact that the plants most sensitive to pollinator loss interacted with more particular pollinator assemblages suggest that the persistence of these plants and their pollinators might be highly compromised. PMID:25646762

  18. A transformation method for obtaining marker-free plants of a cross-pollinating and vegetatively propagated crop.

    PubMed

    de Vetten, Nick; Wolters, Anne-Marie; Raemakers, Krit; van der Meer, Ingrid; ter Stege, Renaldo; Heeres, Els; Heeres, Paul; Visser, Richard

    2003-04-01

    It is generally thought that transformation of plant cells using Agrobacterium tumefaciens occurs at a very low frequency. Therefore, selection marker genes are used to identify the rare plants that have taken up foreign DNA. Genes encoding antibiotic and herbicide resistance are widely used for this purpose in plant transformation. Over the past several years, consumer and environmental groups have expressed concern about the use of antibiotic- and herbicide-resistance genes from an ecological and food safety perspective. Although no scientific basis has been determined for these concerns, generating marker-free plants would certainly contribute to the public acceptance of transgenic crops. Several methods have been reported to create marker gene-free transformed plants, for example co-transformation, transposable elements, site-specific recombination, or intrachromosomal recombination. Not only are most of these systems time-consuming and inefficient, but they are also employed on the assumption that isolation of transformants without a selective marker gene is not feasible. Here we present a method that permits the identification of transgenic plants without the use of selectable markers. This strategy relies on the transformation of tissue explants or cells with a virulent A. tumefaciens strain and selection of transformed cells or shoots after PCR analysis. Incubation of potato explants with A. tumefaciens strain AGL0 resulted in transformed shoots at an efficiency of 1-5% of the harvested shoots, depending on the potato genotype used. Because this system does not require genetic segregation or site-specific DNA-deletion systems to remove marker genes, it may provide a reliable and efficient tool for generating transgenic plants for commercial use, especially in vegetatively propagated species like potato and cassava. PMID:12627169

  19. Exotic plant infestation is associated with decreased modularity and increased numbers of connectors in mixed-grass prairie pollination networks

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Larson, Diane L.; Rabie, Paul A.; Droege, Sam; Larson, Jennifer L.; Haar, Milton

    2016-01-01

    The majority of pollinating insects are generalists whose lifetimes overlap flowering periods of many potentially suitable plant species. Such generality is instrumental in allowing exotic plant species to invade pollination networks. The particulars of how existing networks change in response to an invasive plant over the course of its phenology are not well characterized, but may shed light on the probability of long-term effects on plant-pollinator interactions and the stability of network structure. Here we describe changes in network topology and modular structure of infested and non-infested networks during the flowering season of the generalist non-native flowering plant, Cirsium arvense in mixed-grass prairie at Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA. Objectives were to compare network-level effects of infestation as they propagate over the season in infested and non-infested (with respect to C. arvense) networks. We characterized plant-pollinator networks on 5 non-infested and 7 infested 1-ha plots during 4 sample periods that collectively covered the length of C. arvense flowering period. Two other abundantly-flowering invasive plants were present during this time: Melilotus officinalis had highly variable floral abundance in both C. arvense-infested and non-infested plots andConvolvulus arvensis, which occurred almost exclusively in infested plots and peaked early in the season. Modularity, including roles of individual species, and network topology were assessed for each sample period as well as in pooled infested and non-infested networks. Differences in modularity and network metrics between infested and non-infested networks were limited to the third and fourth sample periods, during flower senescence of C. arvenseand the other invasive species; generality of pollinators rose concurrently, suggesting rewiring of the network and a lag effect of earlier floral abundance. Modularity was lower and number of connectors higher in infested

  20. Exotic Plant Infestation Is Associated with Decreased Modularity and Increased Numbers of Connectors in Mixed-Grass Prairie Pollination Networks

    PubMed Central

    Larson, Diane L.; Rabie, Paul A.; Droege, Sam; Larson, Jennifer L.; Haar, Milton

    2016-01-01

    The majority of pollinating insects are generalists whose lifetimes overlap flowering periods of many potentially suitable plant species. Such generality is instrumental in allowing exotic plant species to invade pollination networks. The particulars of how existing networks change in response to an invasive plant over the course of its phenology are not well characterized, but may shed light on the probability of long-term effects on plant-pollinator interactions and the stability of network structure. Here we describe changes in network topology and modular structure of infested and non-infested networks during the flowering season of the generalist non-native flowering plant, Cirsium arvense in mixed-grass prairie at Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA. Objectives were to compare network-level effects of infestation as they propagate over the season in infested and non-infested (with respect to C. arvense) networks. We characterized plant-pollinator networks on 5 non-infested and 7 infested 1-ha plots during 4 sample periods that collectively covered the length of C. arvense flowering period. Two other abundantly-flowering invasive plants were present during this time: Melilotus officinalis had highly variable floral abundance in both C. arvense-infested and non-infested plots and Convolvulus arvensis, which occurred almost exclusively in infested plots and peaked early in the season. Modularity, including roles of individual species, and network topology were assessed for each sample period as well as in pooled infested and non-infested networks. Differences in modularity and network metrics between infested and non-infested networks were limited to the third and fourth sample periods, during flower senescence of C. arvense and the other invasive species; generality of pollinators rose concurrently, suggesting rewiring of the network and a lag effect of earlier floral abundance. Modularity was lower and number of connectors higher in infested networks

  1. Exotic Plant Infestation Is Associated with Decreased Modularity and Increased Numbers of Connectors in Mixed-Grass Prairie Pollination Networks.

    PubMed

    Larson, Diane L; Rabie, Paul A; Droege, Sam; Larson, Jennifer L; Haar, Milton

    2016-01-01

    The majority of pollinating insects are generalists whose lifetimes overlap flowering periods of many potentially suitable plant species. Such generality is instrumental in allowing exotic plant species to invade pollination networks. The particulars of how existing networks change in response to an invasive plant over the course of its phenology are not well characterized, but may shed light on the probability of long-term effects on plant-pollinator interactions and the stability of network structure. Here we describe changes in network topology and modular structure of infested and non-infested networks during the flowering season of the generalist non-native flowering plant, Cirsium arvense in mixed-grass prairie at Badlands National Park, South Dakota, USA. Objectives were to compare network-level effects of infestation as they propagate over the season in infested and non-infested (with respect to C. arvense) networks. We characterized plant-pollinator networks on 5 non-infested and 7 infested 1-ha plots during 4 sample periods that collectively covered the length of C. arvense flowering period. Two other abundantly-flowering invasive plants were present during this time: Melilotus officinalis had highly variable floral abundance in both C. arvense-infested and non-infested plots and Convolvulus arvensis, which occurred almost exclusively in infested plots and peaked early in the season. Modularity, including roles of individual species, and network topology were assessed for each sample period as well as in pooled infested and non-infested networks. Differences in modularity and network metrics between infested and non-infested networks were limited to the third and fourth sample periods, during flower senescence of C. arvense and the other invasive species; generality of pollinators rose concurrently, suggesting rewiring of the network and a lag effect of earlier floral abundance. Modularity was lower and number of connectors higher in infested networks

  2. Pollination Ecology: Overview of Pollination and the Foraging Behavior of Honey Bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Honey bee pollination is an essential part of the production of crops that comprise more than a third of U.S. agriculture. This chapter of "The Hive and the Honey Bee" contains an overview of how honey bee foraging behavior results in the pollination of flowers and the formation of seeds, fruits an...

  3. A Tale of Two Bees: Looking at Pollination Fees for Both Almonds and Sweet Cherries

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The economic theory of supply and demand can explain the recent drastic changes in the pollination prices for almonds and cherries, following large acreage increases for these crops and a concurrent drop in honey bee availability due to colony collapse disorder (CCD). We constructed a model which s...

  4. Increasing Cropping System Diversity Balances Productivity, Profitability and Environmental Health

    PubMed Central

    Davis, Adam S.; Hill, Jason D.; Chase, Craig A.; Johanns, Ann M.; Liebman, Matt

    2012-01-01

    Balancing productivity, profitability, and environmental health is a key challenge for agricultural sustainability. Most crop production systems in the United States are characterized by low species and management diversity, high use of fossil energy and agrichemicals, and large negative impacts on the environment. We hypothesized that cropping system diversification would promote ecosystem services that would supplement, and eventually displace, synthetic external inputs used to maintain crop productivity. To test this, we conducted a field study from 2003–2011 in Iowa that included three contrasting systems varying in length of crop sequence and inputs. We compared a conventionally managed 2-yr rotation (maize-soybean) that received fertilizers and herbicides at rates comparable to those used on nearby farms with two more diverse cropping systems: a 3-yr rotation (maize-soybean-small grain + red clover) and a 4-yr rotation (maize-soybean-small grain + alfalfa-alfalfa) managed with lower synthetic N fertilizer and herbicide inputs and periodic applications of cattle manure. Grain yields, mass of harvested products, and profit in the more diverse systems were similar to, or greater than, those in the conventional system, despite reductions of agrichemical inputs. Weeds were suppressed effectively in all systems, but freshwater toxicity of the more diverse systems was two orders of magnitude lower than in the conventional system. Results of our study indicate that more diverse cropping systems can use small amounts of synthetic agrichemical inputs as powerful tools with which to tune, rather than drive, agroecosystem performance, while meeting or exceeding the performance of less diverse systems. PMID:23071739

  5. Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) pollination in California's Central Valley is limited by native bee nest site location.

    PubMed

    Sardiñas, Hillary S; Tom, Kathleen; Ponisio, Lauren Catherine; Rominger, Andrew; Kremen, Claire

    2016-03-01

    within sunflower fields, with edges receiving higher coverage than field centers. To generate more accurate maps of services, we advocate directly measuring the autecology of ecosystem service providers, which vary by crop system, pollinator species, and region. Improving estimates of the factors affecting pollinator populations can increase the accuracy of pollination service maps and help clarify the influence of farming practices on wild bees occurring in agricultural landscapes. PMID:27209786

  6. Increasing cropping system diversity balances productivity, profitability and environmental health

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Balancing productivity, profitability, and environmental health is a key challenge for agricultural sustainability. Most crop production systems in the United States are characterized by low species and management diversity, high use of fossil energy and agrichemicals, and can have large negative im...

  7. Increasing diveristy of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in agroecosystems using specific cover crops

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Fall-planted cover crops provide a plant host for obligate symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) during otherwise fallow periods and thus may increase AMF numbers in agroecosystems. Increased AMF numbers should increase mycorrhizal colonization of the subsequent cash crops, which has been li...

  8. Pollinators visit related plant species across 29 plant–pollinator networks

    PubMed Central

    Vamosi, Jana C; Moray, Clea M; Garcha, Navdeep K; Chamberlain, Scott A; Mooers, Arne Ø

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the evolution of specialization in host plant use by pollinators is often complicated by variability in the ecological context of specialization. Flowering communities offer their pollinators varying numbers and proportions of floral resources, and the uniformity observed in these floral resources is, to some degree, due to shared ancestry. Here, we find that pollinators visit related plant species more so than expected by chance throughout 29 plant–pollinator networks of varying sizes, with “clade specialization” increasing with community size. As predicted, less versatile pollinators showed more clade specialization overall. We then asked whether this clade specialization varied with the ratio of pollinator species to plant species such that pollinators were changing their behavior when there was increased competition (and presumably a forced narrowing of the realized niche) by examining pollinators that were present in at least three of the networks. Surprisingly, we found little evidence that variation in clade specialization is caused by pollinator species changing their behavior in different community contexts, suggesting that clade specialization is observed when pollinators are either restricted in their floral choices due to morphological constraints or innate preferences. The resulting pollinator sharing between closely related plant species could result in selection for greater pollinator specialization. PMID:25360269

  9. Valuing Insect Pollination Services with Cost of Replacement

    PubMed Central

    Allsopp, Mike H.; de Lange, Willem J.; Veldtman, Ruan

    2008-01-01

    Value estimates of ecosystem goods and services are useful to justify the allocation of resources towards conservation, but inconclusive estimates risk unsustainable resource allocations. Here we present replacement costs as a more accurate value estimate of insect pollination as an ecosystem service, although this method could also be applied to other services. The importance of insect pollination to agriculture is unequivocal. However, whether this service is largely provided by wild pollinators (genuine ecosystem service) or managed pollinators (commercial service), and which of these requires immediate action amidst reports of pollinator decline, remains contested. If crop pollination is used to argue for biodiversity conservation, clear distinction should be made between values of managed- and wild pollination services. Current methods either under-estimate or over-estimate the pollination service value, and make use of criticised general insect and managed pollinator dependence factors. We apply the theoretical concept of ascribing a value to a service by calculating the cost to replace it, as a novel way of valuing wild and managed pollination services. Adjusted insect and managed pollinator dependence factors were used to estimate the cost of replacing insect- and managed pollination services for the Western Cape deciduous fruit industry of South Africa. Using pollen dusting and hand pollination as suitable replacements, we value pollination services significantly higher than current market prices for commercial pollination, although lower than traditional proportional estimates. The complexity associated with inclusive value estimation of pollination services required several defendable assumptions, but made estimates more inclusive than previous attempts. Consequently this study provides the basis for continued improvement in context specific pollination service value estimates. PMID:18781196

  10. Natural and within-farmland biodiversity enhances crop productivity.

    PubMed

    Carvalheiro, Luísa Gigante; Veldtman, Ruan; Shenkute, Awraris Getachew; Tesfay, Gebreamlak Bezabih; Pirk, Christian Walter Werner; Donaldson, John Sydney; Nicolson, Susan Wendy

    2011-03-01

    Ongoing expansion of large-scale agriculture critically threatens natural habitats and the pollination services they offer. Creating patches with high plant diversity within farmland is commonly suggested as a measure to benefit pollinators. However, farmers rarely adopt such practice, instead removing naturally occurring plants (weeds). By combining pollinator exclusion experiments with analysis of honeybee behaviour and flower-visitation webs, we found that the presence of weeds allowed pollinators to persist within sunflower fields, maximizing the benefits of the remaining patches of natural habitat to productivity of this large-scale crop. Weed diversity increased flower visitor diversity, hence ameliorating the measured negative effects of isolation from natural habitat. Although honeybees were the most abundant visitors, diversity of flower visitors enhanced honeybee movement, being the main factor influencing productivity. Conservation of natural patches combined with promoting flowering plants within crops can maximize productivity and, therefore, reduce the need for cropland expansion, contributing towards sustainable agriculture. PMID:21244594

  11. Apis mellifera pollination improves agronomic productivity of anemophilous castor bean (Ricinus communis).

    PubMed

    Rizzardo, Rômulo A G; Milfont, Marcelo O; Silva, Eva M S da; Freitas, Breno M

    2012-12-01

    Castor bean (Ricinus communis L.) is cultivated mainly for biodiesel production because of its oil-rich seeds; it is assumed to be an anemophylous species. But pollination deficit can lead to low productivity often attributed to other reasons. In this paper, we investigated pollination requirements, pollination mechanism, occurrence of pollination deficit, and the role of biotic pollinators in a large commercial plantation of castor bean. Our results show that R. communis bears a mixed breeding system favoring selfing by geitonogamy, although the wind promotes mostly outcrossing. We also found that the honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) foraging on castor bean can both transfer pollen from male to female flowers within the same raceme and boost the release of airborne pollen by male flowers. Both situations increase geitonogamy rates, raising significantly fruit set and seed yield. This is the first report of an animal foraging activity increasing seed yield in an anemophilous and geitonogamous crop and elucidates the role of biotic pollinators in castor bean reproduction. PMID:22990600

  12. Global malnutrition overlaps with pollinator-dependent micronutrient production

    PubMed Central

    Chaplin-Kramer, Rebecca; Dombeck, Emily; Gerber, James; Knuth, Katherine A.; Mueller, Nathaniel D.; Mueller, Megan; Ziv, Guy; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2014-01-01

    Pollinators contribute around 10% of the economic value of crop production globally, but the contribution of these pollinators to human nutrition is potentially much higher. Crops vary in the degree to which they benefit from pollinators, and many of the most pollinator-dependent crops are also among the richest in micronutrients essential to human health. This study examines regional differences in the pollinator dependence of crop micronutrient content and reveals overlaps between this dependency and the severity of micronutrient deficiency in people around the world. As much as 50% of the production of plant-derived sources of vitamin A requires pollination throughout much of Southeast Asia, whereas other essential micronutrients such as iron and folate have lower dependencies, scattered throughout Africa, Asia and Central America. Micronutrient deficiencies are three times as likely to occur in areas of highest pollination dependence for vitamin A and iron, suggesting that disruptions in pollination could have serious implications for the accessibility of micronutrients for public health. These regions of high nutritional vulnerability are understudied in the pollination literature, and should be priority areas for research related to ecosystem services and human well-being. PMID:25232140

  13. Floral divergence, pollinator partitioning and the spatiotemporal pattern of plant-pollinator interactions in three sympatric Adenophora species.

    PubMed

    Liu, Chang-Qiu; Huang, Shuang-Quan

    2013-12-01

    Floral divergence among congeners may relate to differential utilization of pollinators and contribute to reducing overlap in pollination niches. To investigate whether and how floral differences are associated with differential utilization of pollinators in three sympatric Adenophora species, we analyzed floral traits and evaluated the contribution of different visitors to pollination. We compared visitation rates of different pollinator categories in different years and sites. A suite of floral traits differed among the three Adenophora species, suggesting adaptation to diurnal versus nocturnal pollination and an intermediate condition. However, many visitor species were shared among the three plant species, suggesting that floral traits did not rigorously filter visitors. Effective pollinators were large bees and moths. The importance of large bees as pollinators decreased whereas that of moths increased along the gradient from typically bee-pollinated to moth-pollinated flowers. The intermediate species (A. khasiana) differed substantially from the other two species in pollinator species but not in pollinator categories. The principal pollinator category of each species was constant across years and sites except in the intermediate species where it differed between two sites. Overall, the three sympatric species of Adenophora partition pollinators by floral divergence and the principal pollinators coincide with the predictions based on floral syndromes. PMID:23824141

  14. Increased area of a highly suitable host crop increases herbivore pressure in intensified agricultural landscapes

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    tLandscape simplification associated with agricultural intensification has important effects on economi-cally important arthropods. The declining cover of natural and semi-natural habitats, in particular, hasbeen shown to reduce natural-enemy attack of crop pests, but also in some cases reduced crop...

  15. Flowering dynamics and pollinator visitation of oilseed echium (Echium plantagineum).

    PubMed

    Eberle, Carrie A; Forcella, Frank; Gesch, Russ; Weyers, Sharon; Peterson, Dean; Eklund, James

    2014-01-01

    Echium (Echium plantagineum L.) is an alternative oilseed crop in summer-wet temperate regions that provides floral resources to pollinators. Its seed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as stearidonic acid, which is desired highly by the cosmetic industry. Seeds were sown in field plots over three years in western Minnesota in spring (early-sown) or early summer (late-sown), and flower abundance, pollinator visitation, and seed yields were studied. Initial flowering commenced 41 to 55 d after sowing, and anthesis duration (first flowering to harvest) was 34 to 70 d. Late sowing dates delayed anthesis, but increased the intensity of visitation by pollinators. Cumulative flower densities ranged from 1 to 4.5 billion ha-1. Flowers attracted numerous honey bees (Apis mellifera L.), as many as 35 per minute of observation, which represented about 50% of all insect visitors. Early-sown echium produced seed yields up to 750 kg ha-1, which were 2-29 times higher than those of late-sown echium. Early sowing of echium in Minnesota provides abundant floral resources for pollinators for up to two months and simultaneously produces seed yields whose profits rival those of corn (Zea mays L.). PMID:25427071

  16. Flowering Dynamics and Pollinator Visitation of Oilseed Echium (Echium plantagineum)

    PubMed Central

    Eberle, Carrie A.; Forcella, Frank; Gesch, Russ; Weyers, Sharon; Peterson, Dean; Eklund, James

    2014-01-01

    Echium (Echium plantagineum L.) is an alternative oilseed crop in summer-wet temperate regions that provides floral resources to pollinators. Its seed oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as stearidonic acid, which is desired highly by the cosmetic industry. Seeds were sown in field plots over three years in western Minnesota in spring (early-sown) or early summer (late-sown), and flower abundance, pollinator visitation, and seed yields were studied. Initial flowering commenced 41 to 55 d after sowing, and anthesis duration (first flowering to harvest) was 34 to 70 d. Late sowing dates delayed anthesis, but increased the intensity of visitation by pollinators. Cumulative flower densities ranged from 1 to 4.5 billion ha−1. Flowers attracted numerous honey bees (Apis mellifera L.), as many as 35 per minute of observation, which represented about 50% of all insect visitors. Early-sown echium produced seed yields up to 750 kg ha−1, which were 2–29 times higher than those of late-sown echium. Early sowing of echium in Minnesota provides abundant floral resources for pollinators for up to two months and simultaneously produces seed yields whose profits rival those of corn (Zea mays L.). PMID:25427071

  17. Linking pollination effectiveness and interspecific displacement success in bees.

    PubMed

    Ali, M; Saeed, S; Sajjad, A; Akbar, A

    2015-04-01

    Pollen deposition, a surrogate for bee efficiency, becomes increasingly important during their interspecific interactions. We conducted field experiments on highly cross-pollinated melon (Cucumis melo) and watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) in order to understand how bee species with different pollination efficiencies displace each other from floral resources. We observed significant displacement of less abundant but more efficient bees by the more abundant but less efficient bees in both crops, which may lead to deficient pollination. We did not find significant relationship of the bee displacement success and body size or abundance. Apis florea (Fabricius) and Nomia sp.2 (Latreille) had significantly more winner events in melon, while the former also had significantly more winner events in watermelon. A. florea was the only bee species that foraged mostly within the 1-m(2) virtual area after their displacement, which may indicate its behavior of geitinogamous pollination. The two bee species, Ceratina sexmaculata (Smith) and Lasioglossum sp. (Curtis), were more sensitive to displacement as their proportion of leaving the 1-m(2) virtual area was higher. PMID:26013126

  18. Wind-Dragged Corolla Enhances Self-Pollination: A New Mechanism of Delayed Self-Pollination

    PubMed Central

    Qu, Rongming; Li, Xiaojie; Luo, Yibo; Dong, Ming; Xu, Huanli; Chen, Xuan; Dafni, Amots

    2007-01-01

    Background and Aims Delayed self-pollination is a mechanism that allows animal-pollinated plants to outcross while ensuring seed production in the absence of pollinators. This study aims to explore a new mechanism of delayed self-pollination facilitated by wind-driven corolla abscission in Incarvillea sinensis var. sinensis. Methods Floral morphology and development, and the process of delayed self-pollination were surveyed. Experiments dealing with pollinator and wind exclusion, pollination manipulations, and pollinator observations were conducted in the field. Key Results Delayed self-pollination occurs when the abscising corolla driven by wind drags the adherent epipetalous stamens, thus leading to contact of anthers with stigma in late anthesis. There is no dichogamy and self-incompatibility in this species. The significantly higher proportion of abscised corolla under natural conditions as compared with that in wind-excluding tents indicates the importance of wind in corolla abscission. When pollinators were excluded, corolla abscission significantly increased the number of pollen grains deposited on the stigma and, as a result, the fruit and seed set. Only half of the flowers in plots were visited by pollinators, and the fruit set of emasculated flowers was significantly lower than that of untreated flowers in open pollination. This species has a sensitive stigma, and its two open stigmatic lobes closed soon after being touched by a pollinator, but always reopened if no or only little pollen was deposited. Conclusions This delayed self-pollination, which involved the movement of floral parts, the active participation of the wind and sensitive stigma, is quite different from that reported previously. This mechanism provides reproductive assurance for this species. The sensitive stigma contributes to ensuring seed production and reducing the interference of selfing with outcrossing. The pollination pattern, which combines actions by bees with indirect

  19. Variation in highbush blueberry floral volatile profiles as a function of pollination status, cultivar, time of day and flower part: implications for flower visitation by bees

    PubMed Central

    Rodriguez-Saona, Cesar; Parra, Leonardo; Quiroz, Andrés; Isaacs, Rufus

    2011-01-01

    Background and Aims Studies of the effects of pollination on floral scent and bee visitation remain rare, particularly in agricultural crops. To fill this gap, the hypothesis that bee visitation to flowers decreases after pollination through reduced floral volatile emissions in highbush blueberries, Vaccinium corymbosum, was tested. Other sources of variation in floral emissions and the role of floral volatiles in bee attraction were also examined. Methods Pollinator visitation to blueberry flowers was manipulated by bagging all flowers within a bush (pollinator excluded) or leaving them unbagged (open pollinated), and then the effect on floral volatile emissions and future bee visitation were measured. Floral volatiles were also measured from different blueberry cultivars, times of the day and flower parts, and a study was conducted to test the attraction of bees to floral volatiles. Key Results Open-pollinated blueberry flowers had 32 % lower volatile emissions than pollinator-excluded flowers. In particular, cinnamyl alcohol, a major component of the floral blend that is emitted exclusively from petals, was emitted in lower quantities from open-pollinated flowers. Although, no differences in cinnamyl alcohol emissions were detected among three blueberry cultivars or at different times of day, some components of the blueberry floral blend were emitted in higher amounts from certain cultivars and at mid-day. Field observations showed that more bees visited bushes with pollinator-excluded flowers. Also, more honey bees were caught in traps baited with a synthetic blueberry floral blend than in unbaited traps. Conclusions Greater volatile emissions may help guide bees to unpollinated flowers, and thus increase plant fitness and bee energetic return when foraging in blueberries. Furthermore, the variation in volatile emissions from blueberry flowers depending on pollination status, plant cultivar and time of day suggests an adaptive role of floral signals in

  20. Hotspots of human nutrition: Micronutrient supply, demand, and pollinator dependence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dombeck, E.; Chaplin-Kramer, R.; Mueller, M.; Mueller, N. D.; Foley, J. A.

    2012-12-01

    While our caloric needs can mostly be met by wind-pollinated crops such as cereals, a recent analysis of USDA data shows that animal-pollinated crops contain the vast majority of many essential nutrients, including vitamins A and C, calcium, fluoride, and folic acid. In this work we combined global crop yield data with data on nutritional content in each crop to map nutrient production around the world, and to illustrate the value of pollination services to human nutrition. Spatially explicit crop yields (at 5 min resolution) were multiplied by crop nutrient content and by crop dependence on pollination to map where reductions in total nutrient production would occur if pollination services were removed. Nutrient demand maps (human nutrient requirements multiplied by population density) were generated to identify regions where local reduction in pollination services could threaten nutritional security. Nutrient deficiency maps (nutrient supply minus nutrient demand) were also created to identify hotspots where local crop production is not adequate to meet local nutritional needs.

  1. Pollinator limitation on reproductive success in Iris tuberosa.

    PubMed

    Pellegrino, Giuseppe

    2014-01-01

    Variation in plant and floral size can have conflicting effects on pollination and fruit production in flowering plants. This research examines the contributions of plant height, flower size and pollinator visitation to reproductive success in four populations of Iris tuberosa. The plants were pollinated exclusively by hymenopteran species, primarily during sunny days. Pollination supplementation increased the proportion of flowers that matured into fruit, with 95 % fruit set for hand-pollinated compared with 74.15 % for naturally pollinated flowers. The pollinator visitation rate and the proportion of fruit produced were not significantly different between tall and short plants or between small and large flowers. Furthermore, the increase in plant size and floral display did not increase the frequency of pollinator visitations and so did not increase the fruit set. Thus, despite the widespread effects of flowering plant size on pollinator attraction and plant reproduction in other species, these effects are lacking in I. tuberosa. This study quantifies the role of pollinators in the reproductive success of I. tuberosa. Pollinators visited tall/short plants and large/small flowers in equal proportion, suggesting that plant and floral display size do not affect pollinator attraction and reproductive success in I. tuberosa. These results suggest that sexual reproduction of I. tuberosa is fairly limited by pollinators and not by resource limitation. PMID:25527476

  2. Floral Nectar: Pollinator Attraction or Manipulation?

    PubMed

    Pyke, Graham H

    2016-05-01

    The literature suggests that floral nectar acts principally to attract pollinator visitation (and/or revisitation), thereby enhancing plant reproductive success. However, floral nectar also manipulates pollinator behaviour during and immediately following plant visits, affecting pollen transfer, and plant reproduction. I argue that floral nectar should really be viewed as a pollinator manipulant rather than attractant, thus potentially explaining why its concentration is not generally high and why it decreases with increasing pollinator body size. Otherwise, such patterns may remain mysterious and unexplained. PMID:26987770

  3. Evaluating stocker cattle in a southern Piedmont conservation tillage cotton-cover crop system to increase productivity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Cotton producers are often reluctant to plant winter cover crops because of added cost. However, grazing of winter annual cover crops by stocker cattle may help offset cover crop costs and increase farm revenue. Identifying temporal and spatial management needs within cropped/grazed fields can help ...

  4. Orchid pollination by sexual deception: pollinator perspectives.

    PubMed

    Gaskett, A C

    2011-02-01

    The extraordinary taxonomic and morphological diversity of orchids is accompanied by a remarkable range of pollinators and pollination systems. Sexually deceptive orchids are adapted to attract specific male insects that are fooled into attempting to mate with orchid flowers and inadvertently acting as pollinators. This review summarises current knowledge, explores new hypotheses in the literature, and introduces some new approaches to understanding sexual deception from the perspective of the duped pollinator. Four main topics are addressed: (1) global patterns in sexual deception, (2) pollinator identities, mating systems and behaviours, (3) pollinator perception of orchid deceptive signals, and (4) the evolutionary implications of pollinator responses to orchid deception, including potential costs imposed on pollinators by orchids. A global list of known and putative sexually deceptive orchids and their pollinators is provided and methods for incorporating pollinator perspectives into sexual deception research are provided and reviewed. At present, almost all known sexually deceptive orchid taxa are from Australia or Europe. A few sexually deceptive species and genera are reported for New Zealand and South Africa. In Central and Southern America, Asia, and the Pacific many more species are likely to be identified in the future. Despite the great diversity of sexually deceptive orchid genera in Australia, pollination rates reported in the literature are similar between Australian and European species. The typical pollinator of a sexually deceptive orchid is a male insect of a species that is polygynous, monandrous, haplodiploid, and solitary rather than social. Insect behaviours involved in the pollination of sexually deceptive orchids include pre-copulatory gripping of flowers, brief entrapment, mating, and very rarely, ejaculation. Pollinator behaviour varies within and among pollinator species. Deception involving orchid mimicry of insect scent signals is

  5. Modeling Pollinator Community Response to Contrasting Bioenergy Scenarios

    PubMed Central

    Bennett, Ashley B.; Meehan, Timothy D.; Gratton, Claudio; Isaacs, Rufus

    2014-01-01

    In the United States, policy initiatives aimed at increasing sources of renewable energy are advancing bioenergy production, especially in the Midwest region, where agricultural landscapes dominate. While policy directives are focused on renewable fuel production, biodiversity and ecosystem services will be impacted by the land-use changes required to meet production targets. Using data from field observations, we developed empirical models for predicting abundance, diversity, and community composition of flower-visiting bees based on land cover. We used these models to explore how bees might respond under two contrasting bioenergy scenarios: annual bioenergy crop production and perennial grassland bioenergy production. In the two scenarios, 600,000 ha of marginal annual crop land or marginal grassland were converted to perennial grassland or annual row crop bioenergy production, respectively. Model projections indicate that expansion of annual bioenergy crop production at this scale will reduce bee abundance by 0 to 71%, and bee diversity by 0 to 28%, depending on location. In contrast, converting annual crops on marginal soil to perennial grasslands could increase bee abundance from 0 to 600% and increase bee diversity between 0 and 53%. Our analysis of bee community composition suggested a similar pattern, with bee communities becoming less diverse under annual bioenergy crop production, whereas bee composition transitioned towards a more diverse community dominated by wild bees under perennial bioenergy crop production. Models, like those employed here, suggest that bioenergy policies have important consequences for pollinator conservation. PMID:25365559

  6. Modeling pollinator community response to contrasting bioenergy scenarios.

    PubMed

    Bennett, Ashley B; Meehan, Timothy D; Gratton, Claudio; Isaacs, Rufus

    2014-01-01

    In the United States, policy initiatives aimed at increasing sources of renewable energy are advancing bioenergy production, especially in the Midwest region, where agricultural landscapes dominate. While policy directives are focused on renewable fuel production, biodiversity and ecosystem services will be impacted by the land-use changes required to meet production targets. Using data from field observations, we developed empirical models for predicting abundance, diversity, and community composition of flower-visiting bees based on land cover. We used these models to explore how bees might respond under two contrasting bioenergy scenarios: annual bioenergy crop production and perennial grassland bioenergy production. In the two scenarios, 600,000 ha of marginal annual crop land or marginal grassland were converted to perennial grassland or annual row crop bioenergy production, respectively. Model projections indicate that expansion of annual bioenergy crop production at this scale will reduce bee abundance by 0 to 71%, and bee diversity by 0 to 28%, depending on location. In contrast, converting annual crops on marginal soil to perennial grasslands could increase bee abundance from 0 to 600% and increase bee diversity between 0 and 53%. Our analysis of bee community composition suggested a similar pattern, with bee communities becoming less diverse under annual bioenergy crop production, whereas bee composition transitioned towards a more diverse community dominated by wild bees under perennial bioenergy crop production. Models, like those employed here, suggest that bioenergy policies have important consequences for pollinator conservation. PMID:25365559

  7. Pollinator specialization and pollination syndromes of three related North American Silene.

    PubMed

    Reynolds, Richard J; Westbrook, M Jody; Rohde, Alexandra S; Cridland, Julie M; Fenster, Charles B; Dudash, Michele R

    2009-08-01

    . caroliniana was the least specialized with diurnal hawkmoth and large bee pollinators. Compared across the Silene species, divergent floral character states are consistent with increasing the attraction and/or pollen transfer efficiency of their respective major pollinators, which suggests that the pollinators are past and/or contemporary selective agents for floral trait evolution in these three Silene species. We conclude that the pollination syndrome concept allows us to effectively relate the functional significance of floral morphology to the major pollinators of these Silene species. PMID:19739370

  8. Floral neighborhood influences pollinator assemblages and effective pollination in a native plant.

    PubMed

    Bruckman, Daniela; Campbell, Diane R

    2014-10-01

    Pollinators represent an important intermediary by which different plant species can influence each other's reproductive fitness. Floral neighbors can modify the quantity of pollinator visits to a focal species but may also influence the composition of visitor assemblages that plants receive leading to potential changes in the average effectiveness of floral visits. We explored how the heterospecific floral neighborhood (abundance of native and non-native heterospecific plants within 2 m × 2 m) affects pollinator visitation and composition of pollinator assemblages for a native plant, Phacelia parryi. The relative effectiveness of different insect visitors was also assessed to interpret the potential effects on plant fitness of shifts in pollinator assemblage composition. Although the common non-native Brassica nigra did not have a significant effect on overall pollinator visitation rate to P. parryi, the proportion of flower visits that were made by native pollinators increased with increasing abundance of heterospecific plant species in the floral neighborhood other than B. nigra. Furthermore, native pollinators deposited twice as many P. parryi pollen grains per visit as did the nonnative Apis mellifera, and visits by native bees also resulted in more seeds than visits by A. mellifera. These results indicate that the floral neighborhood can influence the composition of pollinator assemblages that visit a native plant and that changes in local flower communities have the potential to affect plant reproductive success through shifts in these assemblages towards less effective pollinators. PMID:25047026

  9. Changes of multispectral soil patterns with increasing crop canopy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kristof, S. J.; Baumgardner, M. F.

    1972-01-01

    Multispectral data and automatic data processing were used to map surface soil patterns and to follow the changes in multispectral radiation from a field of maize (Zea mays L.) during a period from seeding to maturity. Panchromatic aerial photography was obtained in early May 1970 and multispectral scanner missions were flown on May 6, June 30, August 11 and September 5, 1970 to obtain energy measurements in 13 wavelength bands. The orange portion of the visible spectrum was used in analyzing the May and June data to cluster relative radiance of the soils into eight different radiance levels. The reflective infrared spectral band was used in analyzing the August and September data to cluster maize into different spectral categories. The computer-produced soil patterns had a striking similarity to the soil pattern of the aerial photograph. These patterns became less distinct as the maize canopy increased.

  10. Managing Cover Crops, Crop Rotation, and Poultry Manure to Increase Soil Health

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Public interest has been stimulated by increasing awareness that soil is a critically important component of the earth’s biosphere, functioning not only in the production of food and fiber but also in the maintenance of local, regional, and global environmental quality. A healthy soil is also the ba...

  11. Breeding and Domesticating Crops Adapted to Drought and Salinity: A New Paradigm for Increasing Food Production.

    PubMed

    Fita, Ana; Rodríguez-Burruezo, Adrián; Boscaiu, Monica; Prohens, Jaime; Vicente, Oscar

    2015-01-01

    World population is expected to reach 9.2 × 10(9) people by 2050. Feeding them will require a boost in crop productivity using innovative approaches. Current agricultural production is very dependent on large amounts of inputs and water availability is a major limiting factor. In addition, the loss of genetic diversity and the threat of climate change make a change of paradigm in plant breeding and agricultural practices necessary. Average yields in all major crops are only a small fraction of record yields, and drought and soil salinity are the main factors responsible for yield reduction. Therefore there is the need to enhance crop productivity by improving crop adaptation. Here we review the present situation and propose the development of crops tolerant to drought and salt stress for addressing the challenge of dramatically increasing food production in the near future. The success in the development of crops adapted to drought and salt depends on the efficient and combined use of genetic engineering and traditional breeding tools. Moreover, we propose the domestication of new halophilic crops to create a 'saline agriculture' which will not compete in terms of resources with conventional agriculture. PMID:26617620

  12. Breeding and Domesticating Crops Adapted to Drought and Salinity: A New Paradigm for Increasing Food Production

    PubMed Central

    Fita, Ana; Rodríguez-Burruezo, Adrián; Boscaiu, Monica; Prohens, Jaime; Vicente, Oscar

    2015-01-01

    World population is expected to reach 9.2 × 109 people by 2050. Feeding them will require a boost in crop productivity using innovative approaches. Current agricultural production is very dependent on large amounts of inputs and water availability is a major limiting factor. In addition, the loss of genetic diversity and the threat of climate change make a change of paradigm in plant breeding and agricultural practices necessary. Average yields in all major crops are only a small fraction of record yields, and drought and soil salinity are the main factors responsible for yield reduction. Therefore there is the need to enhance crop productivity by improving crop adaptation. Here we review the present situation and propose the development of crops tolerant to drought and salt stress for addressing the challenge of dramatically increasing food production in the near future. The success in the development of crops adapted to drought and salt depends on the efficient and combined use of genetic engineering and traditional breeding tools. Moreover, we propose the domestication of new halophilic crops to create a ‘saline agriculture’ which will not compete in terms of resources with conventional agriculture. PMID:26617620

  13. Pollination and plant resources change the nutritional quality of almonds for human health.

    PubMed

    Brittain, Claire; Kremen, Claire; Garber, Andrea; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2014-01-01

    Insect-pollinated crops provide important nutrients for human health. Pollination, water and nutrients available to crops can influence yield, but it is not known if the nutritional value of the crop is also influenced. Almonds are an important source of critical nutrients for human health such as unsaturated fat and vitamin E. We manipulated the pollination of almond trees and the resources available to the trees, to investigate the impact on the nutritional composition of the crop. The pollination treatments were: (a) exclusion of pollinators to initiate self-pollination and (b) hand cross-pollination; the plant resource treatments were: (c) reduced water and (d) no fertilizer. In an orchard in northern California, trees were exposed to a single treatment or a combination of two (one pollination and one resource). Both the fat and vitamin E composition of the nuts were highly influenced by pollination. Lower proportions of oleic to linoleic acid, which are less desirable from both a health and commercial perspective, were produced by the self-pollinated trees. However, higher levels of vitamin E were found in the self-pollinated nuts. In some cases, combined changes in pollination and plant resources sharpened the pollination effects, even when plant resources were not influencing the nutrients as an individual treatment. This study highlights the importance of insects as providers of cross-pollination for fruit quality that can affect human health, and, for the first time, shows that other environmental factors can sharpen the effect of pollination. This contributes to an emerging field of research investigating the complexity of interactions of ecosystem services affecting the nutritional value and commercial quality of crops. PMID:24587215

  14. Pollination and Plant Resources Change the Nutritional Quality of Almonds for Human Health

    PubMed Central

    Brittain, Claire; Kremen, Claire; Garber, Andrea; Klein, Alexandra-Maria

    2014-01-01

    Insect-pollinated crops provide important nutrients for human health. Pollination, water and nutrients available to crops can influence yield, but it is not known if the nutritional value of the crop is also influenced. Almonds are an important source of critical nutrients for human health such as unsaturated fat and vitamin E. We manipulated the pollination of almond trees and the resources available to the trees, to investigate the impact on the nutritional composition of the crop. The pollination treatments were: (a) exclusion of pollinators to initiate self-pollination and (b) hand cross-pollination; the plant resource treatments were: (c) reduced water and (d) no fertilizer. In an orchard in northern California, trees were exposed to a single treatment or a combination of two (one pollination and one resource). Both the fat and vitamin E composition of the nuts were highly influenced by pollination. Lower proportions of oleic to linoleic acid, which are less desirable from both a health and commercial perspective, were produced by the self-pollinated trees. However, higher levels of vitamin E were found in the self-pollinated nuts. In some cases, combined changes in pollination and plant resources sharpened the pollination effects, even when plant resources were not influencing the nutrients as an individual treatment. This study highlights the importance of insects as providers of cross-pollination for fruit quality that can affect human health, and, for the first time, shows that other environmental factors can sharpen the effect of pollination. This contributes to an emerging field of research investigating the complexity of interactions of ecosystem services affecting the nutritional value and commercial quality of crops. PMID:24587215

  15. Wildlife-friendly farming increases crop yield: evidence for ecological intensification.

    PubMed

    Pywell, Richard F; Heard, Matthew S; Woodcock, Ben A; Hinsley, Shelley; Ridding, Lucy; Nowakowski, Marek; Bullock, James M

    2015-10-01

    Ecological intensification has been promoted as a means to achieve environmentally sustainable increases in crop yields by enhancing ecosystem functions that regulate and support production. There is, however, little direct evidence of yield benefits from ecological intensification on commercial farms growing globally important foodstuffs (grains, oilseeds and pulses). We replicated two treatments removing 3 or 8% of land at the field edge from production to create wildlife habitat in 50-60 ha patches over a 900 ha commercial arable farm in central England, and compared these to a business as usual control (no land removed). In the control fields, crop yields were reduced by as much as 38% at the field edge. Habitat creation in these lower yielding areas led to increased yield in the cropped areas of the fields, and this positive effect became more pronounced over 6 years. As a consequence, yields at the field scale were maintained--and, indeed, enhanced for some crops--despite the loss of cropland for habitat creation. These results suggested that over a 5-year crop rotation, there would be no adverse impact on overall yield in terms of monetary value or nutritional energy. This study provides a clear demonstration that wildlife-friendly management which supports ecosystem services is compatible with, and can even increase, crop yields. PMID:26423846

  16. More crop per drop - Increasing input efficiency in sprinkler irrigated potatoes.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kostka, Stan; Fang, Lisa; Ren, Haiqin; Glucksman, Robert; Gadd, Nick

    2014-05-01

    Water scarcity, climate change, and population growth are significant global challenges for producing sufficient food, fiber, and fuel in the 21st century. Feeding an increasingly hungry world necessitates innovative strategies and technologies to maximize crop production outputs while simultaneously increasing crop water productivity. In the 20th century, major advances in precision irrigation enabled producers to increase productivity while more efficiently applying water to crops. While pressurized irrigation systems can deliver water effectively to the soil surface, the efficiency of rootzone delivery may be compromised by intrinsic heterogeneities in soil wetting characteristics related to organic matter, biofilms, and hydrophobic coatings on soil particles and aggregates. Efficiently delivering applied irrigation water throughout the soil matrix is critical to increasing crop productivity. We propose that management of soil water access by surfactants is a viable management option to maintain or increase yields under deficit irrigation. Potato yield and tuber quality under sprinkler irrigation were evaluated under standard production practices or with the inclusion of an aqueous nonionic surfactant formulation (10 wt% alkoxylated polyols and 7% glucoethers) applied at 10L ha-1 between emergence and tuberization. Crop responses from multi-year evaluations conducted on irrigated potatoes in Idaho (USA) were compared to multi-year on farm grower evaluations in Australia and China. Surfactant treatment resulted in statistically significant increases in yield (+5%) and US No. 1 grades (+8%) while reducing culls (-10%) in trials conducted in Idaho, USA. Similar responses were observed in commercial grower evaluations conducted in Australia (+8% total yield, +18% mean tuber weight) and in China in 2011 (+8% total yield and +18% premium, -12% culls). Under diverse production conditions, a single application of the surfactant formulation improved crop water

  17. Indirect Effects of Field Management on Pollination Service and Seed Set in Hybrid Onion Seed Production.

    PubMed

    Gillespie, Sandra; Long, Rachael; Williams, Neal

    2015-12-01

    Pollination in crops, as in native ecosystems, is a stepwise process that can be disrupted at any stage. Healthy pollinator populations are critical for adequate visitation, but pollination still might fail if crop management interferes with the attraction and retention of pollinators. Farmers must balance the direct benefits of applying insecticide and managing irrigation rates against their potential to indirectly interfere with the pollination process. We investigated these issues in hybrid onion seed production, where previous research has shown that high insecticide use reduces pollinator attraction. We conducted field surveys of soil moisture, nectar production, pollinator visitation, pollen-stigma interactions, and seed set at multiple commercial fields across 2 yr. We then examined how management actions, such as irrigation rate (approximated by soil moisture), or insecticide use could affect the pollination process. Onions produced maximum nectar at intermediate soil moisture, and high nectar production attracted more pollinators. Insecticide use weakly affected pollinator visitation, but when applied close to bloom reduced pollen germination and pollen tube growth. Ultimately, neither soil moisture nor insecticide use directly affected seed set, but the high correlation between pollinator visitation and seed set suggests that crop management will ultimately affect yields via indirect effects on the pollination process. PMID:26470371

  18. African crop yield reductions due to increasingly unbalanced Nitrogen and Phosphorus consumption

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van der Velde, Marijn; Folberth, Christian; Balkovič, Juraj; Ciais, Philippe; Fritz, Steffen; Janssens, Ivan A.; Obersteiner, Michael; See, Linda; Skalský, Rastislav; Xiong, Wei; Peñuealas, Josep

    2014-05-01

    The impact of soil nutrient depletion on crop production has been known for decades, but robust assessments of the impact of increasingly unbalanced nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) application rates on crop production are lacking. Here, we use crop response functions based on 741 FAO maize crop trials and EPIC crop modeling across Africa to examine maize yield deficits resulting from unbalanced N:P applications under low, medium, and high input scenarios, for past (1975), current, and future N:P mass ratios of respectively, 1:0.29, 1:0.15, and 1:0.05. At low N inputs (10 kg/ha), current yield deficits amount to 10% but will increase up to 27% under the assumed future N:P ratio, while at medium N inputs (50 kg N/ha), future yield losses could amount to over 40%. The EPIC crop model was then used to simulate maize yields across Africa. The model results showed relative median future yield reductions at low N inputs of 40%, and 50% at medium and high inputs, albeit with large spatial variability. Dominant low-quality soils such as Ferralsols, which are strongly adsorbing P, and Arenosols with a low nutrient retention capacity, are associated with a strong yield decline, although Arenosols show very variable crop yield losses at low inputs. Optimal N:P ratios, i.e. those where the lowest amount of applied P produces the highest yield (given N input) where calculated with EPIC to be as low as 1:0.5. Finally, we estimated the additional P required given current N inputs, and given N inputs that would allow Africa to close yield gaps (ca. 70%). At current N inputs, P consumption would have to increase 2.3-fold to be optimal, and to increase 11.7-fold to close yield gaps. The P demand to overcome these yield deficits would provide a significant additional pressure on current global extraction of P resources.

  19. African crop yield reductions due to increasingly unbalanced Nitrogen and Phosphorus consumption.

    PubMed

    van der Velde, Marijn; Folberth, Christian; Balkovič, Juraj; Ciais, Philippe; Fritz, Steffen; Janssens, Ivan A; Obersteiner, Michael; See, Linda; Skalský, Rastislav; Xiong, Wei; Peñuelas, Josep

    2014-04-01

    The impact of soil nutrient depletion on crop production has been known for decades, but robust assessments of the impact of increasingly unbalanced nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) application rates on crop production are lacking. Here, we use crop response functions based on 741 FAO maize crop trials and EPIC crop modeling across Africa to examine maize yield deficits resulting from unbalanced N : P applications under low, medium, and high input scenarios, for past (1975), current, and future N : P mass ratios of respectively, 1 : 0.29, 1 : 0.15, and 1 : 0.05. At low N inputs (10 kg ha(-1)), current yield deficits amount to 10% but will increase up to 27% under the assumed future N : P ratio, while at medium N inputs (50 kg N ha(-1)), future yield losses could amount to over 40%. The EPIC crop model was then used to simulate maize yields across Africa. The model results showed relative median future yield reductions at low N inputs of 40%, and 50% at medium and high inputs, albeit with large spatial variability. Dominant low-quality soils such as Ferralsols, which are strongly adsorbing P, and Arenosols with a low nutrient retention capacity, are associated with a strong yield decline, although Arenosols show very variable crop yield losses at low inputs. Optimal N : P ratios, i.e. those where the lowest amount of applied P produces the highest yield (given N input) where calculated with EPIC to be as low as 1 : 0.5. Finally, we estimated the additional P required given current N inputs, and given N inputs that would allow Africa to close yield gaps (ca. 70%). At current N inputs, P consumption would have to increase 2.3-fold to be optimal, and to increase 11.7-fold to close yield gaps. The P demand to overcome these yield deficits would provide a significant additional pressure on current global extraction of P resources. PMID:24470387

  20. Scarcity of ecosystem services: an experimental manipulation of declining pollination rates and its economic consequences for agriculture

    PubMed Central

    Waterhouse, Benjamin; Wratten, Steve

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem services (ES) such as pollination are vital for the continuous supply of food to a growing human population, but the decline in populations of insect pollinators worldwide poses a threat to food and nutritional security. Using a pollinator (honeybee) exclusion approach, we evaluated the impact of pollinator scarcity on production in four brassica fields, two producing hybrid seeds and two producing open-pollinated ones. There was a clear reduction in seed yield as pollination rates declined. Open-pollinated crops produced significantly higher yields than did the hybrid ones at all pollination rates. The hybrid crops required at least 0.50 of background pollination rates to achieve maximum yield, whereas in open-pollinated crops, 0.25 pollination rates were necessary for maximum yield. The total estimated economic value of pollination services provided by honeybees to the agricultural industry in New Zealand is NZD $1.96 billion annually. This study indicates that loss of pollination services can result in significant declines in production and have serious implications for the market economy in New Zealand. Depending on the extent of honeybee population decline, and assuming that results in declining pollination services, the estimated economic loss to New Zealand agriculture could be in the range of NZD $295–728 million annually. PMID:27441108

  1. Scarcity of ecosystem services: an experimental manipulation of declining pollination rates and its economic consequences for agriculture.

    PubMed

    Sandhu, Harpinder; Waterhouse, Benjamin; Boyer, Stephane; Wratten, Steve

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem services (ES) such as pollination are vital for the continuous supply of food to a growing human population, but the decline in populations of insect pollinators worldwide poses a threat to food and nutritional security. Using a pollinator (honeybee) exclusion approach, we evaluated the impact of pollinator scarcity on production in four brassica fields, two producing hybrid seeds and two producing open-pollinated ones. There was a clear reduction in seed yield as pollination rates declined. Open-pollinated crops produced significantly higher yields than did the hybrid ones at all pollination rates. The hybrid crops required at least 0.50 of background pollination rates to achieve maximum yield, whereas in open-pollinated crops, 0.25 pollination rates were necessary for maximum yield. The total estimated economic value of pollination services provided by honeybees to the agricultural industry in New Zealand is NZD $1.96 billion annually. This study indicates that loss of pollination services can result in significant declines in production and have serious implications for the market economy in New Zealand. Depending on the extent of honeybee population decline, and assuming that results in declining pollination services, the estimated economic loss to New Zealand agriculture could be in the range of NZD $295-728 million annually. PMID:27441108

  2. Economic incentives to capture ecosystem services through increased temporal intensification of crop production

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Land resources are becoming progressively more constrained with increasing demands for food, feed, fiber, and now fuel production. Developing strategies to intensify crop production without increasing the negative impacts on water, soil, and air resources are critical. Much of the best agricultural ...

  3. Wildlife-friendly farming increases crop yield: evidence for ecological intensification

    PubMed Central

    Pywell, Richard F.; Heard, Matthew S.; Woodcock, Ben A.; Hinsley, Shelley; Ridding, Lucy; Nowakowski, Marek; Bullock, James M.

    2015-01-01

    Ecological intensification has been promoted as a means to achieve environmentally sustainable increases in crop yields by enhancing ecosystem functions that regulate and support production. There is, however, little direct evidence of yield benefits from ecological intensification on commercial farms growing globally important foodstuffs (grains, oilseeds and pulses). We replicated two treatments removing 3 or 8% of land at the field edge from production to create wildlife habitat in 50–60 ha patches over a 900 ha commercial arable farm in central England, and compared these to a business as usual control (no land removed). In the control fields, crop yields were reduced by as much as 38% at the field edge. Habitat creation in these lower yielding areas led to increased yield in the cropped areas of the fields, and this positive effect became more pronounced over 6 years. As a consequence, yields at the field scale were maintained—and, indeed, enhanced for some crops—despite the loss of cropland for habitat creation. These results suggested that over a 5-year crop rotation, there would be no adverse impact on overall yield in terms of monetary value or nutritional energy. This study provides a clear demonstration that wildlife-friendly management which supports ecosystem services is compatible with, and can even increase, crop yields. PMID:26423846

  4. Effect of pollinator abundance on self-fertilization and gene flow: application to GM Canola.

    PubMed

    Hoyle, Martin; Hayter, Katrina; Cresswell, James E

    2007-10-01

    Cross-pollination from fields of transgenic crops is of great public concern. Although cross-pollination in commercial canola (Brassica napus) fields has been empirically measured, field trials are expensive and do not identify the causes of cross-pollination. Therefore, theoretical models can be valuable because they can provide estimates of cross-pollination at any given site and time. We present a general analytical model of field-to-field gene flow due to the following competing mechanisms: the wind, bees, and autonomous pollination. We parameterize the model for the particular case of field-to-field cross-pollination of genetically modified (GM) canola via the wind and via bumble bees (Bombus spp.) and honey bees (Apis mellifera). We make extensive use of the large data set of bee densities collected during the recent U.K. Farm Scale Evaluations. We predict that canola approaches almost full seed set without pollinators and that autonomous pollination is responsible for > or = 25% of seed set, irrespective of pollinator abundance. We do not predict the relative contribution of bees vs. the wind in landscape-scale gene flow in canola. However, under model assumptions, we predict that the maximum field-to-field gene flow due to bumble bees is 0.04% and 0.13% below the current EU limit for adventitious GM presence for winter- and spring-sown canola, respectively. We predict that gene flow due to bees is approximately 3.1 times higher at 20% compared to 100% male-fertility, and due to the wind, 1.3 times higher at 20% compared to 100% male-fertility, for both winter- and spring-sown canola. Bumble bee-mediated gene flow is approximately 2.7 times higher and wind-mediated gene flow approximately 1.7 times lower in spring-sown than in winter-sown canola, regardless of the degree of male-sterility. The model of cross-pollination due to the wind most closely predicted three previously published observations: field-to-field gene flow is low; gene flow increases with

  5. Efficiency of pollination and satiation of predators determine reproductive output in Iberian Juniperus thurifera woodlands.

    PubMed

    Mezquida, E T; Rodríguez-García, E; Olano, J M

    2016-01-01

    Fruit production in animal-dispersed plants has a strong influence on fitness because large crops increase the number of seeds dispersed by frugivores. Large crops are costly, and environmental control of plant resources is likely play a role in shaping temporal and spatial variations in seed production, particularly in fluctuating environments such as the Mediterranean. The number of fruits that start to develop and the proportion of viable seeds produced are also linked to the number of flowers formed and the efficiency of pollination in wind-pollinated plants. Finally, large fruit displays also attract seed predators, having a negative effect on seed output. We assessed the relative impact of environmental conditions on fruit production, and their combined effect on seed production, abortion and seed loss through three predispersal predators in Juniperus thurifera L., sampling 14 populations across the Iberian Peninsula. Wetter than average conditions during flowering and early fruit development led to larger crop sizes; this effect was amplified at tree level, with the most productive trees during more favourable years yielding fruits with more viable seeds and less empty and aborted seeds. In addition, large crops satiated the less mobile seed predator. The other two predispersal predators responded to plant traits, the presence of other seed predators and environmental conditions, but did not show a satiation response to the current-year crop. Our large-scale study on a dioecious, wind-pollinated Mediterranean juniper indicates that pollination efficiency and satiation of seed predators, mediated by environmental conditions, are important determinants of reproductive output in this juniper species. PMID:25892115

  6. Native Bees Effectively Pollinate New World Cucurbita (C. pepo and C. maxima): An Internet Collaboration

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Wild squash bees have all five traits ascribed to the most effective crop pollinators. They are abundant, competitive, efficient, faithful to a specific crop and fast. Shared pollinator surveys covering 2,700 ha of US squash and pumpkin (n = 50 farms) show strong parallels among Cucurbita’s bee gui...

  7. Production of solitary bees for pollination in the U.S.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Although honey bees provide the bulk of pollination services to U.S. crops, solitary bees also provide pollination services to a variety of agriculturally-important crops. Solitary bees are a diverse group of hymenopterans, in which all females are reproductive. These bees visit flowers to collect...

  8. Pollinator Foraging Adaptation and Coexistence of Competing Plants.

    PubMed

    Revilla, Tomás A; Křivan, Vlastimil

    2016-01-01

    We use the optimal foraging theory to study coexistence between two plant species and a generalist pollinator. We compare conditions for plant coexistence for non-adaptive vs. adaptive pollinators that adjust their foraging strategy to maximize fitness. When pollinators have fixed preferences, we show that plant coexistence typically requires both weak competition between plants for resources (e.g., space or nutrients) and pollinator preferences that are not too biased in favour of either plant. We also show how plant coexistence is promoted by indirect facilitation via the pollinator. When pollinators are adaptive foragers, pollinator's diet maximizes pollinator's fitness measured as the per capita population growth rate. Simulations show that this has two conflicting consequences for plant coexistence. On the one hand, when competition between pollinators is weak, adaptation favours pollinator specialization on the more profitable plant which increases asymmetries in plant competition and makes their coexistence less likely. On the other hand, when competition between pollinators is strong, adaptation promotes generalism, which facilitates plant coexistence. In addition, adaptive foraging allows pollinators to survive sudden loss of the preferred plant host, thus preventing further collapse of the entire community. PMID:27505254

  9. Assessing long-term impacts of increased crop productivity on atmospheric CO2.

    PubMed

    Cavazzoni, J; Volk, T

    1996-05-01

    A full assessment of the impacts of land clearance and crop production on atmospheric CO2 requires a systems approach. By considering long-term soil carbon changes and fossil fuel energy inputs, we show that increased crop productivity will alleviate CO2 release to the atmosphere primarily by preventing additional land cultivation. Each hectare of cropland undergoing a simulated threefold crop productivity increase here prevents a net release on the order of 150-200 Mg C to the atmosphere over 100 years by avoiding additional land cultivation which would otherwise be required. This effective carbon sink would slowly diminish with time due to fossil fuel energy input requirements. However, future self-containment of the energy needs of high-yield crop production may displace on the order of 1.0 Pg C per year of fossil fuel carbon, in addition to the carbon sink attributable to avoided land cultivation. By avoiding land cultivation, high yield crop systems also preserve natural ecosystems. PMID:11539330

  10. Cultivar Mixture Cropping Increased Water Use Efficiency in Winter Wheat under Limited Irrigation Conditions

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Yunqi; Zhang, Yinghua; Ji, Wei; Yu, Peng; Wang, Bin; Li, Jinpeng; Han, Meikun; Xu, Xuexin; Wang, Zhimin

    2016-01-01

    The effects of cultivar mixture cropping on yield, biomass, and water use efficiency (WUE) in winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) were investigated under non-irrigation (W0, no irrigation during growth stage), one time irrigation (W1, irrigation applied at stem elongation) and two times irrigation (W2, irrigation applied at stem elongation and anthesis) conditions. Nearly 90% of cultivar mixture cropping treatments experienced an increase in grain yield as compared with the mean of the pure stands under W0, those for W1 and W2 were 80% and 85%, respectively. Over 75% of cultivar mixture cropping treatments got greater biomass than the mean of the pure stands under the three irrigation conditions. Cultivar mixture cropping cost more water than pure stands under W0 and W1, whereas the water consumption under W2 decreased by 5.9%–6.8% as compared with pure stands. Approximately 90% of cultivar mixtures showed an increase of 5.4%–34.5% in WUE as compared with the mean of the pure stands, and about 75% of cultivar mixtures had 0.8%–28.5% higher WUE than the better pure stands under W0. Similarly, there were a majority of mixture cropping treatments with higher WUE than the mean and the better one of the pure stands under W1 and W2. On the whole, proper cultivar mixture cropping could increase yield and WUE, and a higher increase in WUE occurred under limited irrigation condition. PMID:27362563

  11. Did pollination shifts drive diversification in southern African Gladiolus? Evaluating the model of pollinator-driven speciation.

    PubMed

    Valente, Luis M; Manning, John C; Goldblatt, Peter; Vargas, Pablo

    2012-07-01

    The pollinator-driven ecological speciation model has frequently been invoked to explain plant richness in biodiversity hotspots. Here, by focusing on Gladiolus (260 species), a flagship example of a clade with diverse pollination biology, we test the hypothesis that high species diversity in southern Africa, one of the world's most floristically rich regions, has primarily been driven by ecological shifts in pollination systems. We use phylogenetic methods to estimate rates of transition between the seven highly specialized pollination strategies in Gladiolus. We find that pollination systems have evolved multiple times and that some pollination strategies arose by a variety of evolutionary pathways. Pollination shifts account for up to one-third of all lineage splitting events in the genus, providing partial support for the pollinator-driven speciation model. Transitions from the ancestral pollination mode to derived systems have also resulted in increased rates of diversification, suggesting that certain pollination systems may speed up speciation processes, independently of pollination shifts per se. This study suggests that frequent pollination shifts have played a role in driving high phenotypic and species diversity but indicates that additional factors need to be invoked to account for the spectacular diversification in southern African Gladiolus. PMID:22673653

  12. Residue management increases fallow water conservation and yield deficit irrigated crops grown in rotation with wheat

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    No-tillage (NT) residue management provides cover to increase precipitation capture compared with disk tillage (DT) or in the absence of a cover crop. Therefore, NT has the potential to reduce irrigation withdrawals from the declining Ogallala Aquifer. In a 4-year study, we quantified DT and NT effe...

  13. Benefits of supplementing an industrial waste anaerobic digester with energy crops for increased biogas production

    SciTech Connect

    Nges, Ivo Achu; Escobar, Federico; Fu Xinmei; Bjoernsson, Lovisa

    2012-01-15

    Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer This study demonstrates the feasibility of co-digestion food industrial waste with energy crops. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Laboratory batch co-digestion led to improved methane yield and carbon to nitrogen ratio as compared to mono-digestion of industrial waste. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Co-digestion was also seen as a means of degrading energy crops with nutrients addition as crops are poor in nutrients. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Batch co-digestion methane yields were used to predict co-digestion methane yield in full scale operation. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer It was concluded that co-digestion led an over all economically viable process and ensured a constant supply of feedstock. - Abstract: Currently, there is increasing competition for waste as feedstock for the growing number of biogas plants. This has led to fluctuation in feedstock supply and biogas plants being operated below maximum capacity. The feasibility of supplementing a protein/lipid-rich industrial waste (pig manure, slaughterhouse waste, food processing and poultry waste) mesophilic anaerobic digester with carbohydrate-rich energy crops (hemp, maize and triticale) was therefore studied in laboratory scale batch and continuous stirred tank reactors (CSTR) with a view to scale-up to a commercial biogas process. Co-digesting industrial waste and crops led to significant improvement in methane yield per ton of feedstock and carbon-to-nitrogen ratio as compared to digestion of the industrial waste alone. Biogas production from crops in combination with industrial waste also avoids the need for micronutrients normally required in crop digestion. The batch co-digestion methane yields were used to predict co-digestion methane yield in full scale operation. This was done based on the ratio of methane yields observed for laboratory batch and CSTR experiments compared to full scale CSTR digestion of industrial waste. The economy of crop-based biogas

  14. Increased Risk of Insect Injury to Corn Following Rye Cover Crop.

    PubMed

    Dunbar, Mike W; O'Neal, Matthew E; Gassmann, Aaron J

    2016-08-01

    Decreased pest pressure is sometimes associated with more diverse agroecosystems, including the addition of a rye cover crop (Secale cereale L.). However, not all pests respond similarly to greater vegetational diversity. Polyphagous pests, such as true armyworm (Mythimna unipuncta Haworth), black cutworm (Agrotis ipsilon Hufnagel), and common stalk borer (Papaipema nebris Guenee), whose host range includes rye have the potential to cause injury to crops following a rye cover crop. The objectives of this study were to compare the abundance of early-season insect pests and injury to corn (Zea mays L.) from fields with and without a rye cover crop on commercial farms. Fields were sampled weekly to quantify adult and larval pests and feeding injury to corn plants from mid-April until corn reached V8 stage, during 2014 and 2015. Measurements within fields were collected along transects that extended perpendicularly from field edges into the interior of cornfields. Adult true armyworm and adult black cutworm were captured around all cornfields, but most lepidopteran larvae captured within cornfields were true armyworm and common stalk borer. Cornfields with a rye cover crop had significantly greater abundance of true armyworm and greater proportion of injured corn. Both true armyworm abundance and feeding injury were significantly greater in the interior of cornfields with rye. Common stalk borer abundance did not differ between cornfields with or without rye cover. Farmers planting corn following a rye cover crop should be aware of the potential for increased presence of true armyworm and for greater injury to corn. PMID:27325884

  15. Hedgerow restoration promotes pollinator populations and exports native bees to adjacent fields.

    PubMed

    Morandin, Lora A; Kremen, Claire

    2013-06-01

    In intensive agricultural landscapes, restoration within farms could enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services such as pollination by native pollinators. Although governments and conservation groups are promoting small-scale restoration on working farms, there are few studies that assess whether these practices enhance pollinator communities in restored areas. Further, there is no information on whether floral enhancements will deplete pollinators in adjacent fields by concentrating ambient populations or whether they result in a net increase in abundance in adjacent farm fields. We investigated whether field edges restored with native perennial plants in California's Central Valley agricultural region increased floral abundance and potential bee nesting sites, and native bee and syrphid fly abundance and diversity, in comparison to relatively unmanaged edges. Native bees and syrphid flies collected from flowers were more abundant, species-rich, and diverse at hedgerow sites than in weedy, unmanaged edges. Abundance of bees collected passively in pan traps was negatively correlated with floral abundance, was significantly different from communities captured by net sampling from flowers, and did not distinguish between site types; we therefore focused on the results of net samples and visual observations. Uncommon species of native bees were sevenfold more abundant on hedgerow flowers than on flowers at weedy, unmanaged edges. Of the species on flowers at hedgerows, 40% were exclusive to hedgerow sites, but there were no species exclusively found on flowers at control sites. Hedgerows were especially important for supporting less-common species of native bees in our intensive agricultural landscape. Hedgerows did not concentrate ambient native bee, honey bee, or syphid fly populations, and they acted as net exporters of native bees into adjacent fields. Within-farm habitat restoration such as hedgerow creation may be essential for enhancing native pollinator

  16. Pyrodiversity begets plant-pollinator community diversity.

    PubMed

    Ponisio, Lauren C; Wilkin, Kate; M'Gonigle, Leithen K; Kulhanek, Kelly; Cook, Lindsay; Thorp, Robbin; Griswold, Terry; Kremen, Claire

    2016-05-01

    Fire has a major impact on the structure and function of many ecosystems globally. Pyrodiversity, the diversity of fires within a region (where diversity is based on fire characteristics such as extent, severity, and frequency), has been hypothesized to promote biodiversity, but changing climate and land management practices have eroded pyrodiversity. To assess whether changes in pyrodiversity will have impacts on ecological communities, we must first understand the mechanisms that might enable pyrodiversity to sustain biodiversity, and how such changes might interact with other disturbances such as drought. Focusing on plant-pollinator communities in mixed-conifer forest with frequent fire in Yosemite National Park, California, we examine how pyrodiversity, combined with drought intensity, influences those communities. We find that pyrodiversity is positively related to the richness of the pollinators, flowering plants, and plant-pollinator interactions. On average, a 5% increase in pyrodiversity led to the gain of approximately one pollinator and one flowering plant species and nearly two interactions. We also find that a diversity of fire characteristics contributes to the spatial heterogeneity (β-diversity) of plant and pollinator communities. Lastly, we find evidence that fire diversity buffers pollinator communities against the effects of drought-induced floral resource scarcity. Fire diversity is thus important for the maintenance of flowering plant and pollinator diversity and predicted shifts in fire regimes to include less pyrodiversity compounded with increasing drought occurrence will negatively influence the richness of these communities in this and other forested ecosystems. In addition, lower heterogeneity of fire severity may act to reduce spatial turnover of plant-pollinator communities. The heterogeneity of community composition is a primary determinant of the total species diversity present in a landscape, and thus, lower pyrodiversity may

  17. Population dynamics and the ecological stability of obligate pollination mutualisms

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Holland, J. Nathaniel; DeAngelis, Donald L.

    2001-01-01

    Mutualistic interactions almost always produce both costs and benefits for each of the interacting species. It is the difference between gross benefits and costs that determines the net benefit and the per-capita effect on each of the interacting populations. For example, the net benefit of obligate pollinators, such as yucca and senita moths, to plants is determined by the difference between the number of ovules fertilized from moth pollination and the number of ovules eaten by the pollinator's larvae. It is clear that if pollinator populations are large, then, because many eggs are laid, costs to plants are large, whereas, if pollinator populations are small, gross benefits are low due to lack of pollination. Even though the size and dynamics of the pollinator population are likely to be crucial, their importance has been neglected in the investigation of mechanisms, such as selective fruit abortion, that can limit costs and increase net benefits. Here, we suggest that both the population size and dynamics of pollinators are important in determining the net benefits to plants, and that fruit abortion can significantly affect these. We develop a model of mutualism between populations of plants and their pollinating seed-predators to explore the ecological consequences of fruit abortion on pollinator population dynamics and the net effect on plants. We demonstrate that the benefit to a plant population is unimodal as a function of pollinator abundance, relative to the abundance of flowers. Both selective abortion of fruit with eggs and random abortion of fruit, without reference to whether they have eggs or not, can limit pollinator population size. This can increase the net benefits to the plant population by limiting the number of eggs laid, if the pollination rate remains high. However, fruit abortion can possibly destabilize the pollinator population, with negative consequences for the plant population.

  18. The potential of agricultural practices to increase C storage in cropped soils: an assessment for France

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chenu, Claire; Angers, Denis; Métay, Aurélie; Colnenne, Caroline; Klumpp, Katja; Bamière, Laure; Pardon, Lenaic; Pellerin, Sylvain

    2014-05-01

    Though large progress has been achieved in the last decades, net GHG emissions from the agricultural sector are still more poorly quantified than in other sectors. In this study, we examined i) technical mitigation options likely to store carbon in agricultural soils, ii) their potential of additional C storage per unit surface area and iii) applicable areas in mainland France. We considered only agricultural practices being technically feasible by farmers and involving no major change in either production systems or production levels. Moreover, only currently available techniques with validated efficiencies and presenting no major negative environmental impacts were taken into account. Four measures were expected to store additional C in agricultural soils: - Reducing tillage: either a switch to continuous direct seeding, direct seeding with occasional tillage once every five years, or continuous superficial (<15 cm) tillage. - Introducing cover crops in cropping systems: sown between two cash crops on arable farms, in orchards and vineyards (permanent or temporary cover cropping) . - Expanding agroforestry systems; planting of tree lines in cultivated fields and grasslands, and hedges around the field edges. - Increasing the life time of temporary sown grasslands: increase of life time to 5 years. The recent literature was reviewed in order to determine long term (>20yrs) C storage rates (MgC ha-1 y-1,) of cropping systems with and without the proposed practice. Then we analysed the conditions for potential application, in terms of feasibility, acceptance, limitation of yield losses and of other GHG emissions. According to the literature, additional C storage rates were 0.15 (0-0.3) MgC ha-1 y-1 for continuous direct seeding, 0.10 (0-0.2) MgC ha-1 y-1for occasional tillage one year in five, and 0.0 MgC ha-1 y-1 for superficial tillage. Cover crops were estimated to store 0.24 (0.13-0.37) MgC ha-1 y-1 between cash crops and 0.49 (0.23-0.72) MgC ha-1 y-1 when

  19. Southern Blueberry Pollinators

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    We present three profiles of important bee pollinators of southeastern blueberries. The first profile is about the chief pollinator, a native solitary bee, the southeastern blueberry bee. The second profile concerns floral robbery instigated by carpenter bees and honey bees, which proved beneficial ...

  20. An Economic Valuation of Biotic Pollination Services in Georgia.

    PubMed

    Barfield, Ashley S; Bergstrom, John C; Ferreira, Susana; Covich, Alan P; Delaplane, Keith S

    2015-04-01

    As agriculture faces documented decline in bees and other insect pollinators, empirical assessments of potential economic losses are critical for contextualizing the impacts of this decline and for prioritizing research needs. For the state of Georgia, we show that the annual economic value of biotic pollinators is substantial--US$367 million, equivalent to 13 percent of the total production value of crops studied and 3 percent of the total production value of Georgia's agricultural sector. Our unique Geographic Information Systems analysis reveals an irregular pattern of vulnerability. While the Georgia counties displaying the highest economic values of pollination are clustered in southern Georgia, those with the highest dependency on pollinators in terms of their contribution to crop production value are more dispersed throughout the state. PMID:26470149

  1. Pollinator sharing and gene flow among closely related sympatric dioecious fig taxa.

    PubMed

    Wang, Gang; Cannon, Charles H; Chen, Jin

    2016-04-13

    Hybridization and insect pollination are widely believed to increase rates of plant diversification. The extreme diversity of figs (Ficus) and their obligate pollinators, fig wasps (Agaonidae), provides an opportunity to examine the possible role of pollinator-mediated hybridization in plant diversification. Increasing evidence suggests that pollinator sharing and hybridization occurs among fig taxa, despite relatively strict coevolution with the pollinating wasp. Using five sympatric dioecious fig taxa and their pollinators, we examine the degree of pollinator sharing and inter-taxa gene flow. We experimentally test pollinator preference for floral volatiles, the main host recognition signal, from different figs. All five fig taxa shared pollinators with other taxa, and gene flow occurred between fig taxa within and between sections. Floral volatiles of each taxon attracted more than one pollinator species. Floral volatiles were more similar between closely related figs, which experienced higher levels of pollinator sharing and inter-taxa gene flow. This study demonstrates that pollinator sharing and inter-taxa gene flow occurs among closely related sympatric dioecious fig taxa and that pollinators choose the floral volatiles of multiple fig taxa. The implications of pollinator sharing and inter-taxa gene flow on diversification, occurring even in this highly specialized obligate pollination system, require further study. PMID:27075252

  2. Increased Phytochrome B Alleviates Density Effects on Tuber Yield of Field Potato Crops1

    PubMed Central

    Boccalandro, Hernán E.; Ploschuk, Edmundo L.; Yanovsky, Marcelo J.; Sánchez, Rodolfo A.; Gatz, Christiane; Casal, Jorge J.

    2003-01-01

    The possibility that reduced photomorphogenic responses could increase field crop yield has been suggested often, but experimental support is still lacking. Here, we report that ectopic expression of the Arabidopsis PHYB (phytochrome B) gene, a photoreceptor involved in detecting red to far-red light ratio associated with plant density, can increase tuber yield in field-grown transgenic potato (Solanum tuberosum) crops. Surprisingly, this effect was larger at very high densities, despite the intense reduction in the red to far-red light ratios and the concomitant narrowed differences in active phytochrome B levels between wild type and transgenics at these densities. Increased PHYB expression not only altered the ability of plants to respond to light signals, but they also modified the light environment itself. This combination resulted in larger effects of enhanced PHYB expression on tuber number and crop photosynthesis at high planting densities. The PHYB transgenics showed higher maximum photosynthesis in leaves of all strata of the canopy, and this effect was largely due to increased leaf stomatal conductance. We propose that enhanced PHYB expression could be used in breeding programs to shift optimum planting densities to higher levels. PMID:14605224

  3. Coupled model of physical and biological processes affecting maize pollination

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arritt, R.; Westgate, M.; Riese, J.; Falk, M.; Takle, E.

    2003-04-01

    Controversy over the use of genetically modified (GM) crops has led to increased interest in evaluating and controlling the potential for inadvertent outcrossing in open-pollinated crops such as maize. In response to this problem we have developed a Lagrangian model of pollen dispersion as a component of a coupled end-to-end (anther to ear) physical-biological model of maize pollination. The Lagrangian method is adopted because of its generality and flexibility: first, the method readily accommodates flow fields of arbitrary complexity; second, each element of the material being transported can be identified by its source, time of release, or other properties of interest. The latter allows pollen viability to be estimated as a function of such factors as travel time, temperature, and relative humidity, so that the physical effects of airflow and turbulence on pollen dispersion can be considered together with the biological aspects of pollen release and viability. Predicted dispersion of pollen compares well both to observations and to results from a simpler Gaussian plume model. Ability of the Lagrangian model to handle complex air flows is demonstrated by application to pollen dispersion in the vicinity of an agricultural shelter belt. We also show results indicating that pollen viability can be quantified by an "aging function" that accounts for temperature, humidity, and time of exposure.

  4. Pollination Services Provided by Bees in Pumpkin Fields Supplemented with Either Apis mellifera or Bombus impatiens or Not Supplemented

    PubMed Central

    Petersen, Jessica D.; Reiners, Stephen; Nault, Brian A.

    2013-01-01

    Pollinators provide an important service in many crops. Managed honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) are used to supplement pollination services provided by wild bees with the assumption that they will enhance pollination, fruit set and crop yield beyond the levels provided by the wild bees. Recent declines in managed honey bee populations have stimulated interest in finding alternative managed pollinators to service crops. In the eastern U.S., managed hives of the native common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens Cresson) may be an excellent choice. To examine this issue, a comprehensive 2-yr study was conducted to compare fruit yield and bee visits to flowers in pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) fields that were either supplemented with A. mellifera hives, B. impatiens hives or were not supplemented. We compared pumpkin yield, A. mellifera flower visitation frequency and B. impatiens flower visitation frequency between treatments. Results indicated that supplementing pumpkin fields with either A. mellifera or B. impatiens hives did not increase their visitation to pumpkin flowers or fruit yield compared with those that were not supplemented. Next, the relationship between frequency of pumpkin flower visitation by the most prominent bee species (Peponapis pruinosa (Say), B. impatiens and A. mellifera) and fruit yield was determined across all pumpkin fields sampled. Fruit yield increased as the frequency of flower visits by A. mellifera and B. impatiens increased in 2011 and 2012, respectively. These results suggest that supplementation with managed bees may not improve pumpkin production and that A. mellifera and B. impatiens are important pollinators of pumpkin in our system. PMID:23894544

  5. Envisioning a metropolitan foodshed: potential environmental consequences of increasing food-crop production around Chicago

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowen, E. E.; Martin, P. A.; Schuble, T. J.

    2009-12-01

    Nationwide, cities are increasingly developing policies aimed at greater sustainability, particularly focusing on reducing environmental impact. Such policies commonly emphasize more efficiently using energy to decrease the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of the city. However, most plans ignore the food system as a factor in regional energy use and GHG emissions. Yet, the food system in the United States accounts for ~20% of per capita greenhouse gas emissions. Local, sustainable food production is cited as one strategy for mitigating GHG emissions of large metropolitan areas. “Sustainable” for regional agriculture is often identified as small-scale, diversified food crop production using best practices management. Localized food production (termed “foodshed”) using sustainable agriculture could mitigate climate change in multiple ways: (1) energy and therefore CO2-intensive portions of the conventional food system might be replaced by local, lower-input food production resulting in carbon offsets; (2) increased regional carbon storage might result from well-managed food crop production vs. commodity crop production; and (3) averted N2O emissions might result from closing nutrient cycles on agricultural lands following changes in management practices. The broader implications for environmental impact of widespread conversion to sustainable food crop agriculture, however, remain largely unknown. We examine the Chicago metropolitan region to quantify the impact of increased local food production on regional energy efficiency and GHG emissions. Geospatial analysis is used to quantify the resource potential for establishing a Chicago metropolitan foodshed. A regional foodshed is defined by minimizing cost through transportation mode (road, rail, or water) and maximizing the production potential of different soil types. Simple biogeochemical modeling is used to predict changes in N2O emissions and nutrient flows following changes in land management practices

  6. Increasing in-stream nitrogen concentrations under different bioenergy crop management practices in central Germany

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jomaa, Seifeddine; Thraen, Daniela; Rode, Michael

    2015-04-01

    Understanding how nitrogen fluxes respond to changes in land use and agriculture practices is crucial for improving instream water quality prediction. In central Germany, expansion of bioenergy crops such as maize and rape for ethanol production during the last decade led to increasing of fertilizer application rates. To examine the effect of these changes, surface water quality of a drinking water reservoir catchment was investigated for more than 30 years. The Weida catchment (99.5 km2) is part of the Elbe river basin and has a share of 67% agricultural land use with significant changes in agricultural practices within the investigation period. For the period 2004-2012, the share of maize and rape has been increased by 52% and 20%, respectively, for enhancing bioenergy production. To achieve our gaols, the semi-distributed hydrological water quality HYPE (Hydrological Predictions for the Environment) model was calibrated for discharge and inorganic nitrogen concentrations (IN) during the period 1997-2000.The model was validated successfully (with lowest performance of NSE = 0.78 and PBIAS = 3.74% for discharge) for three different periods 1983-1987, 1989-1996 and 2000-2003, which are charaterized by different fertilizer application rates. Results showed that the HYPE model reproduced reasonably well discharge and IN daily loads (with lowest NSE = 0.64 for IN-load). In addition, the HYPE model was evaluated successfully to predict the discharge and IN concentrations for the period 2004-2012, where detailed input data in terms of crops management (field-specific survey) have been considered. Land use and crop rotations scenarios, with high hypothetical percentage of acceptance by the farmers, revealed that continuous conversion of agricultural land into bioenergy crops, will most likely, lead to an enrichment of in-stream nitrogen, especially after spring storms.

  7. Crop residue incorporation for increasing SOC stock. Is it worth it?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pituello, Chiara; Berti, Antonio; Morari, Francesco

    2015-04-01

    In the last fifty years, soil organic carbon (SOC) in North-Eastern Italy decreased at rates ranging from 0.02 to 0.58 t ha/year as a consequence of the intensification and simplification of cropping systems. Most recently, the removal of crop residue for bioenergy production raises concerns about its potential impact on SOC evolution. Crop residue incorporation has been included in the Recommended Management Practices (RMPs) for climate change mitigation, however, several doubts still remain on its actual effectiveness. Indeed, long term effects of residue incorporation on SOC stocks have been studied by many authors with apparently contrasting findings. Thus, given the pivotal role played by SOC on ecosystem services, investigating the effects of residues incorporation on soil quality constitutes a key step towards understanding soil processes and will help establish a rationale bioenergy production policy. For this purpose, soil samples were taken from a long-term field experiment started in 1970, with three types of soil: sand, silt-loam and clay. The experiment design adopted implied a crop rotation including maize, wheat, and potatoes with only two types of residues management: incorporation and removal. The levels of nitrogen application were six (0, 50, 100, 200, 300, 400 kg ha-1) with a factorial combination with the residues management. Residue incorporation affected significantly the carbon stock within the profile (0-70cm), with an average increase in carbon content from 60 to 67 t C ha-1 in 42 years (0.16 t C ha-1 y-1). In clay and silt-loam soils the C stock varied within the whole profile, with an increase in the upper layer (0-20 cm) ranging from 29% (silt-loam) to 60% (clay soil) of the total increment. Conversely, in sand soil the effect was found only in the upper horizon, where the incorporation of residues increased SOC of only 1.9 t ha-1. This indicates that in sand soil the increase of C is mainly attributable to the direct effect of residues

  8. Agricultural Policies Exacerbate Honeybee Pollination Service Supply-Demand Mismatches Across Europe

    PubMed Central

    Breeze, Tom D.; Vaissière, Bernard E.; Bommarco, Riccardo; Petanidou, Theodora; Seraphides, Nicos; Kozák, Lajos; Scheper, Jeroen; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C.; Kleijn, David; Gyldenkærne, Steen; Moretti, Marco; Holzschuh, Andrea; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Stout, Jane C.; Pärtel, Meelis; Zobel, Martin; Potts, Simon G.

    2014-01-01

    Declines in insect pollinators across Europe have raised concerns about the supply of pollination services to agriculture. Simultaneously, EU agricultural and biofuel policies have encouraged substantial growth in the cultivated area of insect pollinated crops across the continent. Using data from 41 European countries, this study demonstrates that the recommended number of honeybees required to provide crop pollination across Europe has risen 4.9 times as fast as honeybee stocks between 2005 and 2010. Consequently, honeybee stocks were insufficient to supply >90% of demands in 22 countries studied. These findings raise concerns about the capacity of many countries to cope with major losses of wild pollinators and highlight numerous critical gaps in current understanding of pollination service supplies and demands, pointing to a pressing need for further research into this issue. PMID:24421873

  9. Pollinator Foraging Adaptation and Coexistence of Competing Plants

    PubMed Central

    Revilla, Tomás A.; Křivan, Vlastimil

    2016-01-01

    We use the optimal foraging theory to study coexistence between two plant species and a generalist pollinator. We compare conditions for plant coexistence for non-adaptive vs. adaptive pollinators that adjust their foraging strategy to maximize fitness. When pollinators have fixed preferences, we show that plant coexistence typically requires both weak competition between plants for resources (e.g., space or nutrients) and pollinator preferences that are not too biased in favour of either plant. We also show how plant coexistence is promoted by indirect facilitation via the pollinator. When pollinators are adaptive foragers, pollinator’s diet maximizes pollinator’s fitness measured as the per capita population growth rate. Simulations show that this has two conflicting consequences for plant coexistence. On the one hand, when competition between pollinators is weak, adaptation favours pollinator specialization on the more profitable plant which increases asymmetries in plant competition and makes their coexistence less likely. On the other hand, when competition between pollinators is strong, adaptation promotes generalism, which facilitates plant coexistence. In addition, adaptive foraging allows pollinators to survive sudden loss of the preferred plant host, thus preventing further collapse of the entire community. PMID:27505254

  10. Pollinator effectiveness varies with experimental shifts in flowering time

    PubMed Central

    Rafferty, Nicole E.; Ives, Anthony R.

    2013-01-01

    The earlier flowering times exhibited by many plant species are a conspicuous sign of climate change. Altered phenologies have caused concern that species could suffer population declines if they flower at times when effective pollinators are unavailable. For two perennial wildflowers, Tradescantia ohiensis and Asclepias incarnata, we used an experimental approach to explore how changing phenology affects the taxonomic composition of the pollinator assemblage and the effectiveness of individual pollinator taxa. After finding in the previous year that fruit set varied with flowering time, we manipulated flowering onset in greenhouses, placed plants in the field over the span of five weeks, and measured pollinator effectiveness as the number of seeds produced after a single visit to a flower. The average effectiveness of pollinators and the expected rates of pollination success were lower for plants of both species flowering earlier than for plants flowering at historical times, suggesting there could be reproductive costs to earlier flowering. Whereas for A. incarnata, differences in average seed set among weeks were due primarily to changes in the composition of the pollinator assemblage, the differences for T. ohiensis were driven by the combined effects of compositional changes and increases over time in the effectiveness of some pollinator taxa. Both species face the possibility of temporal mismatch between the availability of the most effective pollinators and the onset of flowering, and changes in the effectiveness of individual pollinator taxa through time may add an unexpected element to the reproductive consequences of such mismatches. PMID:22690631

  11. Functionality of Selected Aromatic Lamiaceae in Attracting Pollinators in Central Spain.

    PubMed

    Barbir, Jelena; Azpiazu, Celeste; Badenes-Pérez, Francisco R; Fernández-Quintanilla, César; Dorado, José

    2016-04-01

    Planting floral margins in agricultural landscapes has been shown to increase the abundance of pollinators in agro-ecosystems. However, to create efficient margins, it is necessary to use attractive, not weedy native plants with different blooming periods to prolong the availability of floral resources. Six native perennial plants of the Lamiaceae with different blooming periods were studied in a randomized block design, with the final aim to select the most efficient plants in floral mixtures by studying relationships between their floral phenology, floral density, and attractiveness to pollinators in Central Spain. In addition, their spatial expansion, i.e., potential weediness, was estimated under the field conditions, as the final purpose of the plants is to be implemented within the agro-ecosystems. The results showed that plant species with higher floral density (Nepeta tuberosa L. and Hyssopus officinalis L.) showed significantly higher attractiveness to pollinators and enhanced the attractiveness of floral mixtures. Species that bloomed in early spring (Salvia verbenaca L.) and in summer (Melissa officinalis L. and Thymbra capitata L.) did not efficiently contribute to the attractiveness of the mixtures to pollinators. In addition, besides high floral density of Salvia officinalis L. and N. tuberosa in the spring, warm and dry weather in spring 2012 enhanced the activity of bees, while cold and rainy weather in spring 2013 enhanced the activity of hoverflies. None of the plants showed weedy growth and so posed no danger of invading adjacent crops. PMID:26838345

  12. Inorganic Nutrients Increase Humification Efficiency and C-Sequestration in an Annually Cropped Soil

    PubMed Central

    Richardson, Alan E.; Wade, Len J.; Conyers, Mark; Kirkegaard, John A.

    2016-01-01

    Removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and storing the carbon (C) in resistant soil organic matter (SOM) is a global priority to restore soil fertility and help mitigate climate change. Although it is widely assumed that retaining rather than removing or burning crop residues will increase SOM levels, many studies have failed to demonstrate this. We hypothesised that the microbial nature of resistant SOM provides a predictable nutrient stoichiometry (C:nitrogen, C:phosphorus and C:sulphur–C:N:P:S) to target using supplementary nutrients when incorporating C-rich crop residues into soil. An improvement in the humification efficiency of the soil microbiome as a whole, and thereby C-sequestration, was predicted. In a field study over 5 years, soil organic-C (SOC) stocks to 1.6 m soil depth were increased by 5.5 t C ha-1 where supplementary nutrients were applied with incorporated crop residues, but were reduced by 3.2 t C ha-1 without nutrient addition, with 2.9 t C ha-1 being lost from the 0–10 cm layer. A net difference of 8.7 t C ha-1 was thus achieved in a cropping soil over a 5 year period, despite the same level of C addition. Despite shallow incorporation (0.15 m), more than 50% of the SOC increase occurred below 0.3 m, and as predicted by the stoichiometry, increases in resistant SOC were accompanied by increases in soil NPS at all depths. Interestingly the C:N, C:P and C:S ratios decreased significantly with depth possibly as a consequence of differences in fungi to bacteria ratio. Our results demonstrate that irrespective of the C-input, it is essential to balance the nutrient stoichiometry of added C to better match that of resistant SOM to increase SOC sequestration. This has implications for global practices and policies aimed at increasing SOC sequestration and specifically highlight the need to consider the hidden cost and availability of associated nutrients in building soil-C. PMID:27144282

  13. Inorganic Nutrients Increase Humification Efficiency and C-Sequestration in an Annually Cropped Soil.

    PubMed

    Kirkby, Clive A; Richardson, Alan E; Wade, Len J; Conyers, Mark; Kirkegaard, John A

    2016-01-01

    Removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and storing the carbon (C) in resistant soil organic matter (SOM) is a global priority to restore soil fertility and help mitigate climate change. Although it is widely assumed that retaining rather than removing or burning crop residues will increase SOM levels, many studies have failed to demonstrate this. We hypothesised that the microbial nature of resistant SOM provides a predictable nutrient stoichiometry (C:nitrogen, C:phosphorus and C:sulphur-C:N:P:S) to target using supplementary nutrients when incorporating C-rich crop residues into soil. An improvement in the humification efficiency of the soil microbiome as a whole, and thereby C-sequestration, was predicted. In a field study over 5 years, soil organic-C (SOC) stocks to 1.6 m soil depth were increased by 5.5 t C ha-1 where supplementary nutrients were applied with incorporated crop residues, but were reduced by 3.2 t C ha-1 without nutrient addition, with 2.9 t C ha-1 being lost from the 0-10 cm layer. A net difference of 8.7 t C ha-1 was thus achieved in a cropping soil over a 5 year period, despite the same level of C addition. Despite shallow incorporation (0.15 m), more than 50% of the SOC increase occurred below 0.3 m, and as predicted by the stoichiometry, increases in resistant SOC were accompanied by increases in soil NPS at all depths. Interestingly the C:N, C:P and C:S ratios decreased significantly with depth possibly as a consequence of differences in fungi to bacteria ratio. Our results demonstrate that irrespective of the C-input, it is essential to balance the nutrient stoichiometry of added C to better match that of resistant SOM to increase SOC sequestration. This has implications for global practices and policies aimed at increasing SOC sequestration and specifically highlight the need to consider the hidden cost and availability of associated nutrients in building soil-C. PMID:27144282

  14. Worldwide Alien Invasion: A Methodological Approach to Forecast the Potential Spread of a Highly Invasive Pollinator.

    PubMed

    Acosta, André L; Giannini, Tereza C; Imperatriz-Fonseca, Vera L; Saraiva, Antonio M

    2016-01-01

    The ecological impacts of alien species invasion are a major threat to global biodiversity. The increasing number of invasion events by alien species and the high cost and difficulty of eradicating invasive species once established require the development of new methods and tools for predicting the most susceptible areas to invasion. Invasive pollinators pose serious threats to biodiversity and human activity due to their close relationship with many plants (including crop species) and high potential competitiveness for resources with native pollinators. Although at an early stage of expansion, the bumblebee species Bombus terrestris is becoming a representative case of pollinator invasion at a global scale, particularly given its high velocity of invasive spread and the increasing number of reports of its impacts on native bees and crops in many countries. We present here a methodological framework of habitat suitability modeling that integrates new approaches for detecting habitats that are susceptible to Bombus terrestris invasion at a global scale. Our approach did not include reported invaded locations in the modeling procedure; instead, those locations were used exclusively to evaluate the accuracy of the models in predicting suitability over regions already invaded. Moreover, a new and more intuitive approach was developed to select the models and evaluate different algorithms based on their performance and predictive convergence. Finally, we present a comprehensive global map of susceptibility to Bombus terrestris invasion that highlights priority areas for monitoring. PMID:26882479

  15. Worldwide Alien Invasion: A Methodological Approach to Forecast the Potential Spread of a Highly Invasive Pollinator

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    The ecological impacts of alien species invasion are a major threat to global biodiversity. The increasing number of invasion events by alien species and the high cost and difficulty of eradicating invasive species once established require the development of new methods and tools for predicting the most susceptible areas to invasion. Invasive pollinators pose serious threats to biodiversity and human activity due to their close relationship with many plants (including crop species) and high potential competitiveness for resources with native pollinators. Although at an early stage of expansion, the bumblebee species Bombus terrestris is becoming a representative case of pollinator invasion at a global scale, particularly given its high velocity of invasive spread and the increasing number of reports of its impacts on native bees and crops in many countries. We present here a methodological framework of habitat suitability modeling that integrates new approaches for detecting habitats that are susceptible to Bombus terrestris invasion at a global scale. Our approach did not include reported invaded locations in the modeling procedure; instead, those locations were used exclusively to evaluate the accuracy of the models in predicting suitability over regions already invaded. Moreover, a new and more intuitive approach was developed to select the models and evaluate different algorithms based on their performance and predictive convergence. Finally, we present a comprehensive global map of susceptibility to Bombus terrestris invasion that highlights priority areas for monitoring. PMID:26882479

  16. Crop water productivity under increasing irrigation capacities in Romania. A spatially-explicit assessment of winter wheat and maize cropping systems in the southern lowlands of the country

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dogaru, Diana

    2016-04-01

    Improved water use efficiency in agriculture is a key issue in terms of sustainable management and consumption of water resources in the context of peoples' increasing food demands and preferences, economic growth and agricultural adaptation options to climate variability and change. Crop Water Productivity (CWP), defined as the ratio of yield (or value of harvested crop) to actual evapotranspiration or as the ratio of yield (or value of harvested crop) to volume of supplied irrigation water (Molden et al., 1998), is a useful indicator in the evaluation of water use efficiency and ultimately of cropland management, particularly in the case of regions affected by or prone to drought and where irrigation application is essential for achieving expected productions. The present study investigates the productivity of water in winter wheat and maize cropping systems in the Romanian Plain (49 594 sq. km), an important agricultural region in the southern part of the country which is increasingly affected by drought and dry spells (Sandu and Mateescu, 2014). The scope of the analysis is to assess the gains and losses in CWP for the two crops, by considering increased irrigated cropland and improved fertilization, these being the most common measures potentially and already implemented by the farmers. In order to capture the effects of such measures on agricultural water use, the GIS-based EPIC crop-growth model (GEPIC) (Williams et al., 1989; Liu, 2009) was employed to simulate yields, seasonal evapotranspiration from crops and volume of irrigation water in the Romanian Plain for the 2002 - 2013 interval with focus on 2007 and 2010, two representative years for dry and wet periods, respectively. The GEPIC model operates on a daily time step, while the geospatial input datasets for this analysis (e.g. climate data, soil classes and soil parameters, land use) were harmonized at 1km resolution grid cell. The sources of the spatial data are mainly the national profile agencies

  17. Increased Use of No-till Cropping Systems Improves Stream Ecosystem Quality

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yates, A. G.; Bailey, R. C.; Schwindt, J. A.

    2005-05-01

    Release of sediments to streams from tilled lands has been a significant stressor to streams in agro-ecosystems for decades and has been shown to impact aquatic biota in a variety of ways. To limit soil erosion from cultivated lands, conservation tillage techniques, including the use of no-till systems, have been developed and widely adopted throughout the region. However, there haves been no tests of the effects of no-till systems on stream quality at a watershed scale. We measured habitat and water quality and sampled the benthic macroinvertebrate (BMI) and fish communities in 32 small (100-1400 ha) subwatersheds along a gradient of the proportion of land under no-till cropping systems to determine relationships between the use of no-till and stream quality. Our results demonstrate that with increasing proportions of no-till, habitat scores improve, the quantities of sediment and sediment associated stressors in the water decline, the BMI community exhibits reduced dominance by Oligocheata and Sphaeriidae, as well as improved Family Biotic Index (FBI) scores, and fish species richness increases. We concluded that increased use of no-till cropping systems by farmers does contribute to improved quality of streams in agro-ecosystems.

  18. Evidence for pollinator cost and farming benefits of neonicotinoid seed coatings on oilseed rape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Budge, G. E.; Garthwaite, D.; Crowe, A.; Boatman, N. D.; Delaplane, K. S.; Brown, M. A.; Thygesen, H. H.; Pietravalle, S.

    2015-08-01

    Chronic exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides has been linked to reduced survival of pollinating insects at both the individual and colony level, but so far only experimentally. Analyses of large-scale datasets to investigate the real-world links between the use of neonicotinoids and pollinator mortality are lacking. Moreover, the impacts of neonicotinoid seed coatings in reducing subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and increasing crop yield are not known, despite the supposed benefits of this practice driving widespread use. Here, we combine large-scale pesticide usage and yield observations from oilseed rape with those detailing honey bee colony losses over an 11 year period, and reveal a correlation between honey bee colony losses and national-scale imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) usage patterns across England and Wales. We also provide the first evidence that farmers who use neonicotinoid seed coatings reduce the number of subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and may derive an economic return. Our results inform the societal discussion on the pollinator costs and farming benefits of prophylactic neonicotinoid usage on a mass flowering crop.

  19. Evidence for pollinator cost and farming benefits of neonicotinoid seed coatings on oilseed rape.

    PubMed

    Budge, G E; Garthwaite, D; Crowe, A; Boatman, N D; Delaplane, K S; Brown, M A; Thygesen, H H; Pietravalle, S

    2015-01-01

    Chronic exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides has been linked to reduced survival of pollinating insects at both the individual and colony level, but so far only experimentally. Analyses of large-scale datasets to investigate the real-world links between the use of neonicotinoids and pollinator mortality are lacking. Moreover, the impacts of neonicotinoid seed coatings in reducing subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and increasing crop yield are not known, despite the supposed benefits of this practice driving widespread use. Here, we combine large-scale pesticide usage and yield observations from oilseed rape with those detailing honey bee colony losses over an 11 year period, and reveal a correlation between honey bee colony losses and national-scale imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) usage patterns across England and Wales. We also provide the first evidence that farmers who use neonicotinoid seed coatings reduce the number of subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and may derive an economic return. Our results inform the societal discussion on the pollinator costs and farming benefits of prophylactic neonicotinoid usage on a mass flowering crop. PMID:26270806

  20. Evidence for pollinator cost and farming benefits of neonicotinoid seed coatings on oilseed rape

    PubMed Central

    Budge, G. E.; Garthwaite, D.; Crowe, A.; Boatman, N. D.; Delaplane, K. S.; Brown, M. A.; Thygesen, H. H.; Pietravalle, S.

    2015-01-01

    Chronic exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides has been linked to reduced survival of pollinating insects at both the individual and colony level, but so far only experimentally. Analyses of large-scale datasets to investigate the real-world links between the use of neonicotinoids and pollinator mortality are lacking. Moreover, the impacts of neonicotinoid seed coatings in reducing subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and increasing crop yield are not known, despite the supposed benefits of this practice driving widespread use. Here, we combine large-scale pesticide usage and yield observations from oilseed rape with those detailing honey bee colony losses over an 11 year period, and reveal a correlation between honey bee colony losses and national-scale imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) usage patterns across England and Wales. We also provide the first evidence that farmers who use neonicotinoid seed coatings reduce the number of subsequent applications of foliar insecticide sprays and may derive an economic return. Our results inform the societal discussion on the pollinator costs and farming benefits of prophylactic neonicotinoid usage on a mass flowering crop. PMID:26270806

  1. Effects of varroa mites and bee disease on pollination efficacy of honeybees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Single-stranded RNA viruses cause disease and behavioral changes in many insects, especially honey bees. Varroa mites and viral diseases are known to affect the efficiency of crop pollination by honey bees by eliminating colonies, but almost no information exists about their influence on pollination...

  2. Effects of varroa mites and bee diseases on pollination efficacy of honey bees

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Varroa mites and viral diseases are known to affect the efficiency of crop pollination by honey. This study elucidates effects of varroa mites and bee diseases on the foraging behavior of adult bees and the consequences on successful fruit pollination. Four honey bee colonies of about 4,500 bees eac...

  3. Bumble bee fauna of Palouse Prairie: survey of native bee pollinators in a fragmented ecosystem

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bumble bees are dominant pollinators in the northern hemisphere, providing important pollination services for commercial crops and innumerable wild plants. Nationwide declines in several bumble bee species and habitat loss in multiple ecosystems have raised concern about conservation of this import...

  4. Social insects: from the lab to the landscape - translational approaches to pollinator health

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Approximately 90% of flowering plants — corresponding to nearly three quarters of global agricultural crops — use pollinators to set seed and fruit. However, populations of several species of pollinators are in decline throughout the world, threatening the stability of our ecosystems and productivit...

  5. Irrigation with desalinated water: A step toward increasing water saving and crop yields

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silber, Avner; Israeli, Yair; Elingold, Idan; Levi, Menashe; Levkovitch, Irit; Russo, David; Assouline, Shmuel

    2015-01-01

    We examined the impact of two different approaches to managing irrigation water salinity: salt leaching from the field ("conventional" management) and water desalination before field application ("alternative" management). Freshwater commonly used for irrigation (FW) and desalinated water (DS) were applied to the high-water-demanding crop banana at four different rates. Both irrigation rate and water salinity significantly affected yield. DS application consistently produced higher yields than FW, independently of irrigation rate. The highest yield for FW-irrigation was achieved with the highest irrigation rate, whereas the same yield was obtained in the case of DS-irrigation with practically half the amount of water. Yield decreased with FW-irrigation, even when the water salinity, ECi, was lower than the limit considered safe for soil and crops. Irrigating with FW provided a massive amount of salt which accumulated in the rhizosphere, inducing increased osmotic potential of the soil solution and impairing plant water uptake. Furthermore, applying the "conventional" management, a significant amount of salt is leached from the rhizosphere, accumulating in deeper soil layers, and eventually reaching groundwater reservoirs, thus contributing to the deterioration of both soil and water quality. Removal of salt excess from the water before it reaches the field by means of DS-irrigation may save significant amounts of irrigation water by reducing the salt leaching requirements while increasing yield and improving fruit quality, and decreasing salt load in the groundwater.

  6. Increased Productivity of a Cover Crop Mixture Is Not Associated with Enhanced Agroecosystem Services

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Richard G.; Atwood, Lesley W.; Warren, Nicholas D.

    2014-01-01

    Cover crops provide a variety of important agroecological services within cropping systems. Typically these crops are grown as monocultures or simple graminoid-legume bicultures; however, ecological theory and empirical evidence suggest that agroecosystem services could be enhanced by growing cover crops in species-rich mixtures. We examined cover crop productivity, weed suppression, stability, and carryover effects to a subsequent cash crop in an experiment involving a five-species annual cover crop mixture and the component species grown as monocultures in SE New Hampshire, USA in 2011 and 2012. The mean land equivalent ratio (LER) for the mixture exceeded 1.0 in both years, indicating that the mixture over-yielded relative to the monocultures. Despite the apparent over-yielding in the mixture, we observed no enhancement in weed suppression, biomass stability, or productivity of a subsequent oat (Avena sativa L.) cash crop when compared to the best monoculture component crop. These data are some of the first to include application of the LER to an analysis of a cover crop mixture and contribute to the growing literature on the agroecological effects of cover crop diversity in cropping systems. PMID:24847902

  7. Orchid–pollinator interactions and potential vulnerability to biological invasion

    PubMed Central

    Chupp, Adam D.; Battaglia, Loretta L.; Schauber, Eric M.; Sipes, Sedonia D.

    2015-01-01

    Mutualistic relationships between plants and their pollinators have played a major role in the evolution of biodiversity. While the vulnerability of these relationships to environmental change is a major concern, studies often lack a framework for predicting impacts from emerging threats (e.g. biological invasions). The objective of this study was to determine the reliance of Platanthera ciliaris (orange-fringed orchid) on Papilio palamedes (Palamedes swallowtail butterfly) for pollination and the relative availability of alternative pollinators. Recent declines of P. palamedes larval host plants due to laurel wilt disease (LWD) could endanger P. ciliaris populations that rely heavily on this butterfly for pollination. We monitored pollinator visitation and fruit set and measured nectar spur lengths of P. ciliaris flowers and proboscis lengths of its floral visitors in Jackson County, MS, USA. Papilio palamedes was the primary visitor with minimal visitation by Phoebis sennae (cloudless sulfur butterfly). Lengths of P. ciliaris nectar spurs were similar to proboscis lengths of both pollinator species. Fruit set was moderate with access to pollinators (55 ± 10.8 %), yet failed (0 %) when pollinators were excluded. Visitation increased with inflorescence size, but there was no such pattern in fruit set, indicating that fruit set was not limited by pollinator visitation within the range of visitation rates we observed. Our results are supported by historical data that suggest P. palamedes and P. sennae are important pollinators of P. ciliaris. Although P. sennae may provide supplemental pollination service, this is likely constrained by habitat preferences that do not always overlap with those of P. cilaris. Observed declines of P. palamedes due to LWD could severely limit the reproductive success and persistence of P. ciliaris and similar orchid species populations. This empirical-based prediction is among the first to document exotic forest pests and pathogens as

  8. Orchid-pollinator interactions and potential vulnerability to biological invasion.

    PubMed

    Chupp, Adam D; Battaglia, Loretta L; Schauber, Eric M; Sipes, Sedonia D

    2015-01-01

    Mutualistic relationships between plants and their pollinators have played a major role in the evolution of biodiversity. While the vulnerability of these relationships to environmental change is a major concern, studies often lack a framework for predicting impacts from emerging threats (e.g. biological invasions). The objective of this study was to determine the reliance of Platanthera ciliaris (orange-fringed orchid) on Papilio palamedes (Palamedes swallowtail butterfly) for pollination and the relative availability of alternative pollinators. Recent declines of P. palamedes larval host plants due to laurel wilt disease (LWD) could endanger P. ciliaris populations that rely heavily on this butterfly for pollination. We monitored pollinator visitation and fruit set and measured nectar spur lengths of P. ciliaris flowers and proboscis lengths of its floral visitors in Jackson County, MS, USA. Papilio palamedes was the primary visitor with minimal visitation by Phoebis sennae (cloudless sulfur butterfly). Lengths of P. ciliaris nectar spurs were similar to proboscis lengths of both pollinator species. Fruit set was moderate with access to pollinators (55 ± 10.8 %), yet failed (0 %) when pollinators were excluded. Visitation increased with inflorescence size, but there was no such pattern in fruit set, indicating that fruit set was not limited by pollinator visitation within the range of visitation rates we observed. Our results are supported by historical data that suggest P. palamedes and P. sennae are important pollinators of P. ciliaris. Although P. sennae may provide supplemental pollination service, this is likely constrained by habitat preferences that do not always overlap with those of P. cilaris. Observed declines of P. palamedes due to LWD could severely limit the reproductive success and persistence of P. ciliaris and similar orchid species populations. This empirical-based prediction is among the first to document exotic forest pests and pathogens as

  9. Milkweed (Gentianales: Apocynaceae): A farmscape resource for increasing parasitism of stink bugs (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) and providing nectar to insect pollinators and monarch butterflies

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    In peanut-cotton farmscapes in Georgia, stink bugs, i.e., Nezara viridula (L.), Euschistus servus (Say), and Chinavia hilaris (Say), develop in peanut and then disperse at the crop-to-crop interface to feed on fruit in cotton. The main objective of this study was to examine the influence of a habit...

  10. Degradation of soil fertility can cancel pollination benefits in sunflower.

    PubMed

    Tamburini, Giovanni; Berti, Antonio; Morari, Francesco; Marini, Lorenzo

    2016-02-01

    Pollination and soil fertility are important ecosystem services to agriculture but their relative roles and potential interactions are poorly understood. We explored the combined effects of pollination and soil fertility in sunflower using soils from a trial characterized by different long-term input management in order to recreate plausible levels of soil fertility. Pollinator exclusion was used as a proxy for a highly eroded pollination service. Pollination benefits to yield depended on soil fertility, i.e., insect pollination enhanced seed set and yield only under higher soil fertility indicating that limited nutrient availability may constrain pollination benefits. Our study provides evidence for interactions between above- and belowground ecosystem services, highlighting the crucial role of soil fertility in supporting agricultural production not only directly, but also indirectly through pollination. Management strategies aimed at enhancing pollination services might fail in increasing yield in landscapes characterized by high soil service degradation. Comprehensive knowledge about service interactions is therefore essential for the correct management of ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. PMID:26527463

  11. Past evolutionary tradeoffs represent opportunities for crop genetic improvement and increased human lifespan

    PubMed Central

    Denison, R Ford

    2011-01-01

    The repeated evolution of complex adaptations – crop mimicry by weeds, for example, or CO2-concentrating C4 photosynthesis – shows the power of natural selection to solve difficult problems that limited fitness in past environments. The sophistication of natural selection's innovations contrasts with the relatively simple changes (e.g., increasing the expression of existing genes) readily achievable by today's biotechnology. Mutants with greater expression of these genes arose repeatedly over the course of evolution, so their present rarity indicates rejection by natural selection. Similarly, medical interventions that simply up- or down-regulate existing physiological mechanisms presumably recreate phenotypes also rejected by past natural selection. Some tradeoffs that constrained past natural selection still apply, such as those resulting from conservation of matter. But tradeoffs between present human goals and individual fitness in past environments may represent fairly easy opportunities to achieve our goals by reversing some effects of past selection. This point is illustrated with three examples, based on tradeoffs between (i) individual-plant fitness versus whole-crop performance, (ii) the fitness of symbionts (rhizobia) versus that of their legume hosts, and (iii) human fertility versus longevity in the context of environmental cues, such as consumption of ‘famine foods’, that predict trends in population size. PMID:25567969

  12. Challenges in testing genetically modified crops for potential increases in endogenous allergen expression for safety.

    PubMed

    Panda, R; Ariyarathna, H; Amnuaycheewa, P; Tetteh, A; Pramod, S N; Taylor, S L; Ballmer-Weber, B K; Goodman, R E

    2013-02-01

    Premarket, genetically modified (GM) plants are assessed for potential risks of food allergy. The major risk would be transfer of a gene encoding an allergen or protein nearly identical to an allergen into a different food source, which can be assessed by specific serum testing. The potential that a newly expressed protein might become an allergen is evaluated based on resistance to digestion in pepsin and abundance in food fractions. If the modified plant is a common allergenic source (e.g. soybean), regulatory guidelines suggest testing for increases in the expression of endogenous allergens. Some regulators request evaluating endogenous allergens for rarely allergenic plants (e.g. maize and rice). Since allergic individuals must avoid foods containing their allergen (e.g. peanut, soybean, maize, or rice), the relevance of the tests is unclear. Furthermore, no acceptance criteria are established and little is known about the natural variation in allergen concentrations in these crops. Our results demonstrate a 15-fold difference in the major maize allergen, lipid transfer protein between nine varieties, and complex variation in IgE binding to various soybean varieties. We question the value of evaluating endogenous allergens in GM plants unless the intent of the modification was production of a hypoallergenic crop. PMID:23205714

  13. Flight performance of bumble bee as a possible pollinator in space agriculture under partial gravity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yamashita, Masamichi; Hashimoto, Hirofumi; Mitsuhata, Masahiro; Sasaki, Masami; Space Agriculture Task Force, J.

    Space agriculture is an advanced life support concept for habitation on extraterrestrial bodies based on biological and ecological function. Flowering plant species are core member of space agriculture to produce food and revitalize air and water. Selection of crop plant species is made on the basis of nutritional requirements to maintain healthy life of space crew. Species selected for space agriculture have several mode of reproduction. For some of plant species, insect pollination is effective to increase yield and quality of food. In terrestrial agriculture, bee is widely introduced to pollinate flower. For pollinator insect on Mars, working environment is different from Earth. Magnitude of gravity is 0.38G on Mars surface. In order to confirm feasibility of insect pollination for space agriculture, capability of flying pollinator insect under such exotic condition should be examined. Even bee does not possess evident gravity sensory system, gravity dominates flying performance and behavior. During flight or hovering, lifting force produced by wing beat sustains body weight, which is the product of body mass and gravitational acceleration. Flying behavior of bumble bee, Bombus ignitus, was documented under partial or micro-gravity produced by parabolic flight of jet plane. Flying behavior at absence of gravity differed from that under normal gravity. Ability of bee to fly under partial gravity was examined at the level of Mars, Moon and the less, to determine the threshold level of gravity for bee flying maneuver. Adaptation process of bee flying under different gravity level was evaluated as well by successive documentation of parabolic flight experiment.

  14. The pollination niche and its role in the diversification and maintenance of the southern African flora

    PubMed Central

    Johnson, Steven D.

    2010-01-01

    The flora of southern Africa has exceptional species richness and endemism, making it an ideal system for studying the patterns and processes of evolutionary diversification. Using a wealth of recent case studies, I examine the evidence for pollinator-driven diversification in this flora. Pollination systems, which represent available niches for ecological diversification, are characterized in southern Africa by a high level of ecological and evolutionary specialization on the part of plants, and, in some cases, by pollinators as well. These systems are asymmetric, with entire plant guilds commonly specialized for a particular pollinator species or functional type, resulting in obvious convergent floral evolution among guild members. Identified modes of plant lineage diversification involving adaptation to pollinators in these guilds include (i) shifts between pollination systems, (ii) divergent use of the same pollinator, (iii) coevolution, (iv) trait tracking, and (v) floral mimicry of different model species. Microevolutionary studies confirm that pollinator shifts can be precipitated when a plant species encounters a novel pollinator fauna on its range margin, and macroevolutionary studies confirm frequent pollinator shifts associated with lineage diversification. As Darwin first noted, evolutionary specialization for particular pollinators, when resulting in ecological dependency, may increase the risk of plant extinction. I thus also consider the evidence that disturbance provokes pollination failure in some southern African plants with specialized pollination systems. PMID:20047876

  15. Programmed cell death in kiwifruit stigmatic arms and its relationship to the effective pollination period and the progamic phase

    PubMed Central

    Ferradás, Yolanda; López, Marián; Rey, Manuel; González, Ma Victoria

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Kiwifruit is a crop with a highly successful reproductive performance, which is impaired by the short effective pollination period of female flowers. This study investigates whether the degenerative processes observed in both pollinated and non-pollinated flowers after anthesis may be considered to be programmed cell death (PCD). Methods Features of PCD in kiwifruit, Actinidia chinensis var. deliciosa, were studied in both non-pollinated and pollinated stigmatic arms using transmission electron microscopy, DAPI (4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) staining, TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labelling) assays, DNA gel electrophoresis and caspase-like activity assays. Key Results In the secretory tissues of the stigmatic arms, cell organelles disintegrated sequentially while progressive vacuolization was detected. At the same time, chromatin condensation, nuclear deformation, and DNA fragmentation and degradation were observed. These features were detected in both non-pollinated and pollinated stigmatic arms; they were evident in the stigmas of pollinated flowers by the second day after anthesis but only by 4 d after anthesis in non-pollinated flowers. In addition, in pollinated stigmatic arms, these features were first initiated in the stigma and gradually progressed through the style, consistent with pollen tube growth. This timing of events was also observed in both non-pollinated and pollinated stigmatic arms for caspase-3-like activity. Conclusions The data provide evidence to support the hypothesis that PCD processes occurring in the secretory tissue of non-pollinated kiwifruit stigmatic arms could be the origin for the observed short effective pollination period. The results obtained in the secretory tissue of pollinated kiwifruit stigmatic arms upon pollination support the idea that PCD might be accelerated by pollination, pointing to the involvement of PCD during the progamic phase. PMID:24782437

  16. Manipulating photorespiration to increase plant productivity: recent advances and perspectives for crop improvement.

    PubMed

    Betti, Marco; Bauwe, Hermann; Busch, Florian A; Fernie, Alisdair R; Keech, Olivier; Levey, Myles; Ort, Donald R; Parry, Martin A J; Sage, Rowan; Timm, Stefan; Walker, Berkley; Weber, Andreas P M

    2016-05-01

    Recycling of the 2-phosphoglycolate generated by the oxygenase reaction of Rubisco requires a complex and energy-consuming set of reactions collectively known as the photorespiratory cycle. Several approaches aimed at reducing the rates of photorespiratory energy or carbon loss have been proposed, based either on screening for natural variation or by means of genetic engineering. Recent work indicates that plant yield can be substantially improved by the alteration of photorespiratory fluxes or by engineering artificial bypasses to photorespiration. However, there is also evidence indicating that, under certain environmental and/or nutritional conditions, reduced photorespiratory capacity may be detrimental to plant performance. Here we summarize recent advances obtained in photorespiratory engineering and discuss prospects for these advances to be transferred to major crops to help address the globally increasing demand for food and biomass production. PMID:26951371

  17. Carbohydrates, pollinators, and cycads

    PubMed Central

    Marler, Thomas E; Lindström, Anders J

    2015-01-01

    Cycad biology, ecology, and horticulture decisions are not supported by adequate research, and experiments in cycad physiology in particular have been deficient. Our recent report on free sugar content in a range of cycad taxa and tissues sets the stage for developing continued carbohydrate research. Growth and development of cycad pollen, mediation of the herbivory traits of specialist pollinators, and support of expensive strobilus behavioral traits are areas of cycad pollination biology that would benefit from a greater understanding of the role of carbohydrate relations. PMID:26479502

  18. Organic Farming and Landscape Structure: Effects on Insect-Pollinated Plant Diversity in Intensively Managed Grasslands

    PubMed Central

    Power, Eileen F.; Kelly, Daniel L.; Stout, Jane C.

    2012-01-01

    Parallel declines in insect-pollinated plants and their pollinators have been reported as a result of agricultural intensification. Intensive arable plant communities have previously been shown to contain higher proportions of self-pollinated plants compared to natural or semi-natural plant communities. Though intensive grasslands are widespread, it is not known whether they show similar patterns to arable systems nor whether local and/or landscape factors are influential. We investigated plant community composition in 10 pairs of organic and conventional dairy farms across Ireland in relation to the local and landscape context. Relationships between plant groups and local factors (farming system, position in field and soil parameters) and landscape factors (e.g. landscape complexity) were investigated. The percentage cover of unimproved grassland was used as an inverse predictor of landscape complexity, as it was negatively correlated with habitat-type diversity. Intensive grasslands (organic and conventional) contained more insect-pollinated forbs than non-insect pollinated forbs. Organic field centres contained more insect-pollinated forbs than conventional field centres. Insect-pollinated forb richness in field edges (but not field centres) increased with increasing landscape complexity (% unimproved grassland) within 1, 3, 4 and 5km radii around sites, whereas non-insect pollinated forb richness was unrelated to landscape complexity. Pollination systems within intensive grassland communities may be different from those in arable systems. Our results indicate that organic management increases plant richness in field centres, but that landscape complexity exerts strong influences in both organic and conventional field edges. Insect-pollinated forb richness, unlike that for non-insect pollinated forbs, showed positive relationships to landscape complexity reflecting what has been documented for bees and other pollinators. The insect-pollinated forbs, their

  19. Pollination biology of basal angiosperms (ANITA grade).

    PubMed

    Thien, Leonard B; Bernhardt, Peter; Devall, Margaret S; Chen, Zhi-Duan; Luo, Yi-Bo; Fan, Jian-Hua; Yuan, Liang-Chen; Williams, Joseph H

    2009-01-01

    The first three branches of the angiosperm phylogenetic tree consist of eight families with ∼201 species of plants (the ANITA grade). The oldest flower fossil for the group is dated to the Early Cretaceous (115-125 Mya) and identified to the Nymphaeales. The flowers of extant plants in the ANITA grade are small, and pollen is the edible reward (rarely nectar or starch bodies). Unlike many gymnosperms that secrete "pollination drops," ANITA-grade members examined thus far have a dry-type stigma. Copious secretions of stigmatic fluid are restricted to the Nymphaeales, but this is not nectar. Floral odors, floral thermogenesis (a resource), and colored tepals attract insects in deceit-based pollination syndromes throughout the first three branches of the phylogenetic tree. Self-incompatibility and an extragynoecial compitum occur in some species in the Austrobaileyales. Flies are primary pollinators in six families (10 genera). Beetles are pollinators in five families varying in importance as primary (exclusive) to secondary vectors of pollen. Bees are major pollinators only in the Nymphaeaceae. It is hypothesized that large flowers in Nymphaeaceae are the result of the interaction of heat, floral odors, and colored tepals to trap insects to increase fitness. PMID:21628182

  20. Pollination triggers female gametophyte development in immature Nicotiana tabacum flowers.

    PubMed

    Brito, Michael S; Bertolino, Lígia T; Cossalter, Viviane; Quiapim, Andréa C; DePaoli, Henrique C; Goldman, Gustavo H; Teixeira, Simone P; Goldman, Maria H S

    2015-01-01

    In Nicotiana tabacum, female gametophytes are not fully developed at anthesis, but flower buds pollinated 12 h before anthesis produce mature embryo sacs. We investigated several pollination-associated parameters in N. tabacum flower buds to determine the developmental timing of important events in preparation for successful fertilization. First, we performed hand pollinations in flowers from stages 4 to 11 to study at which developmental stage pollination would produce fruits. A Peroxtesmo test was performed to correlate peroxidase activity on the stigma surface, indicative of stigma receptivity, with fruit set. Pollen tube growth and female gametophyte development were microscopically analyzed in pistils of different developmental stages. Fruits were obtained only after pollinations of flower buds at late stage 7 and older; fruit weight and seed germination capacity increased as the developmental stage of the pollinated flower approached anthesis. Despite positive peroxidase activity and pollen tube growth, pistils at stages 5 and 6 were unable to produce fruits. At late stage 7, female gametophytes were undergoing first mitotic division. After 24 h, female gametophytes of unpollinated pistils were still in the end of the first division, whereas those of pollinated pistils showed egg cells. RT-qPCR assay showed that the expression of the NtEC1 gene, a marker of egg cell development, is considerably higher in pollinated late stage 7 ovaries compared with unpollinated ovaries. To test whether ethylene is the signal eliciting female gametophyte maturation, the expression of ACC synthase was examined in unpollinated and pollinated stage 6 and late stage 7 stigmas/styles. Pollination induced NtACS expression in stage 6 pistils, which are unable to produce fruits. Our results show that pollination is a stimulus capable of triggering female gametophyte development in immature tobacco flowers and suggests the existence of a yet undefined signal sensed by the pistil. PMID

  1. Pollination triggers female gametophyte development in immature Nicotiana tabacum flowers

    PubMed Central

    Brito, Michael S.; Bertolino, Lígia T.; Cossalter, Viviane; Quiapim, Andréa C.; DePaoli, Henrique C.; Goldman, Gustavo H.; Teixeira, Simone P.; Goldman, Maria H. S.

    2015-01-01

    In Nicotiana tabacum, female gametophytes are not fully developed at anthesis, but flower buds pollinated 12 h before anthesis produce mature embryo sacs. We investigated several pollination-associated parameters in N. tabacum flower buds to determine the developmental timing of important events in preparation for successful fertilization. First, we performed hand pollinations in flowers from stages 4 to 11 to study at which developmental stage pollination would produce fruits. A Peroxtesmo test was performed to correlate peroxidase activity on the stigma surface, indicative of stigma receptivity, with fruit set. Pollen tube growth and female gametophyte development were microscopically analyzed in pistils of different developmental stages. Fruits were obtained only after pollinations of flower buds at late stage 7 and older; fruit weight and seed germination capacity increased as the developmental stage of the pollinated flower approached anthesis. Despite positive peroxidase activity and pollen tube growth, pistils at stages 5 and 6 were unable to produce fruits. At late stage 7, female gametophytes were undergoing first mitotic division. After 24 h, female gametophytes of unpollinated pistils were still in the end of the first division, whereas those of pollinated pistils showed egg cells. RT-qPCR assay showed that the expression of the NtEC1 gene, a marker of egg cell development, is considerably higher in pollinated late stage 7 ovaries compared with unpollinated ovaries. To test whether ethylene is the signal eliciting female gametophyte maturation, the expression of ACC synthase was examined in unpollinated and pollinated stage 6 and late stage 7 stigmas/styles. Pollination induced NtACS expression in stage 6 pistils, which are unable to produce fruits. Our results show that pollination is a stimulus capable of triggering female gametophyte development in immature tobacco flowers and suggests the existence of a yet undefined signal sensed by the pistil. PMID

  2. Beneficial Insects and Insect Pollinators on Milkweed in South Georgia

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Insect pollinators are essential for the reproduction of more than two-thirds of the world’s crops, and beneficial insects play an important role in managing pest insects in agricultural farmscapes. These insects depend on nectar for their survival in these farmscapes. The flowers of tropical milkwe...

  3. New energy crop giant cane (Arundo donax L.) can substitute traditional energy crops increasing biogas yield and reducing costs.

    PubMed

    Luca, Corno; Pilu, Roberto; Tambone, Fulvia; Scaglia, Barbara; Adani, Fabrizio

    2015-09-01

    Giant cane is a promising non-food crop for biogas production. Giant cane and corn silages coming from full-scale fields were tested, in mixtures with pig slurry, for biomethane production by a continuous stirred tank lab-scale-reactor (CSTR) approach. Results indicated that giant cane produced less biomethane than corn, i.e. 174±10 N m(3) CH4 Mg(-1) TS(-1) and 245±26 N m(3) CH4 Mg(-1) TS(-1), respectively. On the other hand, because of its high field biomass production, the biogas obtainable per Ha was higher for giant cane than for corn, i.e. 12,292 N m(3) CH4 Ha(-1) and 4549 N m(3) CH4 Ha(-1), respectively. Low energetic and agronomic inputs for giant cane cultivation led to a considerable reduction in the costs of producing both electricity and biomethane, i.e. 0.50 € N m(-3) CH4(-1) and 0.81 € N m(-3) CH4(-1), and 0.10 € kW hEE(-1) and 0.19 € kW hEE(-1) for biomethane and electricity production, and for giant cane and corn mixtures respectively. PMID:25997008

  4. Plant genetic resources: what can they contribute toward increased crop productivity?

    PubMed

    Hoisington, D; Khairallah, M; Reeves, T; Ribaut, J M; Skovmand, B; Taba, S; Warburton, M

    1999-05-25

    To feed a world population growing by up to 160 people per minute, with >90% of them in developing countries, will require an astonishing increase in food production. Forecasts call for wheat to become the most important cereal in the world, with maize close behind; together, these crops will account for approximately 80% of developing countries' cereal import requirements. Access to a range of genetic diversity is critical to the success of breeding programs. The global effort to assemble, document, and utilize these resources is enormous, and the genetic diversity in the collections is critical to the world's fight against hunger. The introgression of genes that reduced plant height and increased disease and viral resistance in wheat provided the foundation for the "Green Revolution" and demonstrated the tremendous impact that genetic resources can have on production. Wheat hybrids and synthetics may provide the yield increases needed in the future. A wild relative of maize, Tripsacum, represents an untapped genetic resource for abiotic and biotic stress resistance and for apomixis, a trait that could provide developing world farmers access to hybrid technology. Ownership of genetic resources and genes must be resolved to ensure global access to these critical resources. The application of molecular and genetic engineering technologies enhances the use of genetic resources. The effective and complementary use of all of our technological tools and resources will be required for meeting the challenge posed by the world's expanding demand for food. PMID:10339521

  5. Crop rotations in the sea: Increasing returns and reducing risk of collapse in sea cucumber fisheries

    PubMed Central

    Skewes, Timothy; Murphy, Nicole; Pascual, Ricardo; Fischer, Mibu

    2015-01-01

    Rotational harvesting is one of the oldest management strategies applied to terrestrial and marine natural resources, with crop rotations dating back to the time of the Roman Empire. The efficacy of this strategy for sessile marine species is of considerable interest given that these resources are vital to underpin food security and maintain the social and economic wellbeing of small-scale and commercial fishers globally. We modeled the rotational zone strategy applied to the multispecies sea cucumber fishery in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and show a substantial reduction in the risk of localized depletion, higher long-term yields, and improved economic performance. We evaluated the performance of rotation cycles of different length and show an improvement in biological and economic performance with increasing time between harvests up to 6 y. As sea cucumber fisheries throughout the world succumb to overexploitation driven by rising demand, there has been an increasing demand for robust assessments of fishery sustainability and a need to address local depletion concerns. Our results provide motivation for increased use of relatively low-information, low-cost, comanagement rotational harvest approaches in coastal and reef systems globally. PMID:25964357

  6. Crop rotations in the sea: Increasing returns and reducing risk of collapse in sea cucumber fisheries.

    PubMed

    Plagányi, Éva Elizabeth; Skewes, Timothy; Murphy, Nicole; Pascual, Ricardo; Fischer, Mibu

    2015-05-26

    Rotational harvesting is one of the oldest management strategies applied to terrestrial and marine natural resources, with crop rotations dating back to the time of the Roman Empire. The efficacy of this strategy for sessile marine species is of considerable interest given that these resources are vital to underpin food security and maintain the social and economic wellbeing of small-scale and commercial fishers globally. We modeled the rotational zone strategy applied to the multispecies sea cucumber fishery in Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and show a substantial reduction in the risk of localized depletion, higher long-term yields, and improved economic performance. We evaluated the performance of rotation cycles of different length and show an improvement in biological and economic performance with increasing time between harvests up to 6 y. As sea cucumber fisheries throughout the world succumb to overexploitation driven by rising demand, there has been an increasing demand for robust assessments of fishery sustainability and a need to address local depletion concerns. Our results provide motivation for increased use of relatively low-information, low-cost, comanagement rotational harvest approaches in coastal and reef systems globally. PMID:25964357

  7. Do cover crops increase or decrease nitrous oxide emissions? A meta-analysis

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Few studies have examined the factors that affect the impact of cover crops on nitrous oxide emissions. A meta-analysis of the data obtained from twenty-six peer reviewed articles was conducted using the natural log of the nitrous oxide flux with a cover crop divided by the nitrous oxide flux withou...

  8. Crop water productivity under increasing irrigation capacities in Romania. A spatially-explicit assessment of winter wheat and maize cropping systems in the southern lowlands of the country

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dogaru, Diana

    2016-04-01

    Improved water use efficiency in agriculture is a key issue in terms of sustainable management and consumption of water resources in the context of peoples' increasing food demands and preferences, economic growth and agricultural adaptation options to climate variability and change. Crop Water Productivity (CWP), defined as the ratio of yield (or value of harvested crop) to actual evapotranspiration or as the ratio of yield (or value of harvested crop) to volume of supplied irrigation water (Molden et al., 1998), is a useful indicator in the evaluation of water use efficiency and ultimately of cropland management, particularly in the case of regions affected by or prone to drought and where irrigation application is essential for achieving expected productions. The present study investigates the productivity of water in winter wheat and maize cropping systems in the Romanian Plain (49 594 sq. km), an important agricultural region in the southern part of the country which is increasingly affected by drought and dry spells (Sandu and Mateescu, 2014). The scope of the analysis is to assess the gains and losses in CWP for the two crops, by considering increased irrigated cropland and improved fertilization, these being the most common measures potentially and already implemented by the farmers. In order to capture the effects of such measures on agricultural water use, the GIS-based EPIC crop-growth model (GEPIC) (Williams et al., 1989; Liu, 2009) was employed to simulate yields, seasonal evapotranspiration from crops and volume of irrigation water in the Romanian Plain for the 2002 - 2013 interval with focus on 2007 and 2010, two representative years for dry and wet periods, respectively. The GEPIC model operates on a daily time step, while the geospatial input datasets for this analysis (e.g. climate data, soil classes and soil parameters, land use) were harmonized at 1km resolution grid cell. The sources of the spatial data are mainly the national profile agencies

  9. The use of cover crops to increase soil organic carbon in Mediterranean vineyards

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    García-Díaz, Andrés; Bienes Allas, Ramón; Sastre Rodriguez, Blanca

    2016-04-01

    In Central Spain the vineyards are commonly managed with conventional tillage (CT) to remove water and nutrient competition between the spontaneous vegetation and the vine plants. The continuous tillage promotes high mineralization rates resulting in soils with low organic matter content and prone to erosion. Consequently the increase of soil organic carbon (SOC) in Mediterranean soils has been a main concern in the last years. It is necessary to carry out different soil managements to enhance soil fertility and reduce erosion through the increase of SOC. The aim of this study was to assess the capacity of cover crops (CC) to increase SOC in vineyards in Mediterranean climate. The experiment consisted in four vineyards in four different locations (different type of soil and microclimate), in the same region, to analyze the influence of CC on different conditions. A seeded CC (Brachypodium distachyon L. P. Beauv) and spontaneous vegetation were performed to compare to CT. The Brachypodium distachyon cover was seeded in December, 2012. We analyzed the organic carbon content and bulk density after three agronomy seasons. The samples were taken in the summer of 2015 at the depth of 0-5 cm. The bulk density of Brachypodium distachyon was 1.42 t•m-3, which was statistically significant comparing to both CT (1.33 t•m-3) and spontaneous vegetation (1.34 t•m-3). The SOC percentage of CT, Brachypodium distachyon and spontaneous vegetation was 0.82, 0.96 and 1.10 respectively. Only spontaneous vegetation showed statistically significant differences compared to CT. The results were highly variable depending on the vineyard. The spontaneous vegetation was the most effective CC increasing SOC with an average of 2 t•ha-1 more than CT in three agronomy seasons. These results point out the different efficiency of CC and the high influence of local conditions on SOC increase.

  10. A photorespiratory bypass increases plant growth and seed yield in biofuel crop Camelina sativa

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Dalal, Jyoti; Lopez, Harry; Vasani, Naresh B.; Hu, Zhaohui; Swift, Jennifer E.; Yalamanchili, Roopa; Dvora, Mia; Lin, Xiuli; Xie, Deyu; Qu, Rongda; et al

    2015-10-29

    Camelina sativa is an oilseed crop with great potential for biofuel production on marginal land. The seed oil from camelina has been converted to jet fuel and improved fuel efficiency in commercial and military test flights. Hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel from camelina is environmentally superior to that from canola due to lower agricultural inputs, and the seed meal is FDA approved for animal consumption. However, relatively low yield makes its farming less profitable. Our study is aimed at increasing camelina seed yield by reducing carbon loss from photorespiration via a photorespiratory bypass. Genes encoding three enzymes of the Escherichia coli glycolatemore » catabolic pathway were introduced: glycolate dehydrogenase (GDH), glyoxylate carboxyligase (GCL) and tartronic semialdehyde reductase (TSR). These enzymes compete for the photorespiratory substrate, glycolate, convert it to glycerate within the chloroplasts, and reduce photorespiration. As a by-product of the reaction, CO2 is released in the chloroplast, which increases photosynthesis. Camelina plants were transformed with either partial bypass (GDH), or full bypass (GDH, GCL and TSR) genes. Furthermore, transgenic plants were evaluated for physiological and metabolic traits.« less

  11. Evaluating stocker cattle in a Southern Piedmont conservation tillage cotton-cover crop system to increase productivity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Managing cover crop with cattle offers a way to offset costs and increase farm revenue in conservation tillage systems. Cattle may have positive benefits on economic returns but negative impacts on cotton production. Treading of surfaces and reductions in surface residues may increase risks of soil ...

  12. The role of pollinator diversity in the evolution of corolla-shape integration in a pollination-generalist plant clade

    PubMed Central

    Gómez, José María; Perfectti, Francisco; Klingenberg, Christian Peter

    2014-01-01

    Flowers of animal-pollinated plants are integrated structures shaped by the action of pollinator-mediated selection. It is widely assumed that pollination specialization increases the magnitude of floral integration. However, empirical evidence is still inconclusive. In this study, we explored the role of pollinator diversity in shaping the evolution of corolla-shape integration in Erysimum, a plant genus with generalized pollination systems. We quantified floral integration in Erysimum using geometric morphometrics and explored its evolution using phylogenetic comparative methods. Corolla-shape integration was low but significantly different from zero in all study species. Spatial autocorrelation and phylogenetic signal in corolla-shape integration were not detected. In addition, integration in Erysimum seems to have evolved in a way that is consistent with Brownian motion, but with frequent convergent evolution. Corolla-shape integration was negatively associated with the number of pollinators visiting the flowers of each Erysimum species. That is, it was lower in those species having a more generalized pollination system. This negative association may occur because the co-occurrence of many pollinators imposes conflicting selection and cancels out any consistent selection on specific floral traits, preventing the evolution of highly integrated flowers. PMID:25002702

  13. The Potential of Five Winter-grown Crops to Reduce Root-knot Nematode Damage and Increase Yield of Tomato

    PubMed Central

    López-Pérez, Jose Antonio; Roubtsova, Tatiana; de Cara García, Miguel

    2010-01-01

    Broccoli (Brassica oleracea), carrot (Daucus carota), marigold (Tagetes patula), nematode-resistant tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), and strawberry (Fragaria ananassa) were grown for three years during the winter in a root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) infested field in Southern California. Each year in the spring, the tops of all crops were shredded and incorporated in the soil. Amendment with poultry litter was included as a sub-treatment. The soil was then covered with clear plastic for six weeks and M. incognita-susceptible tomato was grown during the summer season. Plastic tarping raised the average soil temperature at 13 cm depth by 7°C.The different winter-grown crops or the poultry litter did not affect M. incognita soil population levels. However, root galling on summer tomato was reduced by 36%, and tomato yields increased by 19% after incorporating broccoli compared to the fallow control. This crop also produced the highest amount of biomass of the five winter-grown crops. Over the three-year trial period, poultry litter increased tomato yields, but did not affect root galling caused by M. incognita. We conclude that cultivation followed by soil incorporation of broccoli reduced M. incognita damage to tomato. This effect is possibly due to delaying or preventing a portion of the nematodes to reach the host roots. We also observed that M. incognita populations did not increase under a host crop during the cool season when soil temperatures remained low (< 18°C). PMID:22736848

  14. Fall cover cropping can increase arbuscular mycorrhizae in soils supporting intensive agricultural production

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Intensive agricultural practices, such as tillage, monocropping, seasonal fallow periods, and inorganic nutrient application have been shown to reduce arbuscular mycorrrhizal fungi (AMF) populations and thus may reduce benefits frequently provided to crops by AMF, such as nutrient acquisition, disea...

  15. Influence of increasing combustion temperature on the AMS 14C dating of modern crop phytoliths

    PubMed Central

    Yin, Jinhui; Yang, Xue; Zheng, Yonggang

    2014-01-01

    Several attempts have been made to directly date phytoliths, but most 14C results are not consistent with other independent chronologies. Due to the limited dataset, there is not a clear explanation for these discrepancies. Herein, we report the 14C ages of phytolith-occluded carbon (PhytOC) from contemporary rice and millet crops that were combusted at different temperatures to investigate the relationship between the combustion temperature and resulting 14C age. Our results show that the 14C age of PhytOC increases directly with combustion temperature (up to 1100°C) and results in age overestimations of hundreds of years. Considerably older ages are observed at higher temperatures, suggesting that it may be possible to distinguish between two fractions of organic carbon in phytoliths: labile and recalcitrant carbon. These findings challenge the assumption that PhytOC is homogeneous, an assumption made by those who have previously attempted to directly date phytoliths using 14C. PMID:25288281

  16. Increasing Crop Yields in Water Stressed Countries by Combining Operations of Freshwater Reservoir and Wastewater Reclamation Plant

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhushan, R.; Ng, T. L.

    2015-12-01

    Freshwater resources around the world are increasing in scarcity due to population growth, industrialization and climate change. This is a serious concern for water stressed countries, including those in Asia and North Africa where future food production is expected to be negatively affected by this. To address this problem, we investigate the potential of combining freshwater reservoir and wastewater reclamation operations. Reservoir water is the cheaper source of irrigation, but is often limited and climate sensitive. Treated wastewater is a more reliable alternative for irrigation, but often requires extensive further treatment which can be expensive. We propose combining the operations of a reservoir and a wastewater reclamation plant (WWRP) to augment the supply from the reservoir with reclaimed water for increasing crop yields in water stressed regions. The joint system of reservoir and WWRP is modeled as a multi-objective optimization problem with the double objective of maximizing the crop yield and minimizing total cost, subject to constraints on reservoir storage, spill and release, and capacity of the WWRP. We use the crop growth model Aquacrop, supported by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), to model crop growth in response to water use. Aquacrop considers the effects of water deficit on crop growth stages, and from there estimates crop yield. We generate results comparing total crop yield under irrigation with water from just the reservoir (which is limited and often interrupted), and yield with water from the joint system (which has the potential of higher supply and greater reliability). We will present results for locations in India and Africa to evaluate the potential of the joint operations for improving food security in those areas for different budgets.

  17. Pollinators of Richardia grandiflora (Rubiaceae): an Important Ruderal Species for Bees.

    PubMed

    Cruz, R M; Martins, C F

    2015-02-01

    Ruderal species may provide pollen and nectar to maintain the pollinators of crops in periods of floral resource shortage. The knowledge about the floral biology of these plant species and their interaction with insects is important for management strategies of agricultural systems. The study was carried out at an experimental research station in two different periods (August 2010-April 2011 and August 2012-January 2013). Floral biology was studied, and the reproductive system and reproductive efficacy (RE) were analyzed using controlled pollination experiments. Furthermore, floral visitors and pollination were identified and quantified. Reproductive success obtained in the open pollination and cross-pollination experiments was higher than those obtained in spontaneous self, hand self, and wind pollination. Richardia grandiflora bloomed throughout the experimental period, and flowers were visited by Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera, and Lepidoptera, which were observed foraging for pollen and/or nectar. Among the floral visitors, bees were the richest and most frequent group and often contacted anthers and stigmas during visits. Africanized honeybees touched the floral reproductive structures in all visits, and their frequency may be related to changes in the reproductive efficacy between the study periods. Pollinator species of crops cultivated at the experimental research station were frequent bee visitors of R. grandiflora. We demonstrated that R. grandiflora requires cross-pollination and biotic pollen vectors. Among floral visitors, bees are the main pollinators, especially the Africanized honeybees. R. grandiflora can be considered an important ruderal species for maintaining bee pollinator populations at the study site, providing resources during the period that crops are not blooming. PMID:26013009

  18. Neonicotinoid Insecticides Alter Induced Defenses and Increase Susceptibility to Spider Mites in Distantly Related Crop Plants

    PubMed Central

    Szczepaniec, Adrianna; Raupp, Michael J.; Parker, Roy D.; Kerns, David; Eubanks, Micky D.

    2013-01-01

    Background Chemical suppression of arthropod herbivores is the most common approach to plant protection. Insecticides, however, can cause unintended, adverse consequences for non-target organisms. Previous studies focused on the effects of pesticides on target and non-target pests, predatory arthropods, and concomitant ecological disruptions. Little research, however, has focused on the direct effects of insecticides on plants. Here we demonstrate that applications of neonicotinoid insecticides, one of the most important insecticide classes worldwide, suppress expression of important plant defense genes, alter levels of phytohormones involved in plant defense, and decrease plant resistance to unsusceptible herbivores, spider mites Tetranychus urticae (Acari: Tetranychidae), in multiple, distantly related crop plants. Methodology/Principal Findings Using cotton (Gossypium hirsutum), corn (Zea mays) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) plants, we show that transcription of phenylalanine amonia lyase, coenzyme A ligase, trypsin protease inhibitor and chitinase are suppressed and concentrations of the phytohormone OPDA and salicylic acid were altered by neonicotinoid insecticides. Consequently, the population growth of spider mites increased from 30% to over 100% on neonicotinoid-treated plants in the greenhouse and by nearly 200% in the field experiment. Conclusions/Significance Our findings are important because applications of neonicotinoid insecticides have been associated with outbreaks of spider mites in several unrelated plant species. More importantly, this is the first study to document insecticide-mediated disruption of plant defenses and link it to increased population growth of a non-target herbivore. This study adds to growing evidence that bioactive agrochemicals can have unanticipated ecological effects and suggests that the direct effects of insecticides on plant defenses should be considered when the ecological costs of insecticides are evaluated. PMID

  19. Evolutionary consequences of shifts to bird-pollination in the Australian pea-flowered legumes (Mirbelieae and Bossiaeeae)

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Interactions with pollinators are proposed to be one of the major drivers of diversity in angiosperms. Specialised interactions with pollinators can lead to specialised floral traits, which collectively are known as a pollination syndrome. While it is thought that specialisation to a pollinator can lead to either an increase in diversity or in some cases a dead end, it is not well understood how transitions among specialised pollinators contribute to changes in diversity. Here, we use evolutionary trait reconstruction of bee-pollination and bird-pollination syndromes in Australian egg-and-bacon peas (Mirbelieae and Bossiaeeae) to test whether transitions between pollination syndromes is correlated with changes in species diversity. We also test for directionality in transitions that might be caused by selection by pollinators or by an evolutionary ratchet in which reversals to the original pollination syndrome are not possible. Results Trait reconstructions of Australian egg-and-bacon peas suggest that bee-pollination syndrome is the ancestral form and that there has been replicated evolution of bird-pollination syndromes. Reconstructions indicate potential reversals from bird- to bee-pollination syndromes but this is not consistent with morphology. Species diversity of bird-pollination syndrome clades is lower than that of their bee-pollination syndrome sisters. We estimated the earliest transitions from bee- to bird-pollination syndrome occurred between 30.8 Ma and 10.4 Ma. Geographical structuring of pollination syndromes was found; there were fewer bird-pollination species in the Australian southeast temperate region compared to other regions of Australia. Conclusions A consistent decrease in diversification rate coincident with switches to bird pollination might be explained if greater dispersal by bird pollinators results in higher levels of connectivity among populations and reduced chances of allopatric speciation. The earliest transitions

  20. Mapping large-area landscape suitability for honey bees to assess the influence of land-use change on sustainability of national pollination services.

    PubMed

    Gallant, Alisa L; Euliss, Ned H; Browning, Zac

    2014-01-01

    Pollination is a critical ecosystem service affected by various drivers of land-use change, such as policies and programs aimed at land resources, market values for crop commodities, local land-management decisions, and shifts in climate. The United States is the world's most active market for pollination services by honey bees, and the Northern Great Plains provide the majority of bee colonies used to meet the Nation's annual pollination needs. Legislation requiring increased production of biofuel crops, increasing commodity prices for crops of little nutritional value for bees in the Northern Great Plains, and reductions in government programs aimed at promoting land conservation are converging to alter the regional landscape in ways that challenge beekeepers to provide adequate numbers of hives for national pollination services. We developed a spatially explicit model that identifies sites with the potential to support large apiaries based on local-scale land-cover requirements for honey bees. We produced maps of potential apiary locations for North Dakota, a leading producer of honey, based on land-cover maps representing (1) an annual time series compiled from existing operational products and (2) a realistic scenario of land change. We found that existing land-cover products lack sufficient local accuracy to monitor actual changes in landscape suitability for honey bees, but our model proved informative for evaluating effects on suitability under scenarios of land change. The scenario we implemented was aligned with current drivers of land-use change in the Northern Great Plains and highlighted the importance of conservation lands in landscapes intensively and extensively managed for crops. PMID:24919181

  1. Mapping Large-Area Landscape Suitability for Honey Bees to Assess the Influence of Land-Use Change on Sustainability of National Pollination Services

    PubMed Central

    Gallant, Alisa L.; Euliss, Ned H.; Browning, Zac

    2014-01-01

    Pollination is a critical ecosystem service affected by various drivers of land-use change, such as policies and programs aimed at land resources, market values for crop commodities, local land-management decisions, and shifts in climate. The United States is the world's most active market for pollination services by honey bees, and the Northern Great Plains provide the majority of bee colonies used to meet the Nation's annual pollination needs. Legislation requiring increased production of biofuel crops, increasing commodity prices for crops of little nutritional value for bees in the Northern Great Plains, and reductions in government programs aimed at promoting land conservation are converging to alter the regional landscape in ways that challenge beekeepers to provide adequate numbers of hives for national pollination services. We developed a spatially explicit model that identifies sites with the potential to support large apiaries based on local-scale land-cover requirements for honey bees. We produced maps of potential apiary locations for North Dakota, a leading producer of honey, based on land-cover maps representing (1) an annual time series compiled from existing operational products and (2) a realistic scenario of land change. We found that existing land-cover products lack sufficient local accuracy to monitor actual changes in landscape suitability for honey bees, but our model proved informative for evaluating effects on suitability under scenarios of land change. The scenario we implemented was aligned with current drivers of land-use change in the Northern Great Plains and highlighted the importance of conservation lands in landscapes intensively and extensively managed for crops. PMID:24919181

  2. The modularity of pollination networks

    PubMed Central

    Olesen, Jens M.; Bascompte, Jordi; Dupont, Yoko L.; Jordano, Pedro

    2007-01-01

    In natural communities, species and their interactions are often organized as nonrandom networks, showing distinct and repeated complex patterns. A prevalent, but poorly explored pattern is ecological modularity, with weakly interlinked subsets of species (modules), which, however, internally consist of strongly connected species. The importance of modularity has been discussed for a long time, but no consensus on its prevalence in ecological networks has yet been reached. Progress is hampered by inadequate methods and a lack of large datasets. We analyzed 51 pollination networks including almost 10,000 species and 20,000 links and tested for modularity by using a recently developed simulated annealing algorithm. All networks with >150 plant and pollinator species were modular, whereas networks with <50 species were never modular. Both module number and size increased with species number. Each module includes one or a few species groups with convergent trait sets that may be considered as coevolutionary units. Species played different roles with respect to modularity. However, only 15% of all species were structurally important to their network. They were either hubs (i.e., highly linked species within their own module), connectors linking different modules, or both. If these key species go extinct, modules and networks may break apart and initiate cascades of extinction. Thus, species serving as hubs and connectors should receive high conservation priorities. PMID:18056808

  3. Pollination syndromes in African Marantaceae

    PubMed Central

    Ley, Alexandra C.; Claßen-Bockhoff, Regine

    2009-01-01

    Background and Aims The Marantaceae (550 spp.) is the most derived family in the order Zingiberales and exhibits a complex explosive pollination mechanism. To understand the evolutionary significance of this unique process of pollen transfer, comparative morphological and ecological studies were conducted in Gabon. Methods During a total stay of 11 months, 31 species of Marantaceae were investigated at different sites in Gabon. The study included analyses of floral diversity, observations on the pollinator spectrum as well as ecological measurements (e.g. nectar sugar concentration and volume). Key Results Analyses reveal five flower types based on flower size and pigmentation, spatial arrangement of the floral tube and presence/absence of nectar guides and conspicuous outer staminodes. Each type is associated with a specific functional pollinator group leading to the description of distinct pollination syndromes. The ‘small (horizontal)’ flowers are predominantly pollinated by small bees (Thrinchostoma spp., Allodapula ornaticeps), the ‘large (horizontal)’ and ‘medium-sized (horizontal)’ flowers by medium-sized bees (Amegilla vivida, Thrinchostoma bicometes), the ‘locked (horizontal)’ flowers by large bees (Xylocopa nigrita, X. varipes) and the ‘(large) vertical’ flowers by sunbirds. Conclusions The longevity of Marantaceae individuals and the omnipresence of their pollinators allowed the specialization to a given functional pollinator group. Intermediate ecological values, however, make occasional pollinator overlaps possible, indicating potential pathways of pollinator shifts. Similar radiation tendencies observed on other continents hint at similar selective pressures and evolutionary constraints. PMID:19443460

  4. Cover Crops

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Cover crops are great tools to improve soil quality and health, and great tools to increase carbon sequestration. They are nutrient management tools that can help scavenge nitrate, cycle nitrogen to the following crop, mine NO3 from groundwater, and increase nitrogen use efficiency of cropping syste...

  5. Rice and Bean Targets for Biofortification Combined with High Carotenoid Content Crops Regulate Transcriptional Mechanisms Increasing Iron Bioavailability

    PubMed Central

    Dias, Desirrê Morais; de Castro Moreira, Maria Eliza; Gomes, Mariana Juste Contin; Lopes Toledo, Renata Celi; Nutti, Marilia Regini; Pinheiro Sant’Ana, Helena Maria; Martino, Hércia Stampini Duarte

    2015-01-01

    Iron deficiency affects thousands of people worldwide. Biofortification of staple food crops aims to support the reduction of this deficiency. This study evaluates the effect of combinations of common beans and rice, targets for biofortification, with high carotenoid content crops on the iron bioavailability, protein gene expression, and antioxidant effect. Iron bioavailability was measured by the depletion/repletion method. Seven groups were tested (n = 7): Pontal bean (PB); rice + Pontal bean (R + BP); Pontal bean + sweet potato (PB + SP); Pontal bean + pumpkin (PB + P); Pontal bean + rice + sweet potato (PB + R + P); Pontal bean + rice + sweet potato (PB + R + SP); positive control (Ferrous Sulfate). The evaluations included: hemoglobin gain, hemoglobin regeneration efficiency (HRE), gene expression of divalente metal transporter 1 (DMT-1), duodenal citocromo B (DcytB), ferroportin, hephaestin, transferrin and ferritin and total plasma antioxidant capacity (TAC). The test groups, except the PB, showed higher HRE (p < 0.05) than the control. Gene expression of DMT-1, DcytB and ferroportin increased (p < 0.05) in the groups fed with high content carotenoid crops (sweet potato or pumpkin). The PB group presented lower (p < 0.05) TAC than the other groups. The combination of rice and common beans, and those with high carotenoid content crops increased protein gene expression, increasing the iron bioavailability and antioxidant capacity. PMID:26610564

  6. Rice and Bean Targets for Biofortification Combined with High Carotenoid Content Crops Regulate Transcriptional Mechanisms Increasing Iron Bioavailability.

    PubMed

    Dias, Desirrê Morais; de Castro Moreira, Maria Eliza; Gomes, Mariana Juste Contin; Lopes Toledo, Renata Celi; Nutti, Marilia Regini; Pinheiro Sant'Ana, Helena Maria; Martino, Hércia Stampini Duarte

    2015-11-01

    Iron deficiency affects thousands of people worldwide. Biofortification of staple food crops aims to support the reduction of this deficiency. This study evaluates the effect of combinations of common beans and rice, targets for biofortification, with high carotenoid content crops on the iron bioavailability, protein gene expression, and antioxidant effect. Iron bioavailability was measured by the depletion/repletion method. Seven groups were tested (n = 7): Pontal bean (PB); rice + Pontal bean (R + BP); Pontal bean + sweet potato (PB + SP); Pontal bean + pumpkin (PB + P); Pontal bean + rice + sweet potato (PB + R + P); Pontal bean + rice + sweet potato (PB + R + SP); positive control (Ferrous Sulfate). The evaluations included: hemoglobin gain, hemoglobin regeneration efficiency (HRE), gene expression of divalente metal transporter 1 (DMT-1), duodenal citocromo B (DcytB), ferroportin, hephaestin, transferrin and ferritin and total plasma antioxidant capacity (TAC). The test groups, except the PB, showed higher HRE (p < 0.05) than the control. Gene expression of DMT-1, DcytB and ferroportin increased (p < 0.05) in the groups fed with high content carotenoid crops (sweet potato or pumpkin). The PB group presented lower (p < 0.05) TAC than the other groups. The combination of rice and common beans, and those with high carotenoid content crops increased protein gene expression, increasing the iron bioavailability and antioxidant capacity. PMID:26610564

  7. Nitrogen Applications to Increase Cover Crop Biomass and Benefits in the Southeast

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Benefits associated with conservation tillage in the Southeast are improved by using a winter annual cover crop. In order to maximize associated benefits, biomass production should also be maximized. For the highly weathered, infertile soils of the Southeast, additional N (inorganic or organic) is...

  8. Biosolids amendment dramatically increases sequestration of crop residue-carbon in agricultural soils in western Illinois

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Release of carbon dioxide through microbial respiration from the world’s crop residues (non-edible plant parts left in the field after harvest) represents an important form of carbon transfer from terrestrial ecosystems to the atmosphere. We hypothesized that alleviation of environmental stress (moi...

  9. Cover crops increase foraging activity of omnivorous predators in seed patches and facilitate weed biological control

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Omnivores are important consumers of both weed seeds and insect pests, and habitat provisions like cover crops are suggested to promote their ecosystem services in agricultural systems. However, few studies establish direct links between cover, food, and pest suppression because they are entangled a...

  10. The importance of plant diversity in maintaining the pollinator bee, Eulaema nigrita (Hymenoptera: Apidae) in sweet passion fruit fields.

    PubMed

    da Silva, Cláudia Inês; Bordon, Natali Gomes; da Rocha Filho, Léo Correia; Garófalo, Carlos Alberto

    2012-12-01

    The euglossine bee Eulaema nigrita plays an important role for the pollination of native and economically important plants, such as the sweet passion-fruit Passiflora alata. E. nigrita uniquely collects the nectar from the flowers of P. alata, nevertheless, it needs to visit other plants to collect pollen, nectar and other resources for its survival. There are two methods to identify the species of plants used by bees in their diet: by direct observation of the bees in the flowers, and through identification of pollen grains present in brood cells, feces, or in the bees' body. In order to identify the other plants that E. nigrita visits, we analyzed samples of pollen grains removed from the bee's body in the course of the flowering period of P. alata. Among our results, the flora visited by E. nigrita comprised 40 species from 32 genera and 19 families, some of them used as a pollen source or just nectar. In spite of being a polyletic species, E. nigrita exhibited preference for some plant species with poricidal anthers. P. alata which has high sugar concentration nectar was the main source of nectar for this bee in the studied area. Nonetheless, the pollinic analysis indicated that others nectariferous plant species are necessary to keep the populations of E. nigrita. Studies such as this one are important since they indicate supplementary pollen-nectar sources which must be used for the conservation of the populations of E. nigrita in crops neighbouring areas. In the absence of pollinators, growers are forced to pay for hand pollination, which increases production costs; keeping pollinators in cultivated areas is still more feasible to ensure sweet passion fruit production. PMID:23342510

  11. Effective pollinators of Asian sacred lotus (Nelumbo nucifera): contemporary pollinators may not reflect the historical pollination syndrome

    PubMed Central

    Li, Jiao-Kun; Huang, Shuang-Quan

    2009-01-01

    Background and Aims If stabilizing selection by pollinators is a prerequisite for pollinator-mediated floral evolution, spatiotemporal variation in the pollinator assemblage may confuse the plant–pollinator interaction in a given species. Here, effective pollinators in a living fossil plant Nelumbo nucifera (Nelumbonaceae) were examined to test whether beetles are major pollinators as predicted by its pollination syndrome. Methods Pollinators of N. nucifera were investigated in 11 wild populations and one cultivated population, and pollination experiments were conducted to examine the pollinating role of two major pollinators (bees and beetles) in three populations. Key Results Lotus flowers are protogynous, bowl shaped and without nectar. The fragrant flowers can be self-heating during anthesis and produce around 1 million pollen grains per flower. It was found that bees and flies were the most frequent flower visitors in wild populations, contributing on average 87·9 and 49·4 % of seed set in Mishan and Lantian, respectively. Beetles were only found in one wild population and in the cultivated population, but the pollinator exclusion experiments showed that beetles were effective pollinators of Asian sacred lotus. Conclusions This study indicated that in their pollinating role, beetles, probable pollinators for this thermoregulating plant, had been replaced by some generalist insects in the wild. This finding implies that contemporary pollinators may not reflect the pollination syndrome. PMID:19617594

  12. Eco-efficient approaches to land management: a case for increased integration of crop and animal production systems.

    PubMed

    Wilkins, R J

    2008-02-12

    Eco-efficiency is concerned with the efficient and sustainable use of resources in farm production and land management. It can be increased either by altering the management of individual crop and livestock enterprises or by altering the land-use system. This paper concentrates on the effects of crop sequence and rotation on soil fertility and nutrient use efficiency. The potential importance of mixed farming involving both crops and livestock is stressed, particularly when the systems incorporate biological nitrogen fixation and manure recycling. There is, however, little evidence that the trend in developed countries to farm-level specialization is being reduced. In some circumstances legislation to restrict diffuse pollution may provide incentives for more diverse eco-efficient farming and in other circumstances price premia for produce from eco-efficient systems, such as organic farming, and subsidies for the provision of environmental services may provide economic incentives for the adoption of such systems. However, change is likely to be most rapid where the present systems lead to obvious reductions in the productive potential of the land, such as in areas experiencing salinization. In other situations, there is promise that eco-efficiency could be increased on an area-wide basis by the establishment of linkages between farms of contrasting type, particularly between specialist crop and livestock farms, with contracts for the transfer of manures and, to a lesser extent, feeds. PMID:17652073

  13. Effects of pollination limitation and seed predation on female reproductive success of a deceptive orchid.

    PubMed

    Walsh, Ryan P; Arnold, Paige M; Michaels, Helen J

    2014-01-01

    For many species of conservation significance, multiple factors limit reproduction. This research examines the contributions of plant height, number of flowers, number of stems, pollen limitation and seed predation to female reproductive success in the deceit-pollinated orchid, Cypripedium candidum. The deceptive pollination strategy employed by many orchids often results in high levels of pollen limitation. While increased floral display size may attract pollinators, C. candidum's multiple, synchronously flowering stems could promote selfing and also increase attack by weevil seed predators. To understand the joint impacts of mutualists and antagonists, we examined pollen limitation, seed predation and the effects of pollen source over two flowering seasons (2009 and 2011) in Ohio. In 2009, 36 pairs of plants size-matched by flower number, receiving either supplemental hand or open pollination, were scored for fruit maturation, mass of seeds and seed predation. Pollen supplementation increased proportion of flowers maturing into fruit, with 87 % fruit set when hand pollinated compared with 46 % for naturally pollinated flowers. Inflorescence height had a strong effect, as taller inflorescences had higher initial fruit set, while shorter stems had higher predation. Seed predation was seen in 73 % of all fruits. A parallel 2011 experiment that included a self-pollination treatment and excluded seed predators found initial and final fruit set were higher in the self and outcross pollination treatments than in the open-pollinated treatment. However, seed mass was higher in both open pollinated and outcross pollination treatments compared with hand self-pollinated. We found greater female reproductive success for taller flowering stems that simultaneously benefited from increased pollination and reduced seed predation. These studies suggest that this species is under strong reinforcing selection to increase allocation to flowering stem height. Our results may help

  14. Effects of pollination limitation and seed predation on female reproductive success of a deceptive orchid

    PubMed Central

    Walsh, Ryan P.; Arnold, Paige M.; Michaels, Helen J.

    2014-01-01

    For many species of conservation significance, multiple factors limit reproduction. This research examines the contributions of plant height, number of flowers, number of stems, pollen limitation and seed predation to female reproductive success in the deceit-pollinated orchid, Cypripedium candidum. The deceptive pollination strategy employed by many orchids often results in high levels of pollen limitation. While increased floral display size may attract pollinators, C. candidum's multiple, synchronously flowering stems could promote selfing and also increase attack by weevil seed predators. To understand the joint impacts of mutualists and antagonists, we examined pollen limitation, seed predation and the effects of pollen source over two flowering seasons (2009 and 2011) in Ohio. In 2009, 36 pairs of plants size-matched by flower number, receiving either supplemental hand or open pollination, were scored for fruit maturation, mass of seeds and seed predation. Pollen supplementation increased proportion of flowers maturing into fruit, with 87 % fruit set when hand pollinated compared with 46 % for naturally pollinated flowers. Inflorescence height had a strong effect, as taller inflorescences had higher initial fruit set, while shorter stems had higher predation. Seed predation was seen in 73 % of all fruits. A parallel 2011 experiment that included a self-pollination treatment and excluded seed predators found initial and final fruit set were higher in the self and outcross pollination treatments than in the open-pollinated treatment. However, seed mass was higher in both open pollinated and outcross pollination treatments compared with hand self-pollinated. We found greater female reproductive success for taller flowering stems that simultaneously benefited from increased pollination and reduced seed predation. These studies suggest that this species is under strong reinforcing selection to increase allocation to flowering stem height. Our results may help

  15. A pollinators' eye view of a shelter mimicry system

    PubMed Central

    Vereecken, Nicolas J.; Dorchin, Achik; Dafni, Amots; Hötling, Susann; Schulz, Stefan; Watts, Stella

    2013-01-01

    Background and Aims ‘Human-red’ flowers are traditionally considered to be rather unpopular with bees, yet some allogamous species in the section Oncocyclus (genus Iris, Iridaceae) have evolved specialized interactions with their pollinators, a narrow taxonomic range of male solitary bees. The dark-red, tubular flowers of these irises are nectarless but provide protective shelters (i.e. a non-nutritive form of reward) primarily to male solitary bees (Apidae, Eucerini) that pollinate the flowers while looking for a shelter. An earlier study on orchids suggested that species pollinated predominantly by male solitary bees produce significantly larger amounts and larger numbers of different n-alkenes (unsaturated cuticular hydrocarbons). Whether or not this also applies to the Oncocyclus irises and whether pollinators are attracted by specific colours or scents of these flowers is unknown. Methods Using Iris atropurpurea, recording of pollinator preferences for shelters with different spatial parameters was combined with analyses of floral colours (by spectrophotometry) and scents (by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry) to test the hypotheses that (a) pollinators significantly prefer floral tunnels facing the rising sun (floral heat-reward hypothesis), and that (b) flowers pollinated predominantly by male solitary bees produce significantly larger amounts and larger numbers of unsaturated cuticular hydrocarbons (n-alkenes) in their floral scent (preadaptation to sexual-deception hypothesis). Key Results Male bees do not significantly prefer shelters facing the rising sun or with the presence of high absolute/relative amounts and numbers of n-alkenes in the floral scent. Conclusions The results suggest that the flowers of I. atropurpurea probably evolved by pollinator-mediated selection acting primarily on floral colours to mimic large achromatic (‘bee-black’) protective shelters used preferentially by male solitary bees, and that pollinator visits are

  16. Thrips pollination of Mesozoic gymnosperms

    PubMed Central

    Peñalver, Enrique; Labandeira, Conrad C.; Barrón, Eduardo; Delclòs, Xavier; Nel, Patricia; Nel, André; Tafforeau, Paul; Soriano, Carmen

    2012-01-01

    Within modern gymnosperms, conifers and Ginkgo are exclusively wind pollinated whereas many gnetaleans and cycads are insect pollinated. For cycads, thrips are specialized pollinators. We report such a specialized pollination mode from Early Cretaceous amber of Spain, wherein four female thrips representing a genus and two species in the family Melanthripidae were covered by abundant Cycadopites pollen grains. These females bear unique ring setae interpreted as specialized structures for pollen grain collection, functionally equivalent to the hook-tipped sensilla and plumose setae on the bodies of bees. The most parsimonious explanation for this structure is parental food provisioning for larvae, indicating subsociality. This association provides direct evidence of specialized collection and transportation of pollen grains and likely gymnosperm pollination by 110–105 million years ago, possibly considerably earlier. PMID:22615414

  17. Pervasiveness of Parasites in Pollinators

    PubMed Central

    Evison, Sophie E. F.; Roberts, Katherine E.; Laurenson, Lynn; Pietravalle, Stéphane; Hui, Jeffrey; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C.; Smith, Judith E.; Budge, Giles; Hughes, William O. H.

    2012-01-01

    Many pollinator populations are declining, with large economic and ecological implications. Parasites are known to be an important factor in the some of the population declines of honey bees and bumblebees, but little is known about the parasites afflicting most other pollinators, or the extent of interspecific transmission or vectoring of parasites. Here we carry out a preliminary screening of pollinators (honey bees, five species of bumblebee, three species of wasp, four species of hoverfly and three genera of other bees) in the UK for parasites. We used molecular methods to screen for six honey bee viruses, Ascosphaera fungi, Microsporidia, and Wolbachia intracellular bacteria. We aimed simply to detect the presence of the parasites, encompassing vectoring as well as actual infections. Many pollinators of all types were positive for Ascosphaera fungi, while Microsporidia were rarer, being most frequently found in bumblebees. We also detected that most pollinators were positive for Wolbachia, most probably indicating infection with this intracellular symbiont, and raising the possibility that it may be an important factor in influencing host sex ratios or fitness in a diversity of pollinators. Importantly, we found that about a third of bumblebees (Bombus pascuorum and Bombus terrestris) and a third of wasps (Vespula vulgaris), as well as all honey bees, were positive for deformed wing virus, but that this virus was not present in other pollinators. Deformed wing virus therefore does not appear to be a general parasite of pollinators, but does interact significantly with at least three species of bumblebee and wasp. Further work is needed to establish the identity of some of the parasites, their spatiotemporal variation, and whether they are infecting the various pollinator species or being vectored. However, these results provide a first insight into the diversity, and potential exchange, of parasites in pollinator communities. PMID:22347356

  18. Pervasiveness of parasites in pollinators.

    PubMed

    Evison, Sophie E F; Roberts, Katherine E; Laurenson, Lynn; Pietravalle, Stéphane; Hui, Jeffrey; Biesmeijer, Jacobus C; Smith, Judith E; Budge, Giles; Hughes, William O H

    2012-01-01

    Many pollinator populations are declining, with large economic and ecological implications. Parasites are known to be an important factor in the some of the population declines of honey bees and bumblebees, but little is known about the parasites afflicting most other pollinators, or the extent of interspecific transmission or vectoring of parasites. Here we carry out a preliminary screening of pollinators (honey bees, five species of bumblebee, three species of wasp, four species of hoverfly and three genera of other bees) in the UK for parasites. We used molecular methods to screen for six honey bee viruses, Ascosphaera fungi, Microsporidia, and Wolbachia intracellular bacteria. We aimed simply to detect the presence of the parasites, encompassing vectoring as well as actual infections. Many pollinators of all types were positive for Ascosphaera fungi, while Microsporidia were rarer, being most frequently found in bumblebees. We also detected that most pollinators were positive for Wolbachia, most probably indicating infection with this intracellular symbiont, and raising the possibility that it may be an important factor in influencing host sex ratios or fitness in a diversity of pollinators. Importantly, we found that about a third of bumblebees (Bombus pascuorum and Bombus terrestris) and a third of wasps (Vespula vulgaris), as well as all honey bees, were positive for deformed wing virus, but that this virus was not present in other pollinators. Deformed wing virus therefore does not appear to be a general parasite of pollinators, but does interact significantly with at least three species of bumblebee and wasp. Further work is needed to establish the identity of some of the parasites, their spatiotemporal variation, and whether they are infecting the various pollinator species or being vectored. However, these results provide a first insight into the diversity, and potential exchange, of parasites in pollinator communities. PMID:22347356

  19. Global market integration increases likelihood that a future African Green Revolution could increase crop land use and CO2 emissions

    PubMed Central

    Hertel, Thomas W.; Ramankutty, Navin; Baldos, Uris Lantz C.

    2014-01-01

    There has been a resurgence of interest in the impacts of agricultural productivity on land use and the environment. At the center of this debate is the assertion that agricultural innovation is land sparing. However, numerous case studies and global empirical studies have found little evidence of higher yields being accompanied by reduced area. We find that these studies overlook two crucial factors: estimation of a true counterfactual scenario and a tendency to adopt a regional, rather than a global, perspective. This paper introduces a general framework for analyzing the impacts of regional and global innovation on long run crop output, prices, land rents, land use, and associated CO2 emissions. In so doing, it facilitates a reconciliation of the apparently conflicting views of the impacts of agricultural productivity growth on global land use and environmental quality. Our historical analysis demonstrates that the Green Revolution in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East was unambiguously land and emissions sparing, compared with a counterfactual world without these innovations. In contrast, we find that the environmental impacts of a prospective African Green Revolution are potentially ambiguous. We trace these divergent outcomes to relative differences between the innovating region and the rest of the world in yields, emissions efficiencies, cropland supply response, and intensification potential. Globalization of agriculture raises the potential for adverse environmental consequences. However, if sustained for several decades, an African Green Revolution will eventually become land sparing. PMID:25201962

  20. Selection by pollinators on floral traits in generalized Trollius ranunculoides (Ranunculaceae) along altitudinal gradients.

    PubMed

    Zhao, Zhi-Gang; Wang, Yi-Ke

    2015-01-01

    Abundance and visitation of pollinator assemblages tend to decrease with altitude, leading to an increase in pollen limitation. Thus increased competition for pollinators may generate stronger selection on attractive traits of flowers at high elevations and cause floral adaptive evolution. Few studies have related geographically variable selection from pollinators and intraspecific floral differentiation. We investigated the variation of Trollius ranunculoides flowers and its pollinators along an altitudinal gradient on the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and measured phenotypic selection by pollinators on floral traits across populations. The results showed significant decline of visitation rate of bees along altitudinal gradients, while flies was unchanged. When fitness is estimated by the visitation rate rather than the seed number per plant, phenotypic selection on the sepal length and width shows a significant correlation between the selection strength and the altitude, with stronger selection at higher altitudes. However, significant decreases in the sepal length and width of T. ranunculoides along the altitudinal gradient did not correspond to stronger selection of pollinators. In contrast to the pollinator visitation, mean annual precipitation negatively affected the sepal length and width, and contributed more to geographical variation in measured floral traits than the visitation rate of pollinators. Therefore, the sepal size may have been influenced by conflicting selection pressures from biotic and abiotic selective agents. This study supports the hypothesis that lower pollinator availability at high altitude can intensify selection on flower attractive traits, but abiotic selection is preventing a response to selection from pollinators. PMID:25692295

  1. Do pollinators influence the assembly of flower colours within plant communities?

    PubMed

    de Jager, Marinus L; Dreyer, Léanne L; Ellis, Allan G

    2011-06-01

    The co-occurrence of plant species within a community is influenced by local deterministic or neutral processes as well as historical regional processes. Floral trait distributions of co-flowering species that share pollinators may reflect the impact of pollinator preference and constancy on their assembly within local communities. While pollinator sharing may lead to increased visitation rates for species with similar flowers, the receipt of foreign pollen via interspecific pollinator movements can decrease seed set. We investigated the pattern of community flower colour assembly as perceived by native honeybee pollinators within 24 local assemblages of co-flowering Oxalis species within the Greater Cape Floristic Region, South Africa. To explore the influence of pollinators on trait assembly, we assessed the impact of colour similarity on pollinator choices and the cost of heterospecific pollen receipt. We show that flower colour is significantly clustered within Oxalis communities and that this is not due to historical constraint, as flower colour is evolutionarily labile within Oxalis and communities are randomly structured with respect to phylogeny. Pollinator observations reveal that the likelihood of pollinators switching between co-flowering species is low and increases with flower colour similarity. Interspecific hand pollination significantly reduced seed set in the four Oxalis species we investigated, and all were dependant on pollinators for reproduction. Together these results imply that flower colour similarity carries a potential fitness cost. However, pollinators were highly flower constant, and remained so despite the extreme similarity of flower colour as perceived by honeybees. This suggests that other floral traits facilitate discrimination between similarly coloured species, thereby likely resulting in a low incidence of interspecific pollen transfer (IPT). If colour similarity promotes pollinator attraction at the community level, the observed

  2. The influence of distinct pollinators on female and male reproductive success in the Rocky Mountain columbine.

    PubMed

    Brunet, Johanne; Holmquist, Karsten G A

    2009-09-01

    Although there are many reasons to expect distinct pollinator types to differentially affect a plant's reproductive success, few studies have directly examined this question. Here, we contrast the impact of two kinds of pollinators on reproductive success via male and female functions in the Rocky Mountain columbine, Aquilegia coerulea. We set up pollinator exclusion treatments in each of three patches where Aquilegia plants were visited by either day pollinators (majority bumble bees), by evening pollinators (hawkmoths), or by both (control). Day pollinators collected pollen and groomed, whereas evening pollinators collected nectar but did not groom. Maternal parents, potential fathers and progeny arrays were genotyped at five microsatellite loci. We estimated female outcrossing rate and counted seeds to measure female reproductive success and used paternity analysis to determine male reproductive success. Our results document that bumble bees frequently moved pollen among patches of plants and that, unlike hawkmoths, pollen moved by bumble bees sired more outcrossed seeds when it remained within a patch as opposed to moving between patches. Pollinator type differentially affected the outcrossing rate but not seed set, the number of outcrossed seeds or overall male reproductive success. Multiple visits to a plant and more frequent visits by bumble bees could help to explain the lack of impact of pollinator type on overall reproductive success. The increase in selfing rate with hawkmoths likely resulted from the abundant pollen available in experimental flowers. Our findings highlighted a new type of pollinator interactions that can benefit a plant species. PMID:19674307

  3. Spatial heterogeneity and the distribution of bromeliad pollinators in the Atlantic Forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Varassin, Isabela Galarda; Sazima, Marlies

    2012-08-01

    Interactions between plants and their pollinators are influenced by environmental heterogeneity, resulting in small-scale variations in interactions. This may influence pollinator co-existence and plant reproductive success. This study, conducted at the Estação Biológica de Santa Lúcia (EBSL), a remnant of the Atlantic Forest in southeastern Brazil, investigated the effect of small-scale spatial variations on the interactions between bromeliads and their pollinators. Overall, hummingbirds pollinated 19 of 23 bromeliad species, of which 11 were also pollinated by bees and/or butterflies. However, spatial heterogeneity unrelated to the spatial location of plots or bromeliad species abundance influenced the presence of pollinators. Hummingbirds were the most ubiquitous pollinators at the high-elevation transect, with insect participation clearly declining as transect elevation increased. In the redundancy analysis, the presence of the hummingbird species Phaethornis eurynome, Phaethornis squalidus, Ramphodon naevius, and Thalurania glaucopis, and the butterfly species Heliconius erato and Heliconius nattereri in each plot was correlated with environmental factors such as bromeliad and tree abundance, and was also correlated with horizontal diversity. Since plant-pollinator interactions varied within the environmental mosaics at the study site, this small-scale environmental heterogeneity may relax competition among pollinators, and may explain the high diversity of bromeliads and pollinators generally found in the Atlantic Forest.

  4. Beyond the pollination syndrome: nectar ecology and the role of diurnal and nocturnal pollinators in the reproductive success of Inga sessilis (Fabaceae).

    PubMed

    Amorim, F W; Galetto, L; Sazima, M

    2013-03-01

    Inga species present brush-type flower morphology allowing them to be visited by distinct groups of pollinators. Nectar features in relation to the main pollinators have seldom been studied in this genus. To test the hypothesis of floral adaptation to both diurnal and nocturnal pollinators, we studied the pollination ecology of Inga sessilis, with emphasis on the nectar secretion patterns, effects of sequential removals on nectar production, sugar composition and the role of diurnal and nocturnal pollinators in its reproductive success. Inga sessilis is self-incompatible and pollinated by hummingbirds, hawkmoths and bats. Fruit set under natural conditions is very low despite the fact that most stigmas receive polyads with sufficient pollen to fertilise all ovules in a flower. Nectar secretion starts in the bud stage and flowers continually secreting nectar for a period of 8 h. Flowers actively reabsorbed the nectar a few hours before senescence. Sugar production increased after nectar removal, especially when flowers were drained during the night. Nectar sugar composition changed over flower life span, from sucrose-dominant (just after flower opening, when hummingbirds were the main visitors) to hexose-rich (throughout the night, when bats and hawkmoths were the main visitors). Diurnal pollinators contributed less than nocturnal ones to fruit production, but the former were more constant and reliable visitors through time. Our results indicate I. sessilis has floral adaptations, beyond the morphology, that encompass both diurnal and nocturnal pollinator requirements, suggesting a complementary and mixed pollination system. PMID:22823072

  5. Pollination induces autophagy in petunia petals via ethylene

    PubMed Central

    Shibuya, Kenichi

    2013-01-01

    Autophagy is one of the main mechanisms of degradation and remobilization of macromolecules, and it appears to play an important role in petal senescence. However, little is known about the regulatory mechanisms of autophagy in petal senescence. Autophagic processes were observed by electron microscopy and monodansylcadaverine staining of senescing petals of petunia (Petunia hybrida); autophagy-related gene 8 (ATG8) homologues were isolated from petunia and the regulation of expression was analysed. Nutrient remobilization was also examined during pollination-induced petal senescence. Active autophagic processes were observed in the mesophyll cells of senescing petunia petals. Pollination induced the expression of PhATG8 homologues and was accompanied by an increase in ethylene production. Ethylene inhibitor treatment in pollinated flowers delayed the induction of PhATG8 homologues, and ethylene treatment rapidly upregulated PhATG8 homologues in petunia petals. Dry weight and nitrogen content were decreased in the petals and increased in the ovaries after pollination in detached flowers. These results indicated that pollination induces autophagy and that ethylene is a key regulator of autophagy in petal senescence of petunia. The data also demonstrated the translocation of nutrients from the petals to the ovaries during pollination-induced petal senescence. PMID:23349142

  6. Pollination induces autophagy in petunia petals via ethylene.

    PubMed

    Shibuya, Kenichi; Niki, Tomoko; Ichimura, Kazuo

    2013-02-01

    Autophagy is one of the main mechanisms of degradation and remobilization of macromolecules, and it appears to play an important role in petal senescence. However, little is known about the regulatory mechanisms of autophagy in petal senescence. Autophagic processes were observed by electron microscopy and monodansylcadaverine staining of senescing petals of petunia (Petunia hybrida); autophagy-related gene 8 (ATG8) homologues were isolated from petunia and the regulation of expression was analysed. Nutrient remobilization was also examined during pollination-induced petal senescence. Active autophagic processes were observed in the mesophyll cells of senescing petunia petals. Pollination induced the expression of PhATG8 homologues and was accompanied by an increase in ethylene production. Ethylene inhibitor treatment in pollinated flowers delayed the induction of PhATG8 homologues, and ethylene treatment rapidly upregulated PhATG8 homologues in petunia petals. Dry weight and nitrogen content were decreased in the petals and increased in the ovaries after pollination in detached flowers. These results indicated that pollination induces autophagy and that ethylene is a key regulator of autophagy in petal senescence of petunia. The data also demonstrated the translocation of nutrients from the petals to the ovaries during pollination-induced petal senescence. PMID:23349142

  7. On the success of a swindle: pollination by deception in orchids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schiestl, Florian P.

    2005-06-01

    A standing enigma in pollination ecology is the evolution of pollinator attraction without offering reward in about one third of all orchid species. Here I review concepts of pollination by deception, and in particular recent findings in the pollination syndromes of food deception and sexual deception in orchids. Deceptive orchids mimic floral signals of rewarding plants (food deception) or mating signals of receptive females (sexual deception) to attract pollen vectors. In some food deceptive orchids, similarities in the spectral reflectance visible to the pollinator in a model plant and its mimic, and increased reproductive success of the mimic in the presence of the model have been demonstrated. Other species do not mimic specific model plants but attract pollinators with general attractive floral signals. In sexually deceptive orchids, floral odor is the key trait for pollinator attraction, and behaviorally active compounds in the orchids are identical to the sex pheromone of the pollinator species. Deceptive orchids often show high variability in floral signals, which may be maintained by negative frequency-dependent selection, since pollinators can learn and subsequently avoid common deceptive morphs more quickly than rare ones. The evolution of obligate deception in orchids seems paradoxical in the light of the typically lower fruit set than in rewarding species. Pollination by deception, however, can reduce self-pollination and encourage pollen flow over longer distances, thus promoting outbreeding. Although some food deceptive orchids are isolated through postzygotic reproductive barriers, sexually deceptive orchids lack post-mating barriers and species isolation is achieved via specific pollinator attraction. Recent population genetic and phylogenetic investigations suggest gene-flow within subgeneric clades, but pollinator-mediated selection may maintain species-specific floral traits.

  8. Invasive Mutualists Erode Native Pollination Webs

    PubMed Central

    Aizen, Marcelo A; Morales, Carolina L; Morales, Juan M

    2008-01-01

    Plant–animal mutualisms are characterized by weak or asymmetric mutual dependences between interacting species, a feature that could increase community stability. If invasive species integrate into mutualistic webs, they may alter web structure, with consequences for species persistence. However, the effect of alien mutualists on the architecture of plant–pollinator webs remains largely unexplored. We analyzed the extent of mutual dependency between interacting species, as a measure of mutualism strength, and the connectivity of 10 paired plant–pollinator webs, eight from forests of the southern Andes and two from oceanic islands, with different incidences of alien species. Highly invaded webs exhibited weaker mutualism than less-invaded webs. This potential increase in network stability was the result of a disproportionate increase in the importance and participation of alien species in the most asymmetric interactions. The integration of alien mutualists did not alter overall network connectivity, but links were transferred from generalist native species to super-generalist alien species during invasion. Therefore, connectivity among native species declined in highly invaded webs. These modifications in the structure of pollination webs, due to dominance of alien mutualists, can leave many native species subject to novel ecological and evolutionary dynamics. PMID:18271628

  9. Are pollinators the agents of selection for the extreme large size and dark color in Oncocyclus irises?

    PubMed

    Lavi, Renana; Sapir, Yuval

    2015-01-01

    Pollinator-mediated selection is a major evolutionary driver of floral traits; yet, such selection has rarely been tested for floral extreme traits. The Oncocyclus irises have exceptionally large, dark-colored flowers, associated with night-sheltering pollination and heat reward by the dark flowers. We quantified phenotypic selection on stem length, floral size and color in two species of iris (Iris atropurpurea and I. haynei), using an experimental approach. We estimated selection gradients for both flowers open to natural pollination and for flowers receiving supplementary hand pollination, assuming that open-pollinated flowers are affected by all factors that could influence fitness, whereas supplementary pollination removes the possible influence of pollinators. We found evidence for pollinator-mediated selection to increase floral size and stem length in I. atropurpurea, but floral color in this species was not under pollinator-mediated selection. In I. haynei, no pollinator-mediated selection on any of the traits was detected. We conclude that the extreme floral size of I. atropurpurea has probably evolved as a result of pollinator behavior. Lack of such evidence for I. haynei and for the dark floral color in both species suggests that other non-pollinator agents are selecting for these prominent traits, or that phenotypic color variation in these irises is neutral. PMID:25157604

  10. High Temperatures Result in Smaller Nurseries which Lower Reproduction of Pollinators and Parasites in a Brood Site Pollination Mutualism

    PubMed Central

    Krishnan, Anusha; Pramanik, Gautam Kumar; Revadi, Santosh V.; Venkateswaran, Vignesh; Borges, Renee M.

    2014-01-01

    In a nursery pollination mutualism, we asked whether environmental factors affected reproduction of mutualistic pollinators, non-mutualistic parasites and seed production via seasonal changes in plant traits such as inflorescence size and within-tree reproductive phenology. We examined seasonal variation in reproduction in Ficus racemosa community members that utilise enclosed inflorescences called syconia as nurseries. Temperature, relative humidity and rainfall defined four seasons: winter; hot days, cold nights; summer and wet seasons. Syconium volumes were highest in winter and lowest in summer, and affected syconium contents positively across all seasons. Greater transpiration from the nurseries was possibly responsible for smaller syconia in summer. The 3–5°C increase in mean temperatures between the cooler seasons and summer reduced fig wasp reproduction and increased seed production nearly two-fold. Yet, seed and pollinator progeny production were never negatively related in any season confirming the mutualistic fig–pollinator association across seasons. Non-pollinator parasites affected seed production negatively in some seasons, but had a surprisingly positive relationship with pollinators in most seasons. While within-tree reproductive phenology did not vary across seasons, its effect on syconium inhabitants varied with season. In all seasons, within-tree reproductive asynchrony affected parasite reproduction negatively, whereas it had a positive effect on pollinator reproduction in winter and a negative effect in summer. Seasonally variable syconium volumes probably caused the differential effect of within-tree reproductive phenology on pollinator reproduction. Within-tree reproductive asynchrony itself was positively affected by intra-tree variation in syconium contents and volume, creating a unique feedback loop which varied across seasons. Therefore, nursery size affected fig wasp reproduction, seed production and within-tree reproductive

  11. Floral thermogenesis: An adaptive strategy of pollination biology in Magnoliaceae.

    PubMed

    Wang, Ruohan; Zhang, Zhixiang

    2015-01-01

    Floral thermogenesis plays a crucial role in pollination biology, especially in plant-pollinator interactions. We have recently explored how thermogenesis is related to pollinator activity and odour release in Magnolia sprengeri. By analyzing flower temperatures, emission of volatiles, and insect visitation, we found that floral blends released during pistillate and staminate stages were similar and coincided with sap beetle visitation. Thus, odour mimicry of staminate-stage flowers may occur during the pistillate stage and may be an adaptive strategy of Magnolia species to attract pollinators during both stages, ensuring successful pollination. In addition to the biological significance of floral thermogenesis in Magnolia species, we explored the underlying regulatory mechanisms via profiling miRNA expression in M. denudata flowers during thermogenic and non-thermogenic stages. We identified 17 miRNAs that may play regulatory roles in floral thermogenesis. Functional annotation of their target genes indicated that these miRNAs regulate floral thermogenesis by influencing cellular respiration and light reactions. These findings increase our understanding of plant-pollinator interactions and the regulatory mechanisms in thermogenic plants. PMID:26844867

  12. Ozone degrades floral scent and reduces pollinator attraction to flowers.

    PubMed

    Farré-Armengol, Gerard; Peñuelas, Josep; Li, Tao; Yli-Pirilä, Pasi; Filella, Iolanda; Llusia, Joan; Blande, James D

    2016-01-01

    In this work we analyzed the degradation of floral scent volatiles from Brassica nigra by reaction with ozone along a distance gradient and the consequences for pollinator attraction. For this purpose we used a reaction system comprising three reaction tubes in which we conducted measurements of floral volatiles using a proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer (PTR-TOF-MS) and GC-MS. We also tested the effects of floral scent degradation on the responses of the generalist pollinator Bombus terrestris. The chemical analyses revealed that supplementing air with ozone led to an increasing reduction in the concentrations of floral volatiles in air with distance from the volatile source. The results revealed different reactivities with ozone for different floral scent constituents, which emphasized that ozone exposure not only degrades floral scents, but also changes the ratios of compounds in a scent blend. Behavioural tests revealed that floral scent was reduced in its attractiveness to pollinators after it had been exposed to 120 ppb O3 over a 4.5 m distance. The combined results of chemical analyses and behavioural responses of pollinators strongly suggest that high ozone concentrations have significant negative impacts on pollination by reducing the distance over which floral olfactory signals can be detected by pollinators. PMID:26346807

  13. Floral thermogenesis: An adaptive strategy of pollination biology in Magnoliaceae

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Ruohan; Zhang, Zhixiang

    2015-01-01

    Floral thermogenesis plays a crucial role in pollination biology, especially in plant–pollinator interactions. We have recently explored how thermogenesis is related to pollinator activity and odour release in Magnolia sprengeri. By analyzing flower temperatures, emission of volatiles, and insect visitation, we found that floral blends released during pistillate and staminate stages were similar and coincided with sap beetle visitation. Thus, odour mimicry of staminate-stage flowers may occur during the pistillate stage and may be an adaptive strategy of Magnolia species to attract pollinators during both stages, ensuring successful pollination. In addition to the biological significance of floral thermogenesis in Magnolia species, we explored the underlying regulatory mechanisms via profiling miRNA expression in M. denudata flowers during thermogenic and non-thermogenic stages. We identified 17 miRNAs that may play regulatory roles in floral thermogenesis. Functional annotation of their target genes indicated that these miRNAs regulate floral thermogenesis by influencing cellular respiration and light reactions. These findings increase our understanding of plant–pollinator interactions and the regulatory mechanisms in thermogenic plants. PMID:26844867

  14. Plant-Based Assessment of Inherent Soil Productivity and Contributions to China’s Cereal Crop Yield Increase since 1980

    PubMed Central

    Fan, Mingsheng; Lal, Rattan; Cao, Jian; Qiao, Lei; Su, Yansen; Jiang, Rongfeng; Zhang, Fusuo

    2013-01-01

    Objective China’s food production has increased 6-fold during the past half-century, thanks to increased yields resulting from the management intensification, accomplished through greater inputs of fertilizer, water, new crop strains, and other Green Revolution’s technologies. Yet, changes in underlying quality of soils and their effects on yield increase remain to be determined. Here, we provide a first attempt to quantify historical changes in inherent soil productivity and their contributions to the increase in yield. Methods The assessment was conducted based on data-set derived from 7410 on-farm trials, 8 long-term experiments and an inventory of soil organic matter concentrations of arable land. Results Results show that even without organic and inorganic fertilizer addition crop yield from on-farm trials conducted in the 2000s was significantly higher compared with those in the 1980s — the increase ranged from 0.73 to 1.76 Mg/ha for China’s major irrigated cereal-based cropping systems. The increase in on-farm yield in control plot since 1980s was due primarily to the enhancement of soil-related factors, and reflected inherent soil productivity improvement. The latter led to higher and stable yield with adoption of improved management practices, and contributed 43% to the increase in yield for wheat and 22% for maize in the north China, and, 31%, 35% and 22% for early and late rice in south China and for single rice crop in the Yangtze River Basin since 1980. Conclusions Thus, without an improvement in inherent soil productivity, the ‘Agricultural Miracle in China’ would not have happened. A comprehensive strategy of inherent soil productivity improvement in China, accomplished through combining engineering-based measures with biological-approaches, may be an important lesson for the developing world. We propose that advancing food security in 21st century for both China and other parts of world will depend on continuously improving inherent soil

  15. Effects of selenium accumulation on phytotoxicity, herbivory, and pollination ecology in radish (Raphanus sativus L.).

    PubMed

    Hladun, Kristen R; Parker, David R; Tran, Khoa D; Trumble, John T

    2013-01-01

    Selenium (Se) has contaminated areas in the western USA where pollination is critical to the functioning of both agricultural and natural ecosystems, yet we know little about how Se can impact pollinators. In a two-year semi-field study, the weedy plant Raphanus sativus (radish) was exposed to three selenate treatments and two pollination treatments to evaluate the effects on pollinator-plant interactions. Honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) pollinators were observed to readily forage on R. sativus for both pollen and nectar despite high floral Se concentrations. Se treatment increased both seed abortion (14%) and decreased plant biomass (8-9%). Herbivory by birds and aphids was reduced on Se-treated plants, indicating a potential reproductive advantage for the plant. Our study sheds light on how pollutants such as Se can impact the pollination ecology of a plant that accumulates even moderate amounts of Se. PMID:23000967

  16. Scenarios of organic amendment use to increase soil carbon stocks and nitrogen availability in cropped soils at the territory scale: spatial and temporal simulations with the NCSOIL/CERES-EGC crop model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Noirot-Cosson, Paul-Emile; Vaudour, Emmanuelle; Aubry, Christine; Gilliot, Jean-Marc; Gabrielle, Benoît; Houot, Sabine

    2014-05-01

    The application of Exogenous Organic Matter (EOM) on cropped soils is a promising way to increase soil organic carbon and available nitrogen for crops while recycling organic agricultural and urban wastes. In peri-urban territories where the specialization of agriculture limits the resource in organic amendments since livestock farming is scarce, a better management of EOM land application from all origins at the territory scale could be thought to maximize their benefits. The objective was to predict the effect of various EOM types and uses on C and N fluxes and crop production for each homogeneous spatial unit of the territory, first step for the territorial optimization of EOM land application. The study area, located 30km west of Paris, covers 221km² and is mostly characterized by croplands. The effects of repeated EOM applications were studied using a mechanistic crop model: CERES-EGC accounting for soil characteristics, crop production systems, and climate. The whole territory was divided into homogeneous spatial units, each defined by soil and crop production system characteristics. Four different soil types were characterized, mapped and parameterized in the model. Kinetics of C and N mineralization during soil incubations were used to optimize soil organic matter characteristics and parameters in the sub-model NCSOIL of CERES-EGC. Crop production systems were defined and spatially inferred using the French land parcel identification system. Climatic data measured on the territory were used to make a 20 year-meteorological scenario. Based on these initial informations, crop yields and C and N fluxes were simulated for the actual crop productions and soil type combinations of the territory. Then, different scenarios of EOM uses were also simulated based on different EOM types, added quantities and frequencies of application within the crop successions respecting the 170kgN/ha/yr legal limit. All the parameters studied, crop yields, N outputs, carbon storage

  17. Water for Food, Energy, and the Environment: Assessing Streamflow Impacts of Increasing Cellulosic Biofuel Crop Production in the Corn Belt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yaeger, M. A.; Housh, M.; Ng, T.; Cai, X.; Sivapalan, M.

    2012-12-01

    The recently expanded Renewable Fuel Standard, which now requires 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022, has increased demand for biofuel refinery feedstocks. Currently, biofuel production consists mainly of corn-based ethanol, but concern over increasing nitrate levels resulting from increased corn crop fertilization has prompted research into alternative biofuel feedstocks. Of these, high-yielding biomass crops such as Miscanthus have been suggested for cellulose-based ethanol production. Because these perennial crops require less fertilization and do not need tilling, increasing land area in the Midwest planted with Miscanthus would result in less nitrate pollution to the Gulf of Mexico. There is a tradeoff, however, as Miscanthus also has higher water requirements than conventional crops in the region. This could pose a serious problem for riparian ecosystems and other streamflow users such as municipalities and biofuel refineries themselves, as the lowest natural flows in this region coincide with the peak of the growing season. Moreover, low flow reduction may eventually cut off the water quality benefit that planting Miscanthus provides. Therefore, for large-scale cellulosic ethanol production to be sustainable, it is important to understand how the watershed will respond to this change in land and water use. To this end a detailed data analysis of current watershed conditions has been combined with hydrologic modeling to gain deeper insights into how catchments in the highly agricultural central IL watershed of the Sangamon River respond to current and future land and water usage, with the focus on the summer low-flow season. In addition, an integrated systems optimization model has been developed that combines hydrologic, agro-biologic, engineering infrastructural, and economic inputs to provide optimal scenarios of crop type and area and corresponding refinery locations and capacities. Through this integrated modeling framework, we address the key

  18. Moonlight pollination in the gymnosperm Ephedra (Gnetales)

    PubMed Central

    Rydin, Catarina; Bolinder, Kristina

    2015-01-01

    Most gymnosperms are wind-pollinated, but some are insect-pollinated, and in Ephedra (Gnetales), both wind pollination and insect pollination occur. Little is, however, known about mechanisms and evolution of pollination syndromes in gymnosperms. Based on four seasons of field studies, we show an unexpected correlation between pollination and the phases of the moon in one of our studied species, Ephedra foeminea. It is pollinated by dipterans and lepidopterans, most of them nocturnal, and its pollination coincides with the full moon of July. This may be adaptive in two ways. Many nocturnal insects navigate using the moon. Further, the spectacular reflection of the full-moonlight in the pollination drops is the only apparent means of nocturnal attraction of insects in these plants. In the sympatric but wind-pollinated Ephedra distachya, pollination is not correlated to the full moon but occurs at approximately the same dates every year. The lunar correlation has probably been lost in most species of Ephedra subsequent an evolutionary shift to wind pollination in the clade. When the services of insects are no longer needed for successful pollination, the adaptive value of correlating pollination with the full moon is lost, and conceivably also the trait. PMID:25832814

  19. Moonlight pollination in the gymnosperm Ephedra (Gnetales).

    PubMed

    Rydin, Catarina; Bolinder, Kristina

    2015-04-01

    Most gymnosperms are wind-pollinated, but some are insect-pollinated, and in Ephedra (Gnetales), both wind pollination and insect pollination occur. Little is, however, known about mechanisms and evolution of pollination syndromes in gymnosperms. Based on four seasons of field studies, we show an unexpected correlation between pollination and the phases of the moon in one of our studied species, Ephedra foeminea. It is pollinated by dipterans and lepidopterans, most of them nocturnal, and its pollination coincides with the full moon of July. This may be adaptive in two ways. Many nocturnal insects navigate using the moon. Further, the spectacular reflection of the full-moonlight in the pollination drops is the only apparent means of nocturnal attraction of insects in these plants. In the sympatric but wind-pollinated Ephedra distachya, pollination is not correlated to the full moon but occurs at approximately the same dates every year. The lunar correlation has probably been lost in most species of Ephedra subsequent an evolutionary shift to wind pollination in the clade. When the services of insects are no longer needed for successful pollination, the adaptive value of correlating pollination with the full moon is lost, and conceivably also the trait. PMID:25832814

  20. Invasive rats and recent colonist birds partially compensate for the loss of endemic New Zealand pollinators

    PubMed Central

    Pattemore, David E.; Wilcove, David S.

    2012-01-01

    Reported declines of pollinator populations around the world have led to increasing concerns about the consequences for pollination as a critical ecosystem function and service. Pollination could be maintained through compensation if remaining pollinators increase their contribution or if novel species are recruited as pollinators, but empirical evidence of this compensation is so far lacking. Using a natural experiment in New Zealand where endemic vertebrate pollinators still occur on one offshore island reserve despite their local extinction on the adjacent North Island, we investigated whether compensation could maintain pollination in the face of pollinator extinctions. We show that two recently arrived species in New Zealand, the invasive ship rat (Rattus rattus) and the recent colonist silvereye (Zosterops lateralis; a passerine bird), at least partly maintain pollination for three forest plant species in northern New Zealand, and without this compensation, these plants would be significantly more pollen-limited. This study provides empirical evidence that widespread non-native species can play an important role in maintaining ecosystem functions, a role that needs to be assessed when planning invasive species control or eradication programmes. PMID:22090388

  1. Flight activity of 4-lb Australian package bee colonies used for almond pollination.

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Increasing acreage of almonds in California has increased the demand for honey bee colonies for pollination. Since 2005, domestic U.S. colonies have been supplemented with colonies started from package bees imported from Australia. The need for almond pollination in late winter in California fits we...

  2. Plant-pollinator interactions in a biodiverse meadow are rather stable and tight for 3 consecutive years.

    PubMed

    Fang, Qiang; Huang, Shuangquan

    2016-05-01

    Plant-pollinator interactions can be highly variable across years in natural communities. Although variation in the species composition and its basic structure has been investigated to understand the dynamic nature of pollination networks, little is known about the temporal dynamic of interaction strength between the same plant and pollinator species in any natural community. Pollinator-mediated selection on the evolution of floral traits could be diminished if plant-pollinator interactions vary temporally. To quantify the temporal variation in plant-pollinator interactions and the interaction strength (observed visits), we compared weighted networks between plants and pollinators in a biodiverse alpine meadow in Shangri-La, southwest China for 3 consecutive years. Although plant-pollinator interactions were highly dynamic such that identical interactions only accounted for 10.7% of the total between pair years, the diversity of interactions was stable. These identical interactions contributed 41.2% of total visits and were similar in strength and weighted nestedness. For plant species, 72.6% of species were visited by identical pollinator species between pair years, accounting for over half of the total visits and three-quarters at the functional group level. More generalized pollinators contributed more connectiveness and were more central in networks across years. However, there was no similar or even opposite trend for plant species, which suggested that specialized plant species may also be central in pollinator networks. The variation in pollinator composition decreased as pollinator species numbers increased, suggesting that generalized plants experienced stable pollinator partition. The stable, tight interactions between generalized pollinators and specialized plants represent cornerstones of the studied community. PMID:26846890

  3. The Circe principle explains how resource-rich land can waylay pollinators in fragmented landscapes.

    PubMed

    Lander, Tonya A; Bebber, Daniel P; Choy, Chris T L; Harris, Stephen A; Boshier, David H

    2011-08-01

    Global declines in pollinators, associated with land-use change [1-6] and fragmentation [7-10], constitute a serious threat to crop production and biodiversity [11]. Models investigating impacts of habitat fragmentation on pollen flow have categorized landscapes simply in terms of habitat and nonhabitat. We show that pollen flow depends strongly on types of land use between habitat fragments. We used paternity analysis of seeds and a combination of circuit and general linear models to analyze pollen flow for the endangered tree Gomortega keule (Gomortegaceae) [12] in the fragmented Central Chile Biodiversity Hotspot [13]. Pollination probability was highest over pine plantation, moderate over low-intensity agriculture and native forest, and lowest over clearfells. Changing the proportions of the land uses over one kilometer altered pollination probability up to 7-fold. We explain our results by the novel "Circe principle." In contrast to models where land uses similar to native habitat promote pollinator movement, pollinators may actually be waylaid in resource-rich areas between habitat patches. Moreover, pollinators may move with higher probability between habitat patches separated by some resource-poor land uses. Pollination research in fragmented landscapes requires explicit recognition of the nature of the nonhabitat matrix, rather than applying simple binary landscape models. PMID:21782436

  4. Pollination value of male bees: the specialist bee Peponapis pruinosa (Apidae) at summer squash (Cucurbita pepo).

    PubMed

    Cane, James H; Sampson, Blair J; Miller, Stephanie A

    2011-06-01

    Male bees can be abundant at flowers, particularly floral hosts of those bee species whose females are taxonomic pollen specialists (oligolecty). Contributions of male bees to host pollination are rarely studied directly despite their prevalence in a number of pollination guilds, including those of some crop plants. In this study, males of the oligolectic bee, Peponapis pruinosa Say, were shown to be effective pollinators of summer squash, Cucurbita pepo L. Seven sequential visits from male P. pruinosa maximized squash fruit set and growth. This number of male visits accumulated during the first hour of their foraging and mate searching at flowers soon after sunrise. Pollination efficacy of male P. pruinosa and their abundances at squash flowers were sufficient to account for most summer squash production at our study sites, and by extrapolation, to two-thirds of all 87 North American farms and market gardens growing squashes that were surveyed for pollinators by collaborators in the Squash Pollinators of the Americas Survey. We posit that the substantial pollination value of male Peponapis bees is a consequence of their species' oligolecty, their mate seeking strategy, and some extreme traits of Cucurbita flowers (massive rewards, flower size, phenology). PMID:22251639

  5. Can the Cyanobacterial Carbon-Concentrating Mechanism Increase Photosynthesis in Crop Species? A Theoretical Analysis1[W][OPEN

    PubMed Central

    McGrath, Justin M.; Long, Stephen P.

    2014-01-01

    Experimental elevation of [CO2] around C3 crops in the field has been shown to increase yields by suppressing the Rubisco oxygenase reaction and, in turn, photorespiration. Bioengineering a cyanobacterial carbon-concentrating mechanism (CCM) into C3 crop species provides a potential means of elevating [CO2] at Rubisco, thereby decreasing photorespiration and increasing photosynthetic efficiency and yield. The cyanobacterial CCM is an attractive alternative relative to other CCMs, because its features do not require anatomical changes to leaf tissue. However, the potential benefits of engineering the entire CCM into a C3 leaf are unexamined. Here, a CO2 and HCO3− diffusion-reaction model is developed to examine how components of the cyanobacterial CCM affect leaf light-saturated CO2 uptake (Asat) and to determine whether a different Rubisco isoform would perform better in a leaf with a cyanobacterial CCM. The results show that the addition of carboxysomes without other CCM components substantially decreases Asat and that the best first step is the addition of HCO3− transporters, as a single HCO3− transporter increased modeled Asat by 9%. Addition of all major CCM components increased Asat from 24 to 38 µmol m−2 s−1. Several Rubisco isoforms were compared in the model, and increasing ribulose bisphosphate regeneration rate will allow for further improvements by using a Rubisco isoform adapted to high [CO2]. Results from field studies that artificially raise [CO2] suggest that this 60% increase in Asat could result in a 36% to 60% increase in yield. PMID:24550242

  6. Soil hydrological attributes of an integrated crop-livestock agroecosystem: Increased adaptation through resistance to soil change

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Integrated crop-livestock production systems have been suggested to improve agricultural productivity, environmental quality, operational efficiency, and economic performance relative to specialized, single-enterprise production systems. Benefits from crop-livestock integration emanate from product...

  7. Pollinator responses to floral colour change, nectar, and scent promote reproductive fitness in Quisqualis indica (Combretaceae).

    PubMed

    Yan, Juan; Wang, Gang; Sui, Yi; Wang, Menglin; Zhang, Ling

    2016-01-01

    Floral colour change is visual signals for pollinators to avoid old flowers and increase pollination efficiency. Quisqualis indica flowers change colour from white to pink to red may be associated with a shift from moth to butterfly pollination. To test this hypothesis, we investigated Q. indica populations in Southwest China. Flowers secreted nectar continuously from the evening of anthesis until the following morning, then decreased gradually with floral colour change. The scent compounds in the three floral colour stages were similar; however, the scent composition was different, and the scent emission rate decreased from the white to red stage. Dichogamy in Q. indica prevents self-pollination and interference of male and female functions. Controlled pollinations demonstrated that this species is self-incompatible and needs pollinators for seed production. Different pollinators were attracted in each floral colour stage; mainly moths at night and bees and butterflies during the day. Observations of open-pollinated inflorescences showed that white flowers had a higher fruit set than pink or red flowers, indicating the high contribution of moths to reproductive success. We concluded that the nectar and scent secretion are related to floral colour change in Q. indica, in order to attract different pollinators and promote reproductive fitness. PMID:27072926

  8. Pollination ecology and the possible impacts of environmental change in the Southwest Australian Biodiversity Hotspot

    PubMed Central

    Phillips, Ryan D.; Hopper, Stephen D.; Dixon, Kingsley W.

    2010-01-01

    The Southwest Australian Biodiversity Hotspot contains an exceptionally diverse flora on an ancient, low-relief but edaphically diverse landscape. Since European colonization, the primary threat to the flora has been habitat clearance, though climate change is an impending threat. Here, we review (i) the ecology of nectarivores and biotic pollination systems in the region, (ii) the evidence that trends in pollination strategies are a consequence of characteristics of the landscape, and (iii) based on these discussions, provide predictions to be tested on the impacts of environmental change on pollination systems. The flora of southwestern Australia has an exceptionally high level of vertebrate pollination, providing the advantage of highly mobile, generalist pollinators. Nectarivorous invertebrates are primarily generalist foragers, though an increasing number of colletid bees are being recognized as being specialized at the level of plant family or more rarely genus. While generalist pollination strategies dominate among insect-pollinated plants, there are some cases of extreme specialization, most notably the multiple evolutions of sexual deception in the Orchidaceae. Preliminary data suggest that bird pollination confers an advantage of greater pollen movement and may represent a mechanism for minimizing inbreeding in naturally fragmented populations. The effects of future environmental change are predicted to result from a combination of the resilience of pollination guilds and changes in their foraging and dispersal behaviour. PMID:20047877

  9. Pollinator responses to floral colour change, nectar, and scent promote reproductive fitness in Quisqualis indica (Combretaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Yan, Juan; Wang, Gang; Sui, Yi; Wang, Menglin; Zhang, Ling

    2016-01-01

    Floral colour change is visual signals for pollinators to avoid old flowers and increase pollination efficiency. Quisqualis indica flowers change colour from white to pink to red may be associated with a shift from moth to butterfly pollination. To test this hypothesis, we investigated Q. indica populations in Southwest China. Flowers secreted nectar continuously from the evening of anthesis until the following morning, then decreased gradually with floral colour change. The scent compounds in the three floral colour stages were similar; however, the scent composition was different, and the scent emission rate decreased from the white to red stage. Dichogamy in Q. indica prevents self-pollination and interference of male and female functions. Controlled pollinations demonstrated that this species is self-incompatible and needs pollinators for seed production. Different pollinators were attracted in each floral colour stage; mainly moths at night and bees and butterflies during the day. Observations of open-pollinated inflorescences showed that white flowers had a higher fruit set than pink or red flowers, indicating the high contribution of moths to reproductive success. We concluded that the nectar and scent secretion are related to floral colour change in Q. indica, in order to attract different pollinators and promote reproductive fitness. PMID:27072926

  10. Accelerating the domestication of a bioenergy crop: identifying and modelling morphological targets for sustainable yield increase in Miscanthus

    PubMed Central

    Farrar, Kerrie

    2013-01-01

    To accelerate domestication of Miscanthus, an important energy crop, 244 replicated genotypes, including two different species and their hybrids, were analysed for morphological traits and biomass yield over three growing seasons following an establishment phase of 2 years in the largest Miscanthus diversity trial described to date. Stem and leaf traits were selected that contributed both directly and indirectly to total harvested biomass yield, and there was variation in all traits measured. Morphological diversity within the population was correlated with dry matter yield (DMY) both as individual traits and in combination, in order to determine the respective contributions of the traits to biomass accumulation and to identify breeding targets for yield improvement. Predictive morphometric analysis was possible at year 3 within Miscanthus sinensis genotypes but not between M. sinensis, Miscanthus sacchariflorus, and interspecific hybrids. Yield is a complex trait, and no single simple trait explained more than 33% of DMY, which varied from 1 to 5297g among genotypes within this trial. Associating simple traits increased the power of the morphological data to predict yield to 60%. Trait variety, in combination, enabled multiple ideotypes, thereby increasing the potential diversity of the crop for multiple growth locations and end uses. Both triploids and interspecific hybrids produced the highest mature yields, indicating that there is significant heterosis to be exploited within Miscanthus that might be overlooked in early selection screens within years 1–3. The potential for optimizing biomass yield by selecting on the basis of morphology is discussed. PMID:24064927

  11. Buttercup squash provides a marketable alternative to blue hubbard as a trap crop for control of striped cucumber beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae).

    PubMed

    Cavanagh, Andrew F; Adler, Lynn S; Hazzard, Ruth V

    2010-12-01

    Winter squash is a vital agricultural commodity worldwide. In the Northeastern United States, the primary insect pest is the striped cucumber beetle, Acalymma vittatum F. Using a Blue Hubbard squash (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) perimeter trap crop system can reduce insecticide use by >90% in butternut squash (C. moschata Poir), the primary winter squash grown in this region. Despite the savings in insecticide costs, growers may be reluctant to give up field space for a perimeter crop of Blue Hubbard squash, which comprises only 5% of the winter squash market in New England as compared with 19% for buttercup squash. Finding a more marketable trap crop would lower the barrier for adoption of this system. We tested eight varieties of three species of cucurbits for attractiveness to beetles relative to Blue Hubbard and butternut squash, and chose buttercup squash as the most promising replacement. We compared the effect of a buttercup border, Blue Hubbard border, or control (no border) on beetle numbers, herbivory, insecticide use, pollination, and pollen limitation in the main crop. We found that buttercup squash performed equally well as Blue Hubbard as a trap crop, with 97% reduction in total insecticide use compared with control fields. Honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) and squash bees (Peponapis pruinosa Say) were the predominant pollinators, and border treatments did not affect visitation. Hand pollination did not increase reproduction or yield, indicating that natural pollination was sufficient for full yield. This study confirms the effectiveness of perimeter trap crop systems and offers growers a more marketable trap crop for managing cucumber beetle damage. PMID:22182562

  12. Population size, pollination and phenotypic trait selection in Phyteuma spicatum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weber, Anne; Kolb, Annette

    2013-02-01

    Plants in small populations may receive fewer visits, smaller pollen loads or pollen of poorer quality and suffer from reduced reproductive success compared to plants in larger populations. Consequently, pollen limitation of plants in small populations has been suggested to result in the evolution of reduced reliance on pollinators or the enhancement of traits that attract pollinators. The main aim of this study was to experimentally quantify the strength of pollinator-mediated selection on floral display size and flowering phenology in populations of varying size, using the self-incompatible, perennial herb Phyteuma spicatum as study species. We conducted supplementary hand pollinations in six populations (ranging in size between ca. 20-3000 flowering individuals) over two consecutive years and assessed selection gradients (i.e., trait-fitness relationships) in open- and hand-pollinated plants. Our results show that some populations are pollen limited in some years, but, contrary to our expectation, the degree of pollen limitation was not significantly related to population size. We found phenotypic selection for increased inflorescence size (in most populations and in both years), but we obtained no or no strong evidence that selection was pollinator-mediated or that the strength of selection was related to population size. This may have been the result of low statistical power, an inherent problem of studies examining effects of population size that require the inclusion of populations with only few individuals. In addition, given that selection appeared to be spatially and temporally variable, abiotic or biotic factors other than pollinators may have contributed to selection on inflorescence size.

  13. Quantity and quality components of effectiveness in insular pollinator assemblages.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez-Rodríguez, María C; Jordano, Pedro; Valido, Alfredo

    2013-09-01

    Ecologically isolated habitats (e.g., oceanic islands) favor the appearance of small assemblages of pollinators, generally characterized by highly contrasted life modes (e.g., birds, lizards), and opportunistic nectar-feeding behavior. Different life modes should promote a low functional equivalence among pollinators, while opportunistic nectar feeding would lead to reduced and unpredictable pollination effectiveness (PE) compared to more specialized nectarivores. Dissecting the quantity (QNC) and quality (QLC) components of PE, we studied the opportunistic bird-lizard pollinator assemblage of Isoplexis canariensis from the Canary Islands to experimentally evaluate these potential characteristics. Birds and lizards showed different positions in the PE landscape, highlighting their low functional equivalence. Birds were more efficient than lizards due to higher visitation frequency (QNC). Adult lizards differed from juveniles in effecting a higher production of viable seeds (QLC). The disparate life modes of birds and lizards resulted in ample intra- and inter-specific PE variance. The main sources of PE variance were visitation frequency (both lizards and birds), number of flowers probed (lizards) and proportion of viable seeds resulting from a single visit (birds). The non-coincident locations of birds and lizards on the PE landscape indicate potential constraints for effectiveness. Variations in pollinator abundance can result in major effectiveness shifts only if QLC is relatively high, while changes in QLC would increase PE substantially only at high QNC. The low functional equivalence of impoverished, highly contrasted pollinator assemblages may be an early diagnostic signal for pollinator extinction potentially driving the collapse of mutualistic services. PMID:23404070

  14. A quantitative review of pollination syndromes: do floral traits predict effective pollinators?

    PubMed

    Rosas-Guerrero, Víctor; Aguilar, Ramiro; Martén-Rodríguez, Silvana; Ashworth, Lorena; Lopezaraiza-Mikel, Martha; Bastida, Jesús M; Quesada, Mauricio

    2014-03-01

    The idea of pollination syndromes has been largely discussed but no formal quantitative evaluation has yet been conducted across angiosperms. We present the first systematic review of pollination syndromes that quantitatively tests whether the most effective pollinators for a species can be inferred from suites of floral traits for 417 plant species. Our results support the syndrome concept, indicating that convergent floral evolution is driven by adaptation to the most effective pollinator group. The predictability of pollination syndromes is greater in pollinator-dependent species and in plants from tropical regions. Many plant species also have secondary pollinators that generally correspond to the ancestral pollinators documented in evolutionary studies. We discuss the utility and limitations of pollination syndromes and the role of secondary pollinators to understand floral ecology and evolution. PMID:24393294

  15. Olive fertility as affected by cross-pollination and boron.

    PubMed

    Spinardi, A; Bassi, D

    2012-01-01

    Self-compatibility of local olive (Olea europaea L.) accessions and of the cultivars "Frantoio" and "Leccino" was investigated in Garda Lake area, northern Italy. Intercompatibility was determined for "Casaliva," "Frantoio," and "Leccino," as well as the effects of foliar Boron applications (0, 262, 525, or 1050 mg.L(-1)) applied about one week before anthesis on fruit set, shotberry set, and on in vitro pollen germination. Following self-pollination, fruit set was significantly lower and the occurrence of shot berries significantly higher than those obtained by open pollination. No significant effect of controlled cross-pollination over self-pollination on fruit set and shotberry set was detectable. B treatments increased significantly fruit set in "Frantoio" and "Casaliva" but not in "Leccino." B sprays had no effect on shotberry set, suggesting that these parthenocarpic fruits did not strongly compete for resources allocation and did not take advantage of increased B tissue levels. Foliar B application enhanced in vitro pollen germination, and the optimal level was higher for pollen germination than for fruit set. Our results highlight the importance of olive cross pollination for obtaining satisfactory fruit set and the beneficial effect of B treatments immediately prior to anthesis, possibly by affecting positively the fertilisation process and subsequent plant source-sink relations linked to fruitlet retention. PMID:22919310

  16. Olive Fertility as Affected by Cross-Pollination and Boron

    PubMed Central

    Spinardi, A.; Bassi, D.

    2012-01-01

    Self-compatibility of local olive (Olea europaea L.) accessions and of the cultivars “Frantoio” and “Leccino” was investigated in Garda Lake area, northern Italy. Intercompatibility was determined for “Casaliva,” “Frantoio,” and “Leccino,” as well as the effects of foliar Boron applications (0, 262, 525, or 1050 mg·L−1) applied about one week before anthesis on fruit set, shotberry set, and on in vitro pollen germination. Following self-pollination, fruit set was significantly lower and the occurrence of shot berries significantly higher than those obtained by open pollination. No significant effect of controlled cross-pollination over self-pollination on fruit set and shotberry set was detectable. B treatments increased significantly fruit set in “Frantoio” and “Casaliva” but not in “Leccino.” B sprays had no effect on shotberry set, suggesting that these parthenocarpic fruits did not strongly compete for resources allocation and did not take advantage of increased B tissue levels. Foliar B application enhanced in vitro pollen germination, and the optimal level was higher for pollen germination than for fruit set. Our results highlight the importance of olive cross pollination for obtaining satisfactory fruit set and the beneficial effect of B treatments immediately prior to anthesis, possibly by affecting positively the fertilisation process and subsequent plant source-sink relations linked to fruitlet retention. PMID:22919310

  17. Ethanol and agriculture: Effect of increased production on crop and livestock sectors. Agricultural economic report

    SciTech Connect

    House, R.; Peters, M.; Baumes, H.; Disney, W.T.

    1993-05-01

    Expanded ethanol production could increase US farm income by as much as $1 billion (1.4 percent) by 2000. Because corn is the primary feedstock for ethanol, growers in the Corn Belt would benefit most from improved ethanol technology and heightened demand. Coproducts from the conversion process (corn gluten meal, corn gluten feed, and others) compete with soybean meal, soybean growers in the South may see revenues decline. The US balance of trade would improve with increased ethanol production as oil import needs decline.

  18. Conservation cropping systems: Increasing water use efficiency and lowering production costs

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    As of the 2007 Census of Agriculture, irrigated acres were only found on 4.4% of agricultural operations in Alabama. To increase irrigated acres, the Alabama Legislature passed the Irrigation Incentives Bill in 2012 to provide a state income tax credit of 20 percent of the costs of the purchase and ...

  19. Variation of Pollinator Assemblages and Pollen Limitation in a Locally Specialized System: The Oil-producing Nierembergia linariifolia (Solanaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Cosacov, Andrea; Nattero, Julieta; Cocucci, Andrea A.

    2008-01-01

    Background and Aims Few studies have examined the dynamics of specialist plant–pollinator interactions at a geographical scale. This knowledge is crucial for a more general evolutionary and ecological understanding of specialized plant–pollinator systems. In the present study, variations in pollinator activity, assemblage composition and pollen limitation were explored in the oil-producing species Nierembergia linariifolia (Solanaceae). Methods Pollen limitation in fruit and seed production was analysed by supplementary hand pollination in five wild populations. Pollinator activity and identity were recorded while carrying out supplementary pollination to assess the effect of pollinators on the degree of pollen limitation. In two populations, pollen limitation was discriminated into quantitative and qualitative components by comparing supplementation and hand cross-pollination in fruit set and seed set. The effect of flower number per plant on the number of flowers pollinated per visitor per visit to a plant was examined in one of these populations as a possible cause of low-quality pollination by increasing geitonogamy. Results and Conclusions Although pollen limitation was evident along time and space, differences in magnitude were detected among populations and years that were greatly explained by pollinator activity, which was significantly different across populations. Floral display size had a significant effect on the visitation rate per flower. Limitation by quality clearly affected one population presumably due to a high proportion of geitonogamous pollen. The great inter-population variation in plant–pollinator interaction (both in pollinator assemblages composition and pollinator activity) and fitness consequences, suggests that this system should be viewed as a mosaic of locally selective processes and locally specialized interactions. PMID:18765440

  20. Matching floral and pollinator traits through guild convergence and pollinator ecotype formation

    PubMed Central

    Newman, Ethan; Manning, John; Anderson, Bruce

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Pollinator landscapes, as determined by pollinator morphology/behaviour, can vary inter- or intraspecifically, imposing divergent selective pressures and leading to geographically divergent floral ecotypes. Assemblages of plants pollinated by the same pollinator (pollinator guilds) should exhibit convergence of floral traits because they are exposed to similar selective pressures. Both convergence and the formation of pollination ecotypes should lead to matching of traits among plants and their pollinators. Methods We examined 17 floral guild members pollinated in all or part of their range by Prosoeca longipennis, a long-proboscid fly with geographic variation in tongue length. Attractive floral traits such as colour, and nectar properties were recorded in populations across the range of each species. The length of floral reproductive parts, a mechanical fit trait, was recorded in each population to assess possible correlation with the mouthparts of the local pollinator. A multiple regression analysis was used to determine whether pollinators or abiotic factors provided the best explanation for variation in floral traits, and pollinator shifts were recorded in extralimital guild member populations. Key Results Nine of the 17 species were visited by alternative pollinator species in other parts of their ranges, and these displayed differences in mechanical fit and attractive traits, suggesting putative pollination ecotypes. Plants pollinated by P. longipennis were similar in colour throughout the pollinator range. Tube length of floral guild members co-varied with the proboscis length of P. longipennis. Conclusions Pollinator shifts have resulted in geographically divergent pollinator ecotypes across the ranges of several guild members. However, within sites, unrelated plants pollinated by P. longipennis are similar in the length of their floral parts, most probably as a result of convergent evolution in response to pollinator morphology. Both

  1. Evolutionary dynamics of a cycad obligate pollination mutualism - Pattern and process in extant Macrozamia cycads and their specialist thrips pollinators.

    PubMed

    Brookes, D R; Hereward, J P; Terry, L I; Walter, G H

    2015-12-01

    Obligate pollination mutualisms are rare and few have been investigated deeply. This paper focuses on one such mutualism involving thrips in the genus Cycadothrips that pollinate cycads in the genus Macrozamia. Both represent old lineages relative to insects and plants generally, are endemic to Australia, and are mutually co-dependent. The phylogenetic analyses presented here demonstrate that the pollinator is much more diverse than previously considered, with each pollinator lineage being extremely specific to between one and three host species where these latter share part of their distribution. The new species diversity we demonstrate in Cycadothrips all presently falls under the species name C. chadwicki, and these different lineages diversified during two periods. An older divergence, beginning 7.3Mya (4.4-11.1, 95% HPD), resulted in three major lineages, and then further diversification within each of these three lineages took place at most 1.1Mya (0.6-1.8, 95% HPD). These divergence estimates correspond to times when aridification was increasing in Australia, suggesting that population fragmentation following climatic change has played a significant role in the evolutionary history of Cycadothrips and Macrozamia. This means that co-diversification of the host and pollinator in allopatry appears to be the dominant process affecting species diversity. Host switching is also clearly evident in the discrepancy between the divergence times of the C. chadwicki lineage and C. albrechti, about 10.8Mya (6.0-17.1, 95% HPD), and their hosts, at about 1.1Mya (0.2-3.4Mya, 95% HPD), in that the pollinator split pre-dates the origin of the associated host species of each. These results add to the body of evidence that the evolutionary processes important in obligate pollinator mutualisms are more varied than previously assumed. PMID:26220840

  2. Mating patterns and pollinator mobility are critical traits in forest fragmentation genetics

    PubMed Central

    Breed, M F; Ottewell, K M; Gardner, M G; Marklund, M H K; Dormontt, E E; Lowe, A J

    2015-01-01

    Most woody plants are animal-pollinated, but the global problem of habitat fragmentation is changing the pollination dynamics. Consequently, the genetic diversity and fitness of the progeny of animal-pollinated woody plants sired in fragmented landscapes tend to decline due to shifts in plant-mating patterns (for example, reduced outcrossing rate, pollen diversity). However, the magnitude of this mating-pattern shift should theoretically be a function of pollinator mobility. We first test this hypothesis by exploring the mating patterns of three ecologically divergent eucalypts sampled across a habitat fragmentation gradient in southern Australia. We demonstrate increased selfing and decreased pollen diversity with increased fragmentation for two small-insect-pollinated eucalypts, but no such relationship for the mobile-bird-pollinated eucalypt. In a meta-analysis, we then show that fragmentation generally does increase selfing rates and decrease pollen diversity, and that more mobile pollinators tended to dampen these mating-pattern shifts. Together, our findings support the premise that variation in pollinator form contributes to the diversity of mating-pattern responses to habitat fragmentation. PMID:24002239

  3. Mating patterns and pollinator mobility are critical traits in forest fragmentation genetics.

    PubMed

    Breed, M F; Ottewell, K M; Gardner, M G; Marklund, M H K; Dormontt, E E; Lowe, A J

    2015-08-01

    Most woody plants are animal-pollinated, but the global problem of habitat fragmentation is changing the pollination dynamics. Consequently, the genetic diversity and fitness of the progeny of animal-pollinated woody plants sired in fragmented landscapes tend to decline due to shifts in plant-mating patterns (for example, reduced outcrossing rate, pollen diversity). However, the magnitude of this mating-pattern shift should theoretically be a function of pollinator mobility. We first test this hypothesis by exploring the mating patterns of three ecologically divergent eucalypts sampled across a habitat fragmentation gradient in southern Australia. We demonstrate increased selfing and decreased pollen diversity with increased fragmentation for two small-insect-pollinated eucalypts, but no such relationship for the mobile-bird-pollinated eucalypt. In a meta-analysis, we then show that fragmentation generally does increase selfing rates and decrease pollen diversity, and that more mobile pollinators tended to dampen these mating-pattern shifts. Together, our findings support the premise that variation in pollinator form contributes to the diversity of mating-pattern responses to habitat fragmentation. PMID:24002239

  4. Increased number of crop types over France in the ISBA-A-gs land surface model : does it improve the regional simulation of LAI ?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    lafont, Sebastien; Calvet, Alina; Carrer, Dominque; Delire, Christine; Calvet, Jean-Christophe; Alkama, ramdane

    2013-04-01

    Land surface models have at first been designed to represent natural vegetation classified in broad Plant Functional Type (PFT). A better description of the agricultural land is needed to enlarge the accuracy of the model (especially at high resolution) and their range of application (land use studies, climate change...). For example in temperate region, the C3 crops have two different seasonal cycles with a peak LAI in spring or in summer depending on sowing date. A larger number of agricultural PFT have been recently introduced in the ISBA-A-gs land surface model within the SURFEX modelling platform. The SURFEX modelling platform is used in a wide range of applications either in coupled mode or in off-line mode (driven by meteorological forcing). The number of agricultural PFT have been increased from 3 (C3 crops, C4 crops, irrigated C4 crops) to 8 (C3 winter crops, and C3 summer crops both irrigated or not; C4 crops; C4 irrigated crops). The objective is not to implement a full agronomic model but to introduce simple parametrisation which account for the broad differences between these classes. For example summer C3 crops have a prescribed emergence date parameter that differentiate them from winter C3 crops. The irrigation introduced in an earlier version of ISBA-A-gs is based on a simple empirical model based on threshold of soil moisture. We will test the new version of the model over France in a configuration close to the one used by the GEOLAND2 Land Carbon project. The simulations are performed with the high resolution meteorological forcing (8km) SAFRAN over a period of 20 years. We compare the simulated LAI over France with the GEOLAND2 LAI product derived project from the SPOT/VEGETATION sensor. Finally, we discuss the improvement in seasonal cycle and inter-annual variability bring by the new PFTs.

  5. Biochar increases plant available water in a sandy soil under an aerobic rice cropping system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Melo Carvalho, M. T.; de Holanda Nunes Maia, A.; Madari, B. E.; Bastiaans, L.; van Oort, P. A. J.; Heinemann, A. B.; Soler da Silva, M. A.; Petter, F. A.; Meinke, H.

    2014-03-01

    The main objective of this study was to assess the impact of biochar rate (0, 8, 16 and 32 t ha-1) on the water retention capacity (WRC) of a sandy Dystric Plinthosol. The applied biochar was a by-product of slow pyrolysis (∼450 °C) of eucalyptus wood, milled to pass through a 2000 μm sieve that resulted in a material with an intrinsic porosity ≤10 μm and a specific surface area of ∼3.2 m2 g-1. The biochar was incorporated into the top 15 cm of the soil under an aerobic rice system. Our study focused on both the effects on WRC and rice yields at 2 and 3 years after application. Undisturbed soil samples were collected from 16 plots in two soil layers (5-10 and 15-20 cm). Soil water retention curves were modelled using a nonlinear mixed model which appropriately accounts for uncertainties inherent of spatial variability and repeated measurements taken within a specific soil sample. We found an increase in plant available water in the upper soil layer proportional to the rate of biochar, with about 0.8% for each t ha-1 of biochar amendment at 2 and 3 years after application. The impact of biochar on soil WRC was most likely related to an increase in overall porosity of the sandy soil, which was evident from an increase in saturated soil moisture and macro porosity with 0.5% and 1.6% for each t ha-1 of biochar applied, respectively. The increment in soil WRC did not translate into an increase in rice yield, essentially because in both seasons the amount of rainfall during critical period for rice production exceeded 650 mm. The use of biochar as a soil amendment can be a worthy strategy to guarantee yield stability under water limited conditions. Our findings raise the importance of assessing the feasibility of very high application rates of biochar and the inclusion of a detailed analysis of its physical and chemical properties as part of future investigations.

  6. Overexpression of a pH-sensitive nitrate transporter in rice increases crop yields.

    PubMed

    Fan, Xiaorong; Tang, Zhong; Tan, Yawen; Zhang, Yong; Luo, Bingbing; Yang, Meng; Lian, Xingming; Shen, Qirong; Miller, Anthony John; Xu, Guohua

    2016-06-28

    Cellular pH homeostasis is fundamental for life, and all cells adapt to maintain this balance. In plants, the chemical form of nitrogen supply, nitrate and ammonium, is one of the cellular pH dominators. We report that the rice nitrate transporter OsNRT2.3 is transcribed into two spliced isoforms with a natural variation in expression ratio. One splice form, OsNRT2.3b is located on the plasma membrane, is expressed mainly in the phloem, and has a regulatory motif on the cytosolic side that acts to switch nitrate transport activity on or off by a pH-sensing mechanism. High OsNRT2.3b expression in rice enhances the pH-buffering capacity of the plant, increasing N, Fe, and P uptake. In field trials, increased expression of OsNRT2.3b improved grain yield and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) by 40%. These results indicate that pH sensing by the rice nitrate transporter OsNRT2.3b is important for plant adaption to varied N supply forms and can provide a target for improving NUE. PMID:27274069

  7. Overexpression of a pH-sensitive nitrate transporter in rice increases crop yields

    PubMed Central

    Fan, Xiaorong; Tang, Zhong; Tan, Yawen; Zhang, Yong; Luo, Bingbing; Yang, Meng; Lian, Xingming; Shen, Qirong; Miller, Anthony John; Xu, Guohua

    2016-01-01

    Cellular pH homeostasis is fundamental for life, and all cells adapt to maintain this balance. In plants, the chemical form of nitrogen supply, nitrate and ammonium, is one of the cellular pH dominators. We report that the rice nitrate transporter OsNRT2.3 is transcribed into two spliced isoforms with a natural variation in expression ratio. One splice form, OsNRT2.3b is located on the plasma membrane, is expressed mainly in the phloem, and has a regulatory motif on the cytosolic side that acts to switch nitrate transport activity on or off by a pH-sensing mechanism. High OsNRT2.3b expression in rice enhances the pH-buffering capacity of the plant, increasing N, Fe, and P uptake. In field trials, increased expression of OsNRT2.3b improved grain yield and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) by 40%. These results indicate that pH sensing by the rice nitrate transporter OsNRT2.3b is important for plant adaption to varied N supply forms and can provide a target for improving NUE. PMID:27274069

  8. Tropical Forest Fragmentation Affects Floral Visitors but Not the Structure of Individual-Based Palm-Pollinator Networks

    PubMed Central

    Dáttilo, Wesley; Aguirre, Armando; Quesada, Mauricio; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-01-01

    Despite increasing knowledge about the effects of habitat loss on pollinators in natural landscapes, information is very limited regarding the underlying mechanisms of forest fragmentation affecting plant-pollinator interactions in such landscapes. Here, we used a network approach to describe the effects of forest fragmentation on the patterns of interactions involving the understory dominant palm Astrocaryum mexicanum (Arecaceae) and its floral visitors (including both effective and non-effective pollinators) at the individual level in a Mexican tropical rainforest landscape. Specifically, we asked: (i) Does fragment size affect the structure of individual-based plant-pollinator networks? (ii) Does the core of highly interacting visitor species change along the fragmentation size gradient? (iii) Does forest fragment size influence the abundance of effective pollinators of A. mexicanum? We found that fragment size did not affect the topological structure of the individual-based palm-pollinator network. Furthermore, while the composition of peripheral non-effective pollinators changed depending on fragment size, effective core generalist species of pollinators remained stable. We also observed that both abundance and variance of effective pollinators of male and female flowers of A. mexicanum increased with forest fragment size. These findings indicate that the presence of effective pollinators in the core of all forest fragments could keep the network structure stable along the gradient of forest fragmentation. In addition, pollination of A. mexicanum could be more effective in larger fragments, since the greater abundance of pollinators in these fragments may increase the amount of pollen and diversity of pollen donors between flowers of individual plants. Given the prevalence of fragmentation in tropical ecosystems, our results indicate that the current patterns of land use will have consequences on the underlying mechanisms of pollination in remnant forests

  9. Tropical forest fragmentation affects floral visitors but not the structure of individual-based palm-pollinator networks.

    PubMed

    Dáttilo, Wesley; Aguirre, Armando; Quesada, Mauricio; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-01-01

    Despite increasing knowledge about the effects of habitat loss on pollinators in natural landscapes, information is very limited regarding the underlying mechanisms of forest fragmentation affecting plant-pollinator interactions in such landscapes. Here, we used a network approach to describe the effects of forest fragmentation on the patterns of interactions involving the understory dominant palm Astrocaryum mexicanum (Arecaceae) and its floral visitors (including both effective and non-effective pollinators) at the individual level in a Mexican tropical rainforest landscape. Specifically, we asked: (i) Does fragment size affect the structure of individual-based plant-pollinator networks? (ii) Does the core of highly interacting visitor species change along the fragmentation size gradient? (iii) Does forest fragment size influence the abundance of effective pollinators of A. mexicanum? We found that fragment size did not affect the topological structure of the individual-based palm-pollinator network. Furthermore, while the composition of peripheral non-effective pollinators changed depending on fragment size, effective core generalist species of pollinators remained stable. We also observed that both abundance and variance of effective pollinators of male and female flowers of A. mexicanum increased with forest fragment size. These findings indicate that the presence of effective pollinators in the core of all forest fragments could keep the network structure stable along the gradient of forest fragmentation. In addition, pollination of A. mexicanum could be more effective in larger fragments, since the greater abundance of pollinators in these fragments may increase the amount of pollen and diversity of pollen donors between flowers of individual plants. Given the prevalence of fragmentation in tropical ecosystems, our results indicate that the current patterns of land use will have consequences on the underlying mechanisms of pollination in remnant forests

  10. Reproductive isolation and pollination success of rewarding Galearis diantha and non-rewarding Ponerorchis chusua (Orchidaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Sun, Hai-Qin; Huang, Bao-Qiang; Yu, Xiao-Hong; Kou, Yong; An, De-Jun; Luo, Yi-Bo; Ge, Song

    2011-01-01

    Background and Aims Increasing evidence challenges the conventional perception that orchids are the most distinct example of floral diversification due to floral or prezygotic isolation. Regarding the relationship between co-flowering plants, rewarding and non-rewarding orchids in particular, few studies have investigated whether non-rewarding plants affect the pollination success of rewarding plants. Here, floral isolation and mutual effects between the rewarding orchid Galearis diantha and the non-rewarding orchid Ponerorchis chusua were investigated. Methods Flowering phenological traits were monitored by noting the opening and wilting dates of the chosen individual plants. The pollinator pool and pollinator behaviour were assessed from field observations. Key morphological traits of the flowers and pollinators were measured directly in the field. Pollinator limitation and interspecific compatibility were evaluated by hand-pollination experiments. Fruit set was surveyed in monospecific and heterospecific plots. Key Results The species had overlapping peak flowering periods. Pollinators of both species displayed a certain degree of constancy in visiting each species, but they also visited other flowers before landing on the focal orchids. A substantial difference in spur size between the species resulted in the deposition of pollen on different regions of the body of the shared pollinator. Hand-pollination experiments revealed that fruit set was strongly pollinator-limited in both species. No significant difference in fruit set was found between monospecific plots and heterospecific plots. Conclusions A combination of mechanical isolation and incomplete ethological isolation eliminates the possibility of pollen transfer between the species. These results do not support either the facilitation or competition hypothesis regarding the effect of nearby rewarding flowers on non-rewarding plants. The absence of a significant effect of non-rewarding P. chusua on

  11. Predominance of self-compatibility in hummingbird-pollinated plants in the Neotropics.

    PubMed

    Wolowski, Marina; Saad, Carolina Farias; Ashman, Tia-Lynn; Freitas, Leandro

    2013-01-01

    Both plant traits and plant-pollinator interactions are thought to influence plant mating systems. For hummingbird-pollinated plants, foraging strategy (territorial or traplining) is also expected to influence plant mating. We hypothesize that the traplining behavior of hermits promotes outcrossing, whereas the behavior of non-hermits favours self-incompatibility. Thus, selection is expected to maintain self-incompatibility in plants pollinated by non-hermits. We explore the incidence of self-incompatibility in Neotropical hummingbird-pollinated plants and its association with hummingbird behavior and plant traits. We conducted a literature review (56 species) and performed hand-pollination experiments in 27 hummingbird-pollinated plants in an Atlantic rainforest. We found that self-incompatibility (measured as <0.3 for the Index of Self-incompatibility [ISI]) occurred in only 33 % of the Neotropical hummingbird-pollinated plants. The interaction of hummingbird and habit type affected ISI, as did phylogenetic relationships. Specifically, herbs pollinated by non-hermits had higher ISI than woody plants pollinated by non-hermits, and herbs pollinated by both hermits and non-hermits. For the Atlantic rainforest plant guild, 30 % of the species were self-incompatible. ISI was higher in herbs than in woody species and increased with plant aggregation but was not dependent on foraging behavior, plant density, or floral display. Although hummingbirds differ in their foraging strategies, these behavioral differences seem to have only a minor influence on the incidence of self-incompatibility. Phylogenetic relatedness seems to be the strongest determinant of mating system in Neotropical hummingbird-pollinated plants. PMID:23179949

  12. Predominance of self-compatibility in hummingbird-pollinated plants in the Neotropics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wolowski, Marina; Saad, Carolina Farias; Ashman, Tia-Lynn; Freitas, Leandro

    2013-01-01

    Both plant traits and plant-pollinator interactions are thought to influence plant mating systems. For hummingbird-pollinated plants, foraging strategy (territorial or traplining) is also expected to influence plant mating. We hypothesize that the traplining behavior of hermits promotes outcrossing, whereas the behavior of non-hermits favours self-incompatibility. Thus, selection is expected to maintain self-incompatibility in plants pollinated by non-hermits. We explore the incidence of self-incompatibility in Neotropical hummingbird-pollinated plants and its association with hummingbird behavior and plant traits. We conducted a literature review (56 species) and performed hand-pollination experiments in 27 hummingbird-pollinated plants in an Atlantic rainforest. We found that self-incompatibility (measured as <0.3 for the Index of Self-incompatibility [ISI]) occurred in only 33 % of the Neotropical hummingbird-pollinated plants. The interaction of hummingbird and habit type affected ISI, as did phylogenetic relationships. Specifically, herbs pollinated by non-hermits had higher ISI than woody plants pollinated by non-hermits, and herbs pollinated by both hermits and non-hermits. For the Atlantic rainforest plant guild, 30 % of the species were self-incompatible. ISI was higher in herbs than in woody species and increased with plant aggregation but was not dependent on foraging behavior, plant density, or floral display. Although hummingbirds differ in their foraging strategies, these behavioral differences seem to have only a minor influence on the incidence of self-incompatibility. Phylogenetic relatedness seems to be the strongest determinant of mating system in Neotropical hummingbird-pollinated plants.

  13. Identification of major quantitative trait loci underlying floral pollination syndrome divergence in Penstemon.

    PubMed

    Wessinger, Carolyn A; Hileman, Lena C; Rausher, Mark D

    2014-08-01

    Distinct floral pollination syndromes have emerged multiple times during the diversification of flowering plants. For example, in western North America, a hummingbird pollination syndrome has evolved more than 100 times, generally from within insect-pollinated lineages. The hummingbird syndrome is characterized by a suite of floral traits that attracts and facilitates pollen movement by hummingbirds, while at the same time discourages bee visitation. These floral traits generally include large nectar volume, red flower colour, elongated and narrow corolla tubes and reproductive organs that are exerted from the corolla. A handful of studies have examined the genetic architecture of hummingbird pollination syndrome evolution. These studies find that mutations of relatively large effect often explain increased nectar volume and transition to red flower colour. In addition, they suggest that adaptive suites of floral traits may often exhibit a high degree of genetic linkage, which could facilitate their fixation during pollination syndrome evolution. Here, we explore these emerging generalities by investigating the genetic basis of floral pollination syndrome divergence between two related Penstemon species with different pollination syndromes--bee-pollinated P. neomexicanus and closely related hummingbird-pollinated P. barbatus. In an F2 mapping population derived from a cross between these two species, we characterized the effect size of genetic loci underlying floral trait divergence associated with the transition to bird pollination, as well as correlation structure of floral trait variation. We find the effect sizes of quantitative trait loci for adaptive floral traits are in line with patterns observed in previous studies, and find strong evidence that suites of floral traits are genetically linked. This linkage may be due to genetic proximity or pleiotropic effects of single causative loci. Interestingly, our data suggest that the evolution of floral traits

  14. Pollination system and the effect of inflorescence size on fruit set in the deceptive orchid Cephalanthera falcata.

    PubMed

    Suetsugu, Kenji; Naito, Risa S; Fukushima, Shigeki; Kawakita, Atsushi; Kato, Makoto

    2015-07-01

    Larger inflorescences in reward-producing plants can benefit plants by increasing both pollinator attraction and the duration of visits by individual pollinators. However, ultimately, inflorescence size is determined by the balance between the benefits of large inflorescences and the increased cost of geitonogamy. At present, little is known about the relationship between inflorescence size and fecundity in deceptive plants. Given that pollinators are likely to leave inflorescences lacking rewards quickly, it seems unlikely that longer pollinator visits and the risk of geitonogamy would be strong selective pressures in these species, which indicates that pollinator attraction might be the most important factor influencing their inflorescence size. Here we examined the pollination ecology of the deceptive orchid Cephalanthera falcata in order to clarify the effects of inflorescence size on the fruit set of this non-rewarding species. Field observations of the floral visitors showed that C. falcata is pollinated by the andrenid bee Andrena aburana, whilst pollination experiments demonstrated that this orchid species is neither autogamous nor apogamous, but is strongly pollinator dependent. Three consecutive years of field observations revealed that fruit set was positively correlated with the number of flowers per inflorescence. These results provide strong evidence that the nectarless orchid C. falcata benefits from producing larger inflorescences that attract a greater number of innate pollinators. Large inflorescences may have a greater positive effect on fruit set in deceptive plants because a growing number of studies suggest that fruit set in reward-producing plants is usually unaffected by display size. PMID:25801274

  15. Synchronizing the Alfalfa Seed Production Pollinator, Megachile rotundata (F.), with Peak Bloom: Effects of Water Balance

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    An important component in the use of the alfalfa leafcutter bee, Megachile rotundata for pollination is synchronizing adult bee emergence with peak crop bloom. Previously, our research group has demonstrated that spring incubations of developing bees can be interrupted by short-term low-temperature...

  16. Nectar production in oilseeds: Food for pollinators in an agriculture dominated landscape

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Simplified agroecosystems have degraded habitats for beneficial insects throughout the Midwest and Northern Great Plains of the USA. Beneficial insects include pollinators and natural enemies of crop pests, and both rely heavily on floral resources and habitat diversity to maintain healthy populatio...

  17. Nectar secretion dynamic links pollinator behavior to consequences for plant reproductive success in the ornithophilous mistletoe Psittacanthus robustus.

    PubMed

    Guerra, T J; Galetto, L; Silva, W R

    2014-09-01

    The mistletoe Psittacanthus robustus was studied as a model to link flower phenology and nectar secretion strategy to pollinator behaviour and the reproductive consequences for the plant. The bright-coloured flowers presented diurnal anthesis, opened asynchronously throughout the rainy season and produced copious dilute nectar as the main reward for pollinators. Most nectar was secreted just after flower opening, with little sugar replenishment after experimental removals. During the second day of anthesis in bagged flowers, the flowers quickly reabsorbed the offered nectar. Low values of nectar standing crop recorded in open flowers can be linked with high visitation rates by bird pollinators. Eight hummingbirds and two passerines were observed as potential pollinators. The most frequent flower visitors were the hummingbirds Eupetomena macroura and Colibri serrirostris, which actively defended flowering mistletoes. The spatial separation between anthers, stigma and nectar chamber promotes pollen deposition on flapping wings of hovering hummingbirds that usually probe many flowers per visit. Seed set did not differ between hand-, self- and cross-pollinated flowers, but these treatments set significantly more seeds than flowers naturally exposed to flower visitors. We suggest that the limitation observed in the reproductive success of this plant is not related to pollinator scarcity, but probably to the extreme frequency of visitation by territorial hummingbirds. We conclude that the costs and benefits of plant reproduction depend on the interaction strength between flowers and pollinators, and the assessment of nectar secretion dynamics, pollinator behaviour and plant breeding system allows clarification of the complexity of such associations. PMID:24641568

  18. Pollinator preference and the evolution of floral traits in monkeyflowers (Mimulus).

    PubMed

    Schemske, D W; Bradshaw, H D

    1999-10-12

    A paradigm of evolutionary biology is that adaptation and reproductive isolation are caused by a nearly infinite number of mutations of individually small effect. Here, we test this hypothesis by investigating the genetic basis of pollinator discrimination in two closely related species of monkeyflowers that differ in their major pollinators. This system provides a unique opportunity to investigate the genetic architecture of adaptation and speciation because floral traits that confer pollinator specificity also contribute to premating reproductive isolation. We asked: (i) What floral traits cause pollinator discrimination among plant species? and (ii) What is the genetic basis of these traits? We examined these questions by using data obtained from a large-scale field experiment where genetic markers were employed to determine the genetic basis of pollinator visitation. Observations of F2 hybrids produced by crossing bee-pollinated Mimulus lewisii with hummingbird-pollinated Mimulus cardinalis revealed that bees preferred large flowers low in anthocyanin and carotenoid pigments, whereas hummingbirds favored nectar-rich flowers high in anthocyanins. An allele that increases petal carotenoid concentration reduced bee visitation by 80%, whereas an allele that increases nectar production doubled hummingbird visitation. These results suggest that genes of large effect on pollinator preference have contributed to floral evolution and premating reproductive isolation in these monkeyflowers. This work contributes to growing evidence that adaptation and reproductive isolation may often involve major genes. PMID:10518550

  19. Biofuels from crop residue can reduce soil carbon and increase CO2 emissions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liska, Adam J.; Yang, Haishun; Milner, Maribeth; Goddard, Steve; Blanco-Canqui, Humberto; Pelton, Matthew P.; Fang, Xiao X.; Zhu, Haitao; Suyker, Andrew E.

    2014-05-01

    Removal of corn residue for biofuels can decrease soil organic carbon (SOC; refs , ) and increase CO2 emissions because residue C in biofuels is oxidized to CO2 at a faster rate than when added to soil. Net CO2 emissions from residue removal are not adequately characterized in biofuel life cycle assessment (LCA; refs , , ). Here we used a model to estimate CO2 emissions from corn residue removal across the US Corn Belt at 580 million geospatial cells. To test the SOC model, we compared estimated daily CO2 emissions from corn residue and soil with CO2 emissions measured using eddy covariance, with 12% average error over nine years. The model estimated residue removal of 6 Mg per ha-1 yr-1 over five to ten years could decrease regional net SOC by an average of 0.47-0.66 Mg C ha-1 yr-1. These emissions add an average of 50-70 g CO2 per megajoule of biofuel (range 30-90) and are insensitive to the fraction of residue removed. Unless lost C is replaced, life cycle emissions will probably exceed the US legislative mandate of 60% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared with gasoline.

  20. New frontiers in competition for pollination

    PubMed Central

    Mitchell, Randall J.; Flanagan, Rebecca J.; Brown, Beverly J.; Waser, Nickolas M.; Karron, Jeffrey D.

    2009-01-01

    Background Co-flowering plant species frequently share pollinators. Pollinator sharing is often detrimental to one or more of these species, leading to competition for pollination. Perhaps because it offers an intriguing juxtaposition of ecological opposites – mutualism and competition – within one relatively tractable system, competition for pollination has captured the interest of ecologists for over a century. Scope Our intent is to contemplate exciting areas for further work on competition for pollination, rather than to exhaustively review past studies. After a brief historical summary, we present a conceptual framework that incorporates many aspects of competition for pollination, involving both the quantity and quality of pollination services, and both female and male sex functions of flowers. Using this framework, we contemplate a relatively subtle mechanism of competition involving pollen loss, and consider how competition might affect plant mating systems, overall reproductive success and multi-species interactions. We next consider how competition for pollination might be altered by several emerging consequences of a changing planet, including the spread of alien species, climate change and pollinator declines. Most of these topics represent new frontiers whose exploration has just begun. Conclusions Competition for pollination has served as a model for the integration of ecological and evolutionary perspectives in the study of species interactions. Its study has elucidated both obvious and more subtle mechanisms, and has documented a range of outcomes. However, the potential for this interaction to inform our understanding of both pure and applied aspects of pollination biology has only begun to be realized. PMID:19304814

  1. A review of brood-site pollination mutualism: plants providing breeding sites for their pollinators.

    PubMed

    Sakai, Shoko

    2002-06-01

    In this paper, I review pollination systems in which plants provide breeding sites as a reward for pollination. I divide the pollinators into three groups based upon ovipositing sites and the larval food of insects. The first group consists of ovule parasites found in only five plant lineages, e.g., the fig wasps and yucca moths, pollination systems in which pollinator specificity is very high. The second group is pollen parasitism, primarily by thrips (Thysanoptera), but specificity of the pollinators is low. In the third group, pollinator larvae (Coleoptera and Diptera) develop in decomposed flowers and inflorescences of plants and these adaptations evolved repeatedly via different pathways in various plant taxa. Pollinator specificity varies, and shifts in pollinators may occur between related or unrelated insects. PMID:12579365

  2. Competition with wind-pollinated plant species alters floral traits of insect-pollinated plant species

    PubMed Central

    Flacher, Floriane; Raynaud, Xavier; Hansart, Amandine; Motard, Eric; Dajoz, Isabelle

    2015-01-01

    Plant traits related to attractiveness to pollinators (e.g. flowers and nectar) can be sensitive to abiotic or biotic conditions. Soil nutrient availability, as well as interactions among insect-pollinated plants species, can induce changes in flower and nectar production. However, further investigations are needed to determine the impact of interactions between insect-pollinated species and abiotically pollinated species on such floral traits, especially floral rewards. We carried out a pot experiment in which three insect-pollinated plant species were grown in binary mixtures with four wind-pollinated plant species, differing in their competitive ability. Along the flowering period, we measured floral traits of the insect-pollinated species involved in attractiveness to pollinators (i.e. floral display size, flower size, daily and total 1) flower production, 2) nectar volume, 3) amount of sucrose allocated to nectar). Final plant biomass was measured to quantify competitive interactions. For two out of three insect-pollinated species, we found that the presence of a wind-pollinated species can negatively impact floral traits involved in attractiveness to pollinators. This effect was stronger with wind-pollinated species that induced stronger competitive interactions. These results stress the importance of studying the whole plant community (and not just the insect-pollinated plant community) when working on plant-pollinator interactions. PMID:26335409

  3. Exploiting Co-Benefits of Increased Rice Production and Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emission through Optimized Crop and Soil Management.

    PubMed

    An, Ning; Fan, Mingsheng; Zhang, Fusuo; Christie, Peter; Yang, Jianchang; Huang, Jianliang; Guo, Shiwei; Shi, Xiaojun; Tang, Qiyuan; Peng, Jianwei; Zhong, Xuhua; Sun, Yixiang; Lv, Shihua; Jiang, Rongfeng; Dobermann, Achim

    2015-01-01

    Meeting the future food security challenge without further sacrificing environmental integrity requires transformative changes in managing the key biophysical determinants of increasing agronomic productivity and reducing the environmental footprint. Here, we focus on Chinese rice production and quantitatively address this concern by conducting 403 on-farm trials across diverse rice farming systems. Inherent soil productivity, management practices and rice farming type resulted in confounded and interactive effects on yield, yield gaps and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (N2O, CH4 and CO2-equivalent) with both trade-offs and compensating effects. Advances in nitrogen, water and crop management (Best Management Practices-BMPs) helped closing existing yield gaps and resulted in a substantial reduction in CO2-equivalent emission of rice farming despite a tradeoff of increase N2O emission. However, inherent soil properties limited rice yields to a larger extent than previously known. Cultivating inherently better soil also led to lower GHG intensity (GHG emissions per unit yield). Neither adopting BMPs only nor improving soils with low or moderate productivity alone can adequately address the challenge of substantially increasing rice production while reducing the environmental footprint. A combination of both represents the most efficient strategy to harness the combined-benefits of enhanced production and mitigating climate change. Extrapolating from our farm data, this strategy could increase rice production in China by 18%, which would meet the demand for direct human consumption of rice by 2030. It would also reduce fertilizer nitrogen consumption by 22% and decrease CO2-equivalent emissions during the rice growing period by 7% compared with current farming practice continues. Benefits vary by rice-based cropping systems. Single rice systems have the largest food provision benefits due to its wider yield gap and total cultivated area, whereas double-rice system

  4. Exploiting Co-Benefits of Increased Rice Production and Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emission through Optimized Crop and Soil Management

    PubMed Central

    An, Ning; Fan, Mingsheng; Zhang, Fusuo; Christie, Peter; Yang, Jianchang; Huang, Jianliang; Guo, Shiwei; Shi, Xiaojun; Tang, Qiyuan; Peng, Jianwei; Zhong, Xuhua; Sun, Yixiang; Lv, Shihua; Jiang, Rongfeng; Dobermann, Achim

    2015-01-01

    Meeting the future food security challenge without further sacrificing environmental integrity requires transformative changes in managing the key biophysical determinants of increasing agronomic productivity and reducing the environmental footprint. Here, we focus on Chinese rice production and quantitatively address this concern by conducting 403 on-farm trials across diverse rice farming systems. Inherent soil productivity, management practices and rice farming type resulted in confounded and interactive effects on yield, yield gaps and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (N2O, CH4 and CO2-equivalent) with both trade-offs and compensating effects. Advances in nitrogen, water and crop management (Best Management Practices—BMPs) helped closing existing yield gaps and resulted in a substantial reduction in CO2-equivalent emission of rice farming despite a tradeoff of increase N2O emission. However, inherent soil properties limited rice yields to a larger extent than previously known. Cultivating inherently better soil also led to lower GHG intensity (GHG emissions per unit yield). Neither adopting BMPs only nor improving soils with low or moderate productivity alone can adequately address the challenge of substantially increasing rice production while reducing the environmental footprint. A combination of both represents the most efficient strategy to harness the combined-benefits of enhanced production and mitigating climate change. Extrapolating from our farm data, this strategy could increase rice production in China by 18%, which would meet the demand for direct human consumption of rice by 2030. It would also reduce fertilizer nitrogen consumption by 22% and decrease CO2-equivalent emissions during the rice growing period by 7% compared with current farming practice continues. Benefits vary by rice-based cropping systems. Single rice systems have the largest food provision benefits due to its wider yield gap and total cultivated area, whereas double-rice system

  5. Distance-dependent pollen limitation of seed set in some insect-pollinated dioecious plants

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Jong, Tom J.; Batenburg, Judith C.; Klinkhamer, Peter G. L.

    2005-11-01

    By applying hand pollination, we studied pollen limitation of seed set of female plants in four dioecious plant species with insect-pollination. The effect of hand pollination increased with distance to the nearest male plant. Distances at which seed set was 50% of its maximal value (after hand pollination) were: 2.3 m for Valeriana dioica, 5.3 m for Salix repens, 8.5 m for Asparagus officinale and 10.6 m for Bryonia dioica. We discuss to what extent the reduced seed set was caused by either fewer visits or by visits of a lower quality. We argue that quantifying distance-dependent seed set in dioecious plants may be a good way of studying effects of habitat fragmentation on the breakdown of mutualistic pollination systems.

  6. Olfaction in context-sources of nuance in plant-pollinator communication.

    PubMed

    Rusch, Claire; Broadhead, Geoffrey T; Raguso, Robert A; Riffell, Jeffrey A

    2016-06-01

    Floral scents act as long-distance signals to attract pollinators, but volatiles emitted from the vegetation and neighboring plant community may modify this mutualistic communication system. What impact does the olfactory background have on pollination systems and their evolution? We consider recent behavioral studies that address the context of when and where volatile backgrounds influence a pollinator's perception of floral blends. In parallel, we review neurophysiological studies that show the importance of blend composition and background in modifying the representation of floral blends in the pollinator brain, as well as experience-dependent plasticity in increasing the representation of a rewarding odor. Here, we suggest that the efficacy of the floral blend in different environments may be an important selective force shaping differences in pollinator olfactory receptor expression and underlying neural mechanisms that mediate flower visitation and plant reproductive isolation. PMID:27436732

  7. Meta-analysis of pollen limitation reveals the relevance of pollination generalization in the Atlantic forest of Brazil.

    PubMed

    Wolowski, Marina; Ashman, Tia-Lynn; Freitas, Leandro

    2014-01-01

    Despite the extensive knowledge of pollen limitation in angiosperms, its assessment within tropical forests is still limited. Especially lacking are large scale comparisons of species within this biome - one that is highly diverse but also becoming increasingly threatened. In fact, many tropical plant species depend upon pollinators for reproduction but evaluation of the impact of this dependence via different levels of pollination specialization has yet to be made at the biome scale. We assessed the occurrence and magnitude of pollen limitation for species in the Brazilian Atlantic forest and tested the association of pollination specialization, breeding system, and life habit with pollination efficiency. We compiled data from studies published between 1985 and 2012. We calculated species' effect size (d) from data on fruit set after hand cross-pollination and natural pollination and conducted standard and phylogenetically independent meta-analysis. Overall pollen limitation was moderate, with magnitude of 0.50, and 95% confidence interval [0.37, 0.62] for 126 species. Pollen limitation was observed in 39% of species. Pollination specialization was the factor that best explained the occurrence of pollen limitation. Specifically, phenotypic and ecological specialists (plants with zygomorphic flowers and pollinated by one species of pollinator, respectively) had higher pollen limitation than generalist plants (actinomorphic flowers and pollination by two or more species). Functional generalists (plants pollinated by three or more functional groups) were not pollen limited. On the other hand, breeding system and life habit were not associated to pollen limitation. Pollen limitation was observed in the Atlantic forest and its magnitude was comparable to that for angiosperms as a whole. The finding that pollination specialization was the strongest predictor of pollen limitation suggests that specialist plants in this biome may be most prone to the reproductive failure

  8. Novel adaptation to hawkmoth pollinators in Clarkia reduces efficiency, not attraction of diurnal visitors

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Timothy J.; Raguso, Robert A.; Kay, Kathleen M.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Plant populations experiencing divergent pollination environments may be under selection to modify floral traits in ways that increase both attractiveness to and efficiency of novel pollinators. These changes may come at the cost of reducing overall effectiveness of other pollinators. The goal of this study was to examine differences in attractiveness and efficiency between Clarkia concinna and C. breweri, sister species of annual plants with parapatric distributions. Methods An assessment was made as to whether observed differences in visitors between natural populations are driven by differences in floral traits or differences in the local pollination environment. Differences in floral attractiveness were quantified by setting out arrays of both species in the geographical range of each species and exposing both species to nocturnal hawkmoths (Hyles lineata) in flight cages. Differences in visitor efficiency were estimated by measuring stigma–visitor contact frequency and pollen loads for diurnal visitors, and pollen deposition on stigmas for hawkmoths. Key Results The composition of visitors to arrayed plants was similar between plant species at any particular site, but highly divergent among sites, and reflected differences in visitors to natural populations. Diurnal insects visited both species, but were more common at C. concinna populations. Hummingbirds and hawkmoths were only observed visiting within the range of C. breweri. Despite attracting similar species when artificially presented together, C. concinna and C. breweri showed large differences in pollinator efficiency. All visitors except hawkmoths pollinated C. concinna more efficiently. Conclusions Differences in the available pollinator community may play a larger role than differences in floral traits in determining visitors to natural populations of C. concinna and C. breweri. However, floral traits mediate differences in pollinator efficiency. Increased effectiveness of the

  9. Invasive species management restores a plant-pollinator mutualism in Hawaii

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hanna, Cause; Foote, David; Kremen, Claire

    2013-01-01

    1.The management and removal of invasive species may give rise to unanticipated changes in plant–pollinator mutualisms because they can alter the composition and functioning of plant–pollinator interactions in a variety of ways. To utilize a functional approach for invasive species management, we examined the restoration of plant–pollinator mutualisms following the large-scale removal of an invasive nectar thief and arthropod predator, Vespula pensylvanica. 2.We reduced V. pensylvanica populations in large plots managed over multiple years to examine the response of plant–pollinator mutualisms and the fruit production of a functionally important endemic Hawaiian tree species, Metrosideros polymorpha. To integrate knowledge of the invader's behaviour and the plant's mating system, we determined the efficacy of V. pensylvanica as a pollinator of M. polymorpha and quantified the dependence of M. polymorpha on animal pollination (e.g. level of self-compatibility and pollen limitation). 3.The reduction of V. pensylvanica in managed sites, when compared to unmanaged sites, resulted in a significant increase in the visitation rates of effective bee pollinators (e.g. introduced Apis mellifera and native Hylaeus spp.) and in the fruit production of M. polymorpha. 4.Apis mellifera, following the management of V. pensylvanica, appears to be acting as a substitute pollinator for M. polymorpha, replacing extinct or threatened bird and bee species in our study system. 5.Synthesis and applications. Fruit production of the native M. polymorpha was increased after management of the invasive pollinator predator V. pensylvanica; however, the main pollinators were no longer native but introduced. This research thus demonstrates the diverse impacts of introduced species on ecological function and the ambiguous role they play in restoration. We recommend incorporating ecological function and context into invasive species management as this approach may enable conservation

  10. A photorespiratory bypass increases plant growth and seed yield in biofuel crop Camelina sativa

    SciTech Connect

    Dalal, Jyoti; Lopez, Harry; Vasani, Naresh B.; Hu, Zhaohui; Swift, Jennifer E.; Yalamanchili, Roopa; Dvora, Mia; Lin, Xiuli; Xie, Deyu; Qu, Rongda; Sederoff, Heike W.

    2015-10-29

    Camelina sativa is an oilseed crop with great potential for biofuel production on marginal land. The seed oil from camelina has been converted to jet fuel and improved fuel efficiency in commercial and military test flights. Hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel from camelina is environmentally superior to that from canola due to lower agricultural inputs, and the seed meal is FDA approved for animal consumption. However, relatively low yield makes its farming less profitable. Our study is aimed at increasing camelina seed yield by reducing carbon loss from photorespiration via a photorespiratory bypass. Genes encoding three enzymes of the Escherichia coli glycolate catabolic pathway were introduced: glycolate dehydrogenase (GDH), glyoxylate carboxyligase (GCL) and tartronic semialdehyde reductase (TSR). These enzymes compete for the photorespiratory substrate, glycolate, convert it to glycerate within the chloroplasts, and reduce photorespiration. As a by-product of the reaction, CO2 is released in the chloroplast, which increases photosynthesis. Camelina plants were transformed with either partial bypass (GDH), or full bypass (GDH, GCL and TSR) genes. Furthermore, transgenic plants were evaluated for physiological and metabolic traits.

  11. Predicting plant attractiveness to pollinators with passive crowdsourcing

    PubMed Central

    Bahlai, Christie A.; Landis, Douglas A.

    2016-01-01

    observations were not associated with Internet images, but were slightly associated with BP. Our results suggest that passively crowdsourced image data can potentially be a useful screening tool to identify candidate plants for pollinator habitat restoration efforts directed at wild bee conservation. Increasing our understanding of the attractiveness of a greater diversity of plants increases the potential for more rapid and efficient research in creating pollinator-supportive landscapes. PMID:27429762

  12. Predicting plant attractiveness to pollinators with passive crowdsourcing.

    PubMed

    Bahlai, Christie A; Landis, Douglas A

    2016-06-01

    observations were not associated with Internet images, but were slightly associated with BP. Our results suggest that passively crowdsourced image data can potentially be a useful screening tool to identify candidate plants for pollinator habitat restoration efforts directed at wild bee conservation. Increasing our understanding of the attractiveness of a greater diversity of plants increases the potential for more rapid and efficient research in creating pollinator-supportive landscapes. PMID:27429762

  13. Virus Infection of Plants Alters Pollinator Preference: A Payback for Susceptible Hosts?

    PubMed Central

    Davey, Matthew P.; Bruce, Toby J. A.; Caulfield, John C.; Furzer, Oliver J.; Reed, Alison; Robinson, Sophie I.; Miller, Elizabeth; Davis, Christopher N.; Pickett, John A.; Whitney, Heather M.; Glover, Beverley J.; Carr, John P.

    2016-01-01

    Plant volatiles play important roles in attraction of certain pollinators and in host location by herbivorous insects. Virus infection induces changes in plant volatile emission profiles, and this can make plants more attractive to insect herbivores, such as aphids, that act as viral vectors. However, it is unknown if virus-induced alterations in volatile production affect plant-pollinator interactions. We found that volatiles emitted by cucumber mosaic virus (CMV)-infected tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and Arabidopsis thaliana plants altered the foraging behaviour of bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). Virus-induced quantitative and qualitative changes in blends of volatile organic compounds emitted by tomato plants were identified by gas chromatography-coupled mass spectrometry. Experiments with a CMV mutant unable to express the 2b RNA silencing suppressor protein and with Arabidopsis silencing mutants implicate microRNAs in regulating emission of pollinator-perceivable volatiles. In tomato, CMV infection made plants emit volatiles attractive to bumblebees. Bumblebees pollinate tomato by ‘buzzing’ (sonicating) the flowers, which releases pollen and enhances self-fertilization and seed production as well as pollen export. Without buzz-pollination, CMV infection decreased seed yield, but when flowers of mock-inoculated and CMV-infected plants were buzz-pollinated, the increased seed yield for CMV-infected plants was similar to that for mock-inoculated plants. Increased pollinator preference can potentially increase plant reproductive success in two ways: i) as female parents, by increasing the probability that ovules are fertilized; ii) as male parents, by increasing pollen export. Mathematical modeling suggested that over a wide range of conditions in the wild, these increases to the number of offspring of infected susceptible plants resulting from increased pollinator preference could outweigh underlying strong selection pressures favoring pathogen resistance

  14. Virus Infection of Plants Alters Pollinator Preference: A Payback for Susceptible Hosts?

    PubMed

    Groen, Simon C; Jiang, Sanjie; Murphy, Alex M; Cunniffe, Nik J; Westwood, Jack H; Davey, Matthew P; Bruce, Toby J A; Caulfield, John C; Furzer, Oliver J; Reed, Alison; Robinson, Sophie I; Miller, Elizabeth; Davis, Christopher N; Pickett, John A; Whitney, Heather M; Glover, Beverley J; Carr, John P

    2016-08-01

    Plant volatiles play important roles in attraction of certain pollinators and in host location by herbivorous insects. Virus infection induces changes in plant volatile emission profiles, and this can make plants more attractive to insect herbivores, such as aphids, that act as viral vectors. However, it is unknown if virus-induced alterations in volatile production affect plant-pollinator interactions. We found that volatiles emitted by cucumber mosaic virus (CMV)-infected tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and Arabidopsis thaliana plants altered the foraging behaviour of bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). Virus-induced quantitative and qualitative changes in blends of volatile organic compounds emitted by tomato plants were identified by gas chromatography-coupled mass spectrometry. Experiments with a CMV mutant unable to express the 2b RNA silencing suppressor protein and with Arabidopsis silencing mutants implicate microRNAs in regulating emission of pollinator-perceivable volatiles. In tomato, CMV infection made plants emit volatiles attractive to bumblebees. Bumblebees pollinate tomato by 'buzzing' (sonicating) the flowers, which releases pollen and enhances self-fertilization and seed production as well as pollen export. Without buzz-pollination, CMV infection decreased seed yield, but when flowers of mock-inoculated and CMV-infected plants were buzz-pollinated, the increased seed yield for CMV-infected plants was similar to that for mock-inoculated plants. Increased pollinator preference can potentially increase plant reproductive success in two ways: i) as female parents, by increasing the probability that ovules are fertilized; ii) as male parents, by increasing pollen export. Mathematical modeling suggested that over a wide range of conditions in the wild, these increases to the number of offspring of infected susceptible plants resulting from increased pollinator preference could outweigh underlying strong selection pressures favoring pathogen resistance

  15. Tolerance of pollination networks to species extinctions.

    PubMed Central

    Memmott, Jane; Waser, Nickolas M.; Price, Mary V.

    2004-01-01

    Mutually beneficial interactions between flowering plants and animal pollinators represent a critical 'ecosystem service' under threat of anthropogenic extinction. We explored probable patterns of extinction in two large networks of plants and flower visitors by simulating the removal of pollinators and consequent loss of the plants that depend upon them for reproduction. For each network, we removed pollinators at random, systematically from least-linked (most specialized) to most-linked (most generalized), and systematically from most- to least-linked. Plant species diversity declined most rapidly with preferential removal of the most-linked pollinators, but declines were no worse than linear. This relative tolerance to extinction derives from redundancy in pollinators per plant and from nested topology of the networks. Tolerance in pollination networks contrasts with catastrophic declines reported from standard food webs. The discrepancy may be a result of the method used: previous studies removed species from multiple trophic levels based only on their linkage, whereas our preferential removal of pollinators reflects their greater risk of extinction relative to that of plants. In both pollination networks, the most-linked pollinators were bumble-bees and some solitary bees. These animals should receive special attention in efforts to conserve temperate pollination systems. PMID:15615687

  16. An altitudinal cline in UV floral pattern corresponds with a behavioral change of a generalist pollinator assemblage.

    PubMed

    Koski, Matthew H; Ashman, Tia-Lynn

    2015-12-01

    Spatial variation in pollinator communities or behaviors can underlie floral diversification. Floral traits in the UV spectrum are common and mediate plant-pollinator interactions, but the role of pollinators in driving or maintaining their geographic variation has not been fully explored. We identify an altitudinal cline of increasing relative size of the UV bullseye pattern in Argentina anserina (Rosaceae) flowers, and assess whether pollination context contributes to clinal variation. At four sites that varied in altitude, we document the pollinator assemblage, and pollinator preference and visitation behavior. We then determine how pollinator visits affected pollen receipt and export. Finally, we describe how the functional relationship between UV floral phenotype and pollen receipt changed with altitude. Floral UV bullseye size increased with altitude, which corresponded with a change from a hymenopteran- to a dipteran-dominated pollinator assemblage. While dipteran and hymenopteran preferences for bullseye size were similar, flowers with large bullseyes received more foraging visits than those with small bullseyes at higher altitude. The reverse was observed at the lower altitudes; pollinators approached large-bullseye flowers often but rarely foraged. These differences are expected to affect fitness because foraging visits increased pollen export and receipt. Indeed, when natural variation in bullseye size was considered, it had a stronger effect on pollen receipt than other traits (flower size, display, or color). Plants with larger bullseyes tended to receive more pollen at the highest-altitude site, while those with smaller ones received more pollen at the lowest-altitude site. Results suggest that altitudinal changes in preference and behavior of the overall pollinator assemblage, but not differential preferences of pollinator taxonomic groups, could contribute to clinal variation in a UV floral trait for a generalist-pollinated plant. PMID:26909439

  17. Dramatic reduction of crop-to-crop gene flow within a short distance from transgenic rice fields.

    PubMed

    Rong, Jun; Lu, Bao-Rong; Song, Zhiping; Su, Jun; Snow, Allison A; Zhang, Xinsheng; Sun, Shuguang; Chen, Rui; Wang, Feng

    2007-01-01

    Genetically modified (GM) rice with enhanced agronomic traits and pharmaceutical uses are ready for widespread adoption. Little is known about isolation requirements for achieving stringent transgene confinement in rice. To investigate the extent of pollen-mediated crop-to-crop transgene flow, we conducted a field experiment with four plot-size treatments of adjacent GM and nonGM rice (Oryza sativa) in China. Three insect-resistant GM rice (Bt/CpTI) and nonGM isogenic lines were used in the study. The hygromycin-resistance transgene (hpt) marker was used to screen seeds from the nonGM rice rows at different distance intervals from GM rice plots. Based on the examination of > 2.1 million germinated seeds, we found a dramatic reduction in transgene frequencies with increasing distance from the GM crop, ranging from c. 0.28% at 0.2 m to < 0.01% at 6.2 m. In addition, different plot size did not significantly affect the frequencies of gene flow. In conclusion, pollen-mediated crop-to-crop transgene flow in rice can be maintained at negligible levels with short spatial isolation. The model can also be applied to other crops with self- and wind-pollination. PMID:17204081

  18. Pollinator limitation and the effect of breeding systems on plant reproduction in forest fragments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nayak, K. Geetha; Davidar, Priya

    2010-03-01

    Reproduction of plants in fragmented habitats may be limited because of lower diversity or abundance of pollinators, and/or variation in local plant density. We assessed natural fruit set and pollinator limitation in ten species of woody plants in natural and restored fragments in the Pondicherry region of southern India, to see whether breeding system of plants (self-compatible and self-incompatible) affected fruit set. We tested whether the number of flowering individuals in the fragments affected the fruit set and further examined the adult and sapling densities of self-compatible (SC) and self-incompatible (SI) species. We measured the natural level of fruit set and pollinator limitation (calculated as the difference in fruit set between hand cross-pollinated and naturally pollinated flowers). Our results demonstrate that there was a higher level of pollinator limitation and hence lower levels of natural fruit set in self-incompatible species as compared to self-compatible species. However, the hand cross-pollinated flowers in SC and SI species produced similar levels of fruit set, further indicating that lower fruit set was due to pollinator limitation and not due to lack of cross-compatible individuals in the fragments. There was no significant relation between number of flowering individuals and the levels of natural fruit set, except for two species Derris ovalifolia, Ixora pavetta. In these species the natural fruit set decreased with increasing population size, again indicating pollinator limitation. The adult and sapling densities in self-compatible species were significantly higher than in self-incompatible species. These findings indicate that the low reproductive output in self-incompatible species may eventually lead to lower population sizes. Restoration of pollinator services along with plant species in fragmented habitats is important for the long-term conservation of biodiversity.

  19. Multilevel Spatial Structure Impacts on the Pollination Services of Comarum palustre (Rosaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Somme, Laurent; Mayer, Carolin; Jacquemart, Anne-Laure

    2014-01-01

    Habitat destruction and fragmentation accelerate pollinator decline, consequently disrupting ecosystem processes such as pollination. To date, the impacts of multilevel spatial structure on pollination services have rarely been addressed. We focused on the effects of population spatial structure on the pollination services of Comarum palustre at three levels (i.e. within-population, between-populations and landscape). For three years, we investigated 14 Belgian populations, which differed in their within-population flower density, population surface, closure (i.e. proportion of the population edge that consisted of woody elements) and isolation (i.e. percentage of woody area cover within a 500 m radius from the population centre). We tested whether these spatial characteristics impact on pollinator abundance and visitation rate and thus, reproductive success of C. palustre. Insects were observed in 15 randomly-chosen plots in each population. We tested for pollen limitation with supplemental hand-cross pollination. Bumble bees and solitary bees were the major pollinators through all populations. Within populations, plots with high flower densities attracted high numbers of bumble bees and other insects. High bumble bee and solitary bee abundance was observed in populations presenting high proportions of woody edges and in populations within landscapes presenting high proportions of woody areas. Seed set resulting from open pollination varied with bumble bee and solitary bee visitation rate, leading to increased pollen limitation when pollinators were scarce. Since the reproductive success depended on the visitation rate of the main pollinators, which depended on multilevel spatial structure, wetland management plans should pay special attention to favour a mosaic of biotopes, including nesting sites and food resources for insects. This study particularly supports the relevance of a mix wetlands and woody habitats to bees. PMID:24915450

  20. Multilevel spatial structure impacts on the pollination services of Comarum palustre (Rosaceae).

    PubMed

    Somme, Laurent; Mayer, Carolin; Jacquemart, Anne-Laure

    2014-01-01

    Habitat destruction and fragmentation accelerate pollinator decline, consequently disrupting ecosystem processes such as pollination. To date, the impacts of multilevel spatial structure on pollination services have rarely been addressed. We focused on the effects of population spatial structure on the pollination services of Comarum palustre at three levels (i.e. within-population, between-populations and landscape). For three years, we investigated 14 Belgian populations, which differed in their within-population flower density, population surface, closure (i.e. proportion of the population edge that consisted of woody elements) and isolation (i.e. percentage of woody area cover within a 500 m radius from the population centre). We tested whether these spatial characteristics impact on pollinator abundance and visitation rate and thus, reproductive success of C. palustre. Insects were observed in 15 randomly-chosen plots in each population. We tested for pollen limitation with supplemental hand-cross pollination. Bumble bees and solitary bees were the major pollinators through all populations. Within populations, plots with high flower densities attracted high numbers of bumble bees and other insects. High bumble bee and solitary bee abundance was observed in populations presenting high proportions of woody edges and in populations within landscapes presenting high proportions of woody areas. Seed set resulting from open pollination varied with bumble bee and solitary bee visitation rate, leading to increased pollen limitation when pollinators were scarce. Since the reproductive success depended on the visitation rate of the main pollinators, which depended on multilevel spatial structure, wetland management plans should pay special attention to favour a mosaic of biotopes, including nesting sites and food resources for insects. This study particularly supports the relevance of a mix wetlands and woody habitats to bees. PMID:24915450

  1. Do specialized flowers promote reproductive isolation? Realized pollination accuracy of three sympatric Pedicularis species

    PubMed Central

    Armbruster, W. Scott; Shi, Xiao-Qing; Huang, Shuang-Quan

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Interest in pollinator-mediated evolutionary divergence of flower phenotype and speciation in plants has been at the core of plant evolutionary studies since Darwin. Specialized pollination is predicted to lead to reproductive isolation and promote speciation among sympatric species by promoting partitioning of (1) the species of pollinators used, (2) when pollinators are used, or (3) the sites of pollen placement. Here this last mechanism is investigated by observing the pollination accuracy of sympatric Pedicularis species (Orobanchacae). Methods Pollinator behaviour was observed on three species of Pedicularis (P. densispica, P. tricolor and P. dichotoma) in the Hengduan Mountains, south-west China. Using fluorescent powder and dyed pollen, the accuracy was assessed of stigma contact with, and pollen deposition on, pollinating bumble-bees, respectively. Key Results All three species of Pedicularis were pollinated by bumble-bees. It was found that the adaptive accuracy of female function was much higher than that of male function in all three flower species. Although peak pollen deposition corresponded to the optimal location on the pollinator (i.e. the site of stigma contact) for each species, substantial amounts of pollen were scattered over much of the bees' bodies. Conclusions The Pedicularis species studied in the eastern Himalayan region did not conform with Grant's ‘Pedicularis Model’ of mechanical reproductive isolation. The specialized flowers of this diverse group of plants seem unlikely to have increased the potential for reproductive isolation or influenced rates of speciation. It is suggested instead that the extreme species richness of the Pedicularis clade was generated in other ways and that specialized flowers and substantial pollination accuracy evolved as a response to selection generated by the diversity of co-occurring congeners. PMID:24047714

  2. Potential for increased photosynthetic performance and crop productivity in response to climate change: role of CBFs and gibberellic acid

    PubMed Central

    Hüner, Norman P. A.; Dahal, Keshav; Kurepin, Leonid V.; Savitch, Leonid; Singh, Jas; Ivanov, Alexander G.; Kane, Khalil; Sarhan, Fathey

    2014-01-01

    We propose that targeting the enhanced photosynthetic performance associated with the cold acclimation of winter cultivars of rye (Secale cereale L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and Brassica napus L. may provide a novel approach to improve crop productivity under abiotic as well as biotic stress conditions. In support of this hypothesis, we provide the physiological, biochemical, and molecular evidence that the dwarf phenotype induced by cold acclimation is coupled to significant enhancement in photosynthetic performance, resistance to photoinhibition, and a decreased dependence on photoprotection through non-photochemical quenching which result in enhanced biomass production and ultimately increased seed yield. These system-wide changes at the levels of phenotype, physiology, and biochemistry appear to be governed by the family of C-repeat/dehydration-responsive family of transcription factors (CBF/DREB1). We relate this phenomenon to the semi-dwarf, gibberellic acid insensitive (GAI), cereal varieties developed during the “green revolution” of the early 1960s and 1970s. We suggest that genetic manipulation of the family of C-repeat/dehydration-responsive element binding transcription factors (CBF/DREB1) may provide a novel approach for the maintenance and perhaps even the enhancement of plant productivity under conditions of sub-optimal growth conditions predicted for our future climate. PMID:24860799

  3. Potential for Increased Photosynthetic Performance and Crop Productivity in Response to Climate Change: role of CBFs and Gibberellic Acid

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huner, Norman; Dahal, Keshav; Kurepin, Leonid; Savitch, Leonid; Singh, Jas; Ivanov, Alexander; Kane, Khalil; Sarhan, Fathey

    2014-04-01

    We propose that targeting the dwarf phenotype, enhanced photosynthetic performance typically associated with the cold acclimation of winter cultivars of rye (Secale cereale L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and Brassica napus L. may provide a novel approach to improve crop yield and productivity under abiotic as well as biotic stress conditions. In support of this hypothesis, we provide the physiological, biochemical and molecular evidence that the dwarf phenotype induced by cold acclimation is coupled to significant enhancement in photosynthetic performance, resistance to photoinhibition and a decreased dependence on photoprotection through nonphotochemical quenching which result in enhanced biomass production and ultimately increased seed yield. These system-wide changes at the levels of phenotype, physiology and biochemistry appear to be governed by the family of C-repeat / dehydration-responsive family of transcription factors (CBF/DREB1). We relate this phenomenon to the semi-dwarf, gibberellic acid insensitive, cereal varieties developed during the “green revolution” of the early 1960s and 1970s. We suggest that genetic manipulation of the family of C-repeat / dehydration-responsive element binding transcription factors (CBF/DREB1) may provide a novel approach for the maintenance and perhaps even the enhancement of plant productivity under conditions of sub-optimal growth conditions predicted for our future climate.

  4. Potential for increased photosynthetic performance and crop productivity in response to climate change: role of CBFs and gibberellic acid.

    PubMed

    Hüner, Norman P A; Dahal, Keshav; Kurepin, Leonid V; Savitch, Leonid; Singh, Jas; Ivanov, Alexander G; Kane, Khalil; Sarhan, Fathey

    2014-01-01

    We propose that targeting the enhanced photosynthetic performance associated with the cold acclimation of winter cultivars of rye (Secale cereale L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), and Brassica napus L. may provide a novel approach to improve crop productivity under abiotic as well as biotic stress conditions. In support of this hypothesis, we provide the physiological, biochemical, and molecular evidence that the dwarf phenotype induced by cold acclimation is coupled to significant enhancement in photosynthetic performance, resistance to photoinhibition, and a decreased dependence on photoprotection through non-photochemical quenching which result in enhanced biomass production and ultimately increased seed yield. These system-wide changes at the levels of phenotype, physiology, and biochemistry appear to be governed by the family of C-repeat/dehydration-responsive family of transcription factors (CBF/DREB1). We relate this phenomenon to the semi-dwarf, gibberellic acid insensitive (GAI), cereal varieties developed during the "green revolution" of the early 1960s and 1970s. We suggest that genetic manipulation of the family of C-repeat/dehydration-responsive element binding transcription factors (CBF/DREB1) may provide a novel approach for the maintenance and perhaps even the enhancement of plant productivity under conditions of sub-optimal growth conditions predicted for our future climate. PMID:24860799

  5. Oxidative stress and antioxidant responses to increasing concentrations of trivalent chromium in the Andean crop species Chenopodium quinoa Willd.

    PubMed

    Scoccianti, Valeria; Bucchini, Anahi E; Iacobucci, Marta; Ruiz, Karina B; Biondi, Stefania

    2016-11-01

    Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd), an ancient Andean seed crop, exhibits exceptional nutritional properties and resistance to abiotic stress. The species' tolerance to heavy metals has, however, not yet been investigated nor its ability to take up and translocate chromium (Cr). This study aimed to investigate the metabolic adjustments occurring upon exposure of quinoa to several concentrations (0.01-5mM) of CrCl3. Young hydroponically grown plants were used to evaluate Cr uptake, growth, oxidative stress, and other biochemical parameters three and/or seven days after treatment. Leaves accumulated the lowest amounts of Cr, while roots and stems accumulated the most at low and at high metal concentrations, respectively. Fresh weight and photosynthetic pigments were reduced only by the higher Cr(III) doses. Substantially increased lipid peroxidation, hydrogen peroxide, and proline levels were observed only with 5mM Cr(III). Except for a significant decrease at day 7 with 5mM Cr(III), total polyphenols and flavonoids maintained control levels in Cr(III)-treated plants, whereas antioxidant activity increased in a dose-dependent manner. Maximum polyamine accumulation was observed in 1mM CrCl3-treated plants. Even though α- and γ-tocopherols also showed enhanced levels only with the 1mM concentration, tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT, EC 2.6.1.5) activity increased under Cr(III) treatment in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Taken together, results suggest that polyamines, tocopherols, and TAT activity could contribute to tolerance to 1mM Cr(III), but not to the highest concentration that, instead, generated oxidative stress. PMID:27400061

  6. Bombus huntii, Bombus impatiens, and Bombus vosnesenskii (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Pollinate Greenhouse-Grown Tomatoes in Western North America.

    PubMed

    Strange, James P

    2015-06-01

    Bumble bees (Bombus) are the primary pollinators of tomatoes grown in greenhouses and can significantly increase fruit weight compared with tomatoes that receive no supplemental pollination. More than a million colonies are sold worldwide annually to meet pollination needs. Due to mounting concerns over the transportation of bumble bees outside of their native ranges, several species native to western North American are currently being investigated as potential commercial pollinators. Here, two western, Bombus huntii Greene and Bombus vosnesenskii Radoszkowski, and one eastern species, Bombus impatiens Cresson, are compared for their efficacy as pollinators of greenhouse-grown tomatoes. In two experiments, colonies were placed in greenhouses and compared with control plants that received no supplemental pollination. In the first experiment, seed set was significantly increased with B. huntii pollination in one variety of cherry tomatoes. In the second experiment comparing all three bumble bee species, fruit weight was an average of 25.2 g heavier per fruit pollinated by bees versus the control, and the number of days to harvest was 2.9 d shorter for bee-pollinated fruit. In some rounds of pollination, differences were found among bumble bee species, but these were inconsistent across replicates and not statistically significant overall. Additionally, fruit weight was shown to be highly correlated to fruit diameter and seed set in all tests and, thus, is shown to be a reliable metric for assessing pollination in future studies. These results suggest that commercialization of western bumble bees is a viable alternative to the current practices of moving of nonnative bees into western North America to pollinate tomatoes. PMID:26470206

  7. Can pollination niches facilitate plant coexistence?

    PubMed

    Pauw, Anton

    2013-01-01

    The question of why there are so many plant species needs two kinds of answer: an explanation for the origin of plant species, and an explanation for how they can coexist. Pollinators are often implicated in the origin of plant species because adaptation to different modes of pollination can drive divergence in floral traits and bring about reproductive isolation. However, very few studies have attempted to answer the next question: 'Can plant species that differ only in their mode of pollination coexist?' Fragmentary evidence supports the idea that intraspecific competition for pollination resources can limit population growth rate, thus allowing the coexistence of species that use different pollinators, or the same pollinators at different times. PMID:22951227

  8. Pollinator deception in the orchid mantis.

    PubMed

    O'Hanlon, James C; Holwell, Gregory I; Herberstein, Marie E

    2014-01-01

    Mimicry has evolved in contexts such as camouflage, predator deterrence, luring of prey, and pollinator attraction. Mimicry of flowers has until now been demonstrated only in angiosperms, yet it has been hypothesized that the Malaysian orchid mantis Hymenopus coronatus mimics a flower to attract pollinators as prey. Despite the popularity of this charismatic insect, this long-discussed hypothesis has never been experimentally investigated. We found that, as predicted for mimicry, the color of H. coronatus is indistinguishable from the color of sympatric flowers for hymenopteran pollinators. Field experiments show that isolated mantises attract wild pollinators at a rate even higher than flowers and capture these pollinators as prey items. After more than a century of conjecture, we provide the first experimental evidence of pollinator deception in the orchid mantis and the first description of a unique predatory strategy that has not been documented in any other animal species. PMID:24334741

  9. Relative impact of mate versus pollinator availability on pollen limitation and outcrossing rates in a mass-flowering species.

    PubMed

    Delmas, C E L; Escaravage, N; Cheptou, P-O; Charrier, O; Ruzafa, S; Winterton, P; Pornon, A

    2015-01-01

    Plant mating systems are driven by several pre-pollination factors, including pollinator availability, mate availability and reproductive traits. We investigated the relative contributions of these factors to pollination and to realized outcrossing rates in the patchily distributed mass-flowering shrub Rhododendron ferrugineum. We jointly monitored pollen limitation (comparing seed set from intact and pollen-supplemented flowers), reproductive traits (herkogamy, flower size and autofertility) and mating patterns (progeny array analysis) in 28 natural patches varying in the level of pollinator availability (flower visitation rates) and of mate availability (patch floral display estimated as the total number of inflorescences per patch). Our results showed that patch floral display was the strongest determinant of pollination and of the realized outcrossing rates in this mass-flowering species. We found an increase in pollen limitation and in outcrossing rates with increasing patch floral display. Reproductive traits were not significantly related to patch floral display, while autofertility was negatively correlated to outcrossing rates. These findings suggest that mate limitation, arising from high flower visitation rates in small plant patches, resulted in low pollen limitation and high selfing rates, while pollinator limitation, arising from low flower visitation rates in large plant patches, resulted in higher pollen limitation and outcrossing rates. Pollinator-mediated selfing and geitonogamy likely alleviates pollen limitation in the case of reduced mate availability, while reduced pollinator availability (intraspecific competition for pollinator services) may result in the maintenance of high outcrossing rates despite reduced seed production. PMID:24942604

  10. Native bees and plant pollination

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ginsberg, H.S.

    2004-01-01

    Bees are important pollinators, but evidence suggests that numbers of some species are declining. Decreases have been documented in the honey bee, Apis mellifera (which was introduced to North America), but there are no monitoring programs for the vast majority of native species, so we cannot be sure about the extent of this problem. Recent efforts to develop standardized protocols for bee sampling will help us collect the data needed to assess trends in bee populations. Unfortunately, diversity of bee life cycles and phenologies, and the large number of rare species, make it difficult to assess trends in bee faunas. Changes in bee populations can affect plant reproduction, which can influence plant population density and cover, thus potentially modifying horizontal and vertical structure of a community, microclimate near the ground, patterns of nitrogen deposition, etc. These potential effects of changes in pollination patterns have not been assessed in natural communities. Effects of management actions on bees and other pollinators should be considered in conservation planning.

  11. Effects of the herbicide dicamba on nontarget plants and pollinator visitation.

    PubMed

    Bohnenblust, Eric W; Vaudo, Anthony D; Egan, J Franklin; Mortensen, David A; Tooker, John F

    2016-01-01

    Nearly 80% of all pesticides applied to row crops are herbicides, and these applications pose potentially significant ecotoxicological risks to nontarget plants and associated pollinators. In response to the widespread occurrence of weed species resistant to glyphosate, biotechnology companies have developed crops resistant to the synthetic-auxin herbicides dicamba and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D); and once commercialized, adoption of these crops is likely to change herbicide-use patterns. Despite current limited use, dicamba and 2,4-D are often responsible for injury to nontarget plants; but effects of these herbicides on insect communities are poorly understood. To understand the influence of dicamba on pollinators, the authors applied several sublethal, drift-level rates of dicamba to alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and Eupatorium perfoliatum L. and evaluated plant flowering and floral visitation by pollinators. The authors found that dicamba doses simulating particle drift (≈1% of the field application rate) delayed onset of flowering and reduced the number of flowers of each plant species; however, plants that did flower produced similar-quality pollen in terms of protein concentrations. Further, plants affected by particle drift rates were visited less often by pollinators. Because plants exposed to sublethal levels of dicamba may produce fewer floral resources and be less frequently visited by pollinators, use of dicamba or other synthetic-auxin herbicides with widespread planting of herbicide-resistant crops will need to be carefully stewarded to prevent potential disturbances of plant and beneficial insect communities in agricultural landscapes. PMID:26184786

  12. The behavior of pollination drop secretion in Ginkgo biloba L.

    PubMed Central

    Jin, Biao; Jiang, Xiaoxue; Wang, Di; Zhang, Lei; Wan, Yinglang; Wang, Li

    2012-01-01

    Pollination drop (PD) secretion plays a critical role in wind pollination in many gymnosperms. We conducted detailed investigations on PD secretion in Ginkgo biloba, and found that PDs could not form when the micropyle was removed, but were able to form after removal of the shoot, leaves, ovular stalk, or ovular collar. The duration and volume of the PD increased under high relative humidity, but addition of salt or sugar did not affect PD secretion, its size, or its duration. Morphological and anatomical observations showed that many secretion cells at the nucellus tip contributed to secreting the PD after the formation of pollen chamber. Under laboratory conditions, the PD persisted for approximately 10 d if not pollinated, and re-formed five times after it was removed, with the total volume of PDs reaching approximately 0.4 μL. These results suggested that PDs can be continuously secreted by the tip of the nucellus cells during the pollination stage to increase the chance of capturing pollen from the air. Importantly, PD secretion is an independent behavior of the ovule and PDs were produced apoplastically. PMID:22899081

  13. Pollination by nocturnal Lepidoptera, and the effects of light pollution: a review

    PubMed Central

    MacGregor, Callum J; Pocock, Michael J O; Fox, Richard; Evans, Darren M

    2015-01-01

    1. Moths (Lepidoptera) are the major nocturnal pollinators of flowers. However, their importance and contribution to the provision of pollination ecosystem services may have been under-appreciated. Evidence was identified that moths are important pollinators of a diverse range of plant species in diverse ecosystems across the world. 2. Moth populations are known to be undergoing significant declines in several European countries. Among the potential drivers of this decline is increasing light pollution. The known and possible effects of artificial night lighting upon moths were reviewed, and suggest how artificial night lighting might in turn affect the provision of pollination by moths. The need for studies of the effects of artificial night lighting upon whole communities of moths was highlighted. 3. An ecological network approach is one valuable method to consider the effects of artificial night lighting upon the provision of pollination by moths, as it provides useful insights into ecosystem functioning and stability, and may help elucidate the indirect effects of artificial light upon communities of moths and the plants they pollinate. 4. It was concluded that nocturnal pollination is an ecosystem process that may potentially be disrupted by increasing light pollution, although the nature of this disruption remains to be tested. PMID:25914438

  14. Back to the past for pollination biology.

    PubMed

    Kessler, Danny; Baldwin, Ian T

    2011-08-01

    Manipulations of the interactions between plants and their floral visitors remain the most successful path to an understanding of floral traits, which may have been shaped by both herbivores and pollinators. By using genetic tools in combination with old-fashioned field work the dual protective/advertisement functions of floral traits are being realized. The distinction between wanted and unwanted floral visitors is blurring, and plants with specialized pollination systems are being found capable of using alternative pollinators if the specialized pollinators fail to perform. PMID:21530365

  15. Extremely Long-Lived Stigmas Allow Extended Cross-Pollination Opportunities in a High Andean Plant

    PubMed Central

    Torres-Díaz, Cristian; Gómez-González, Susana; Stotz, Gisela C.; Torres-Morales, Patricio; Paredes, Brayam; Pérez-Millaqueo, Matías; Gianoli, Ernesto

    2011-01-01

    High-elevation ecosystems are traditionally viewed as environments in which predominantly autogamous breeding systems should be selected because of the limited pollinator availability. Chaetanthera renifolia (Asteraceae) is an endemic monocarpic triennial herb restricted to a narrow altitudinal range within the high Andes of central Chile (3300–3500 m a.s.l.), just below the vegetation limit. This species displays one of the larger capitulum within the genus. Under the reproductive assurance hypothesis, and considering its short longevity (monocarpic triennial), an autogamous breeding system and low levels of pollen limitation would be predicted for C. renifolia. In contrast, considering its large floral size, a xenogamous breeding system, and significant levels of pollen limitation could be expected. In addition, the increased pollination probability hypothesis predicts prolonged stigma longevity for high alpine plants. We tested these alternative predictions by performing experimental crossings in the field to establish the breeding system and to measure the magnitude of pollen limitation in two populations of C. renifolia. In addition, we measured the stigma longevity in unpollinated and open pollinated capitula, and pollinator visitation rates in the field. We found low levels of self-compatibility and significant levels of pollen limitation in C. renifolia. Pollinator visitation rates were moderate (0.047–0.079 visits per capitulum per 30 min). Although pollinator visitation rate significantly differed between populations, they were not translated into differences in achene output. Finally, C. renifolia stigma longevity of unpollinated plants was extremely long and significantly higher than that of open pollinated plants (26.3±2.8 days vs. 10.1±2.2, respectively), which gives support to the increased pollination probability hypothesis for high-elevation flowering plants. Our results add to a growing number of studies that show that xenogamous breeding

  16. Effects of non-native Melilotus albus on pollination and reproduction in two boreal shrubs.

    PubMed

    Spellman, Katie V; Schneller, Laura C; Mulder, Christa P H; Carlson, Matthew L

    2015-10-01

    The establishment of abundantly flowered, highly rewarding non-native plant species is expected to have strong consequences for native plants through altered pollination services, particularly in boreal forest where the flowering season is short and the pollinator pool is small. In 18 boreal forest sites, we added flowering Melilotus albus to some sites and left some sites as controls in 2 different years to test if the invasive plant influences the pollination and reproductive success of two co-flowering ericaceous species: Vaccinium vitis-idaea and Rhododendron groenlandicum. We found that M. albus increased the pollinator diversity and tended to increase visitation rates to the focal native plant species compared to control sites. Melilotus albus facilitated greater seed production per berry in V. vitis-idaea when we added 120 plants compared to when we added 40 plants or in control sites. In R. groenlandicum, increasing numbers of M. albus inflorescences lowered conspecific pollen loads and percentage of flowers pollinated; however, no differences in fruit set were detected. The number of M. albus inflorescences had greater importance in explaining R. groenlandicum pollination compared to other environmental variables such as weather and number of native flowers, and had greater importance in lower quality black spruce sites than in mixed deciduous and white spruce sites for explaining the percentage of V. vitis-idaea flowers pollinated. Our data suggest that the identity of new pollinators attracted to the invaded sites, degree of shared pollinators between invasive and native species, and variation in resource limitation among sites are likely determining factors in the reproductive responses of boreal native plants in the presence of an invasive. PMID:26071209

  17. Effect of nectar secretion rate on pollination success of Passiflora coccinea (Passifloraceae) in the Central Amazon.

    PubMed

    Fischer, E; Leal, I R

    2006-05-01

    The pollination of Passiflora coccinea by the hummingbird Phaethornis superciliosus was studied in Central Amazon, Brazil. We hypothesized that a greater nectar secretion rate (NSR) increases the pollination success of single flowers through Ph. superciliosus visiting behavior. For control flowers, NSR was an increasing function of flower base diameter (FBD). The total number of Ph. superciliosus probes per flower was an increasing function of FBD. Additionally, deposition of pollen on stigmas increased with the cumulative number of Ph. superciliosus probes. Our results show that larger P. coccinea flowers secrete nectar at higher rates, are probed more times during each hummingbird visit and are more successful at pollination. This seems to be the first non-manipulative study describing such an effect of NSR on the pollination of single flowers in nature. PMID:16906307

  18. Bee Species Diversity Enhances Productivity and Stability in a Perennial Crop

    PubMed Central

    Rogers, Shelley R.; Tarpy, David R.; Burrack, Hannah J.

    2014-01-01

    Wild bees provide important pollination services to agroecoystems, but the mechanisms which underlie their contribution to ecosystem functioning—and, therefore, their importance in maintaining and enhancing these services—remain unclear. We evaluated several mechanisms through which wild bees contribute to crop productivity, the stability of pollinator visitation, and the efficiency of individual pollinators in a highly bee-pollination dependent plant, highbush blueberry. We surveyed the bee community (through transect sampling and pan trapping) and measured pollination of both open- and singly-visited flowers. We found that the abundance of managed honey bees, Apis mellifera, and wild-bee richness were equally important in describing resulting open pollination. Wild-bee richness was a better predictor of pollination than wild-bee abundance. We also found evidence suggesting pollinator visitation (and subsequent pollination) are stabilized through the differential response of bee taxa to weather (i.e., response diversity). Variation in the individual visit efficiency of A. mellifera and the southeastern blueberry bee, Habropoda laboriosa, a wild specialist, was not associated with changes in the pollinator community. Our findings add to a growing literature that diverse pollinator communities provide more stable and productive ecosystem services. PMID:24817218

  19. Bee species diversity enhances productivity and stability in a perennial crop.

    PubMed

    Rogers, Shelley R; Tarpy, David R; Burrack, Hannah J

    2014-01-01

    Wild bees provide important pollination services to agroecoystems, but the mechanisms which underlie their contribution to ecosystem functioning--and, therefore, their importance in maintaining and enhancing these services-remain unclear. We evaluated several mechanisms through which wild bees contribute to crop productivity, the stability of pollinator visitation, and the efficiency of individual pollinators in a highly bee-pollination dependent plant, highbush blueberry. We surveyed the bee community (through transect sampling and pan trapping) and measured pollination of both open- and singly-visited flowers. We found that the abundance of managed honey bees, Apis mellifera, and wild-bee richness were equally important in describing resulting open pollination. Wild-bee richness was a better predictor of pollination than wild-bee abundance. We also found evidence suggesting pollinator visitation (and subsequent pollination) are stabilized through the differential response of bee taxa to weather (i.e., response diversity). Variation in the individual visit efficiency of A. mellifera and the southeastern blueberry bee, Habropoda laboriosa, a wild specialist, was not associated with changes in the pollinator community. Our findings add to a growing literature that diverse pollinator communities provide more stable and productive ecosystem services. PMID:24817218

  20. Early Blooming’s Challenges: Extended Flowering Season, Diverse Pollinator Assemblage and the Reproductive Success of Gynodioecious Daphne laureola

    PubMed Central

    ALONSO, CONCHITA

    2004-01-01

    • Background and aims The scarcity and unpredictability of active pollinators during late winter in temperate areas tends to favour extended flowering seasons and increased floral longevity in early blooming species, which are usually pollinated by diverse sets of insects. Daphne laureola is a gynodioecious woody perennial that flowers from January to April in southern Spain, a period characterized by cold temperatures, frequent rains and irregular snowfalls. • Methods Pollinators were excluded at four different times during the flowering season in order to determine the effect of decreased exposure to pollinators on fruit set in female and hermaphrodite individuals. The role of nocturnal and diurnal pollination on reproductive success in each gender was simultaneously evaluated by selective exclusion. • Key results A 50 % reduction in the flowering period decreased fruit set of females by 50 %, whereas the corresponding decrease in self‐compatible hermaphrodites was only approx. 25 %. Day‐active hymenopterans and lepidopterans were infrequent visitors, and nocturnal pollinators were inefficient, suggesting that pollen beetles, Meligethes elongatus, were the main pollinators of D. laureola in the study region. • Conclusions Beetles were less abundant in pollenless females, although discrimination did not apparently result in pollination limitation of female reproduction. A preference of beetles for sunny locations emphasized the relevance of abiotic conditions for pollination of this early blooming shrub. PMID:14602664

  1. Pollination ecology of two species of Elleanthus (Orchidaceae): novel mechanisms and underlying adaptations to hummingbird pollination.

    PubMed

    Nunes, C E P; Amorim, F W; Mayer, J L S; Sazima, M

    2016-01-01

    Relationships among floral biology, floral micromorphology and pollinator behaviour in bird-pollinated orchids are important issues to understand the evolution of the huge flower diversity within Orchidaceae. We aimed to investigate floral mechanisms underlying the interaction with pollinators in two hummingbird-pollinated orchids occurring in the Atlantic forest. We assessed floral biology, nectar traits, nectary and column micromorphologies, breeding systems and pollinators. In both species, nectar is secreted by lip calli through spaces between the medial lamellar surfaces of epidermal cells. Such a form of floral nectar secretion has not been previously described. Both species present functional protandry and are self-compatible yet pollinator-dependent. Fruit set in hand-pollination experiments was more than twice that under natural conditions, evidencing pollen limitation. The absence of fruit set in interspecific crosses suggests the existence of post-pollination barriers between these sympatric co-flowering species. In Elleanthus brasiliensis, fruits resulting from cross-pollination and natural conditions were heavier than those resulting from self-pollination, suggesting advantages to cross-pollination. Hummingbirds pollinated both species, which share at least one pollinator species. Species differences in floral morphologies led to distinct pollination mechanisms. In E. brasiliensis, attachment of pollinarium to the hummingbird bill occurs through a lever apparatus formed by an appendage in the column, another novelty to our knowledge of orchid pollination. In E. crinipes, pollinarium attachment occurs by simple contact with the bill during insertion into the flower tube, which fits tightly around it. The novelties described here illustrate the overlooked richness in ecology and morphophysiology in Orchidaceae. PMID:25678071

  2. Site fidelity by bees drives pollination facilitation in sequentially blooming plant species.

    PubMed

    Ogilvie, Jane E; Thomson, James D

    2016-06-01

    Plant species can influence the pollination and reproductive success of coflowering neighbors that share pollinators. Because some individual pollinators habitually forage in particular areas, it is also possible that plant species could influence the pollination of neighbors that bloom later. When flowers of a preferred forage plant decline in an area, site-fidelity may cause individual flower feeders to stay in an area and switch plant species rather than search for preferred plants in a new location. A newly blooming plant species may quickly inherit a set of visitors from a prior plant species, and therefore experience higher pollination success than it would in an area where the first species never bloomed. To test this, we manipulated the placement and timing of two plant species, Delphinium barbeyi and later-blooming Gentiana parryi. We recorded the responses of individually marked bumble bee pollinators. About 63% of marked individuals returned repeatedly to the same areas to forage on Delphinium. When Delphinium was experimentally taken out of bloom, most of those site-faithful individuals (78%) stayed and switched to Gentiana. Consequently, Gentiana flowers received more visits in areas where Delphinium had previously flowered, compared to areas where Delphinium was still flowering or never occurred. Gentiana stigmas received more pollen in areas where Delphinium disappeared than where it never bloomed, indicating that Delphinium increases the pollination of Gentiana when they are separated in time. Overall, we show that individual bumble bees are often site-faithful, causing one plant species to increase the pollination of another even when separated in time, which is a novel mechanism of pollination facilitation. PMID:27459775

  3. Specialist pollinators deplete pollen in the spring ephemeral wildflower Claytonia virginica.

    PubMed

    Parker, Alison J; Williams, Neal M; Thomson, James D

    2016-08-01

    Pollinators that collect pollen - and specifically, pollen-specialist bees - are often considered to be the best pollinators of a (host) plant. Although pollen collectors and pollen specialists often benefit host plants, especially in the pollen that they deliver (their pollination "effectiveness"), they can also exact substantial costs because they are motivated to collect as much pollen as possible, reducing the proportion of pollen removed that is subsequently delivered to stigmas (their pollination "efficiency"). From the plant perspective, pollen grains that do not pollinate conspecific stigmas are "wasted", and potentially costly. We measured costs and benefits of nectar-collecting, pollen-collecting, and pollen-specialist pollinator visitation to the spring ephemeral Claytonia virginica. Visits by the pollen-specialist bee Andrena erigeniae depleted pollen quickly and thoroughly. Although all pollinators delivered roughly the same number of grains, the pollen specialist contributed most to C. virginica pollen delivery because of high visitation rates. However, the pollen specialist also removed a large number of grains; this removal may be especially costly because it resulted in the depletion of pollen grains in C. virginica populations. While C. virginica appears to rely on pollen transfer by the pollen specialist in these populations, nectar-collecting visitors could provide the same benefit at a lower cost if their visitation rates increased. Pollen depletion affects a pollinator's value to plants, but is frequently overlooked. If they lower the effectiveness of future floral visitors, visits by A. erigeniae females to C. virginica may be more detrimental than beneficial compared to other pollinators and may, in some circumstances, reduce plant fitness rather than increase it. Therefore, A. erigeniae and C. virginica may vary in their degree of mutualism depending on the ecological context. PMID:27551374

  4. Pollination biology and floral scent chemistry of the Neotropical chiropterophilous Parkia pendula.

    PubMed

    Piechowski, D; Dötterl, S; Gottsberger, G

    2010-01-01

    During the past several decades, the pollination biology of Old World plant species pollinated by flying foxes and of New World plants pollinated by highly specialized nectar-feeding glossophagine bats has been studied in detail. However, little is known about Neotropical plants that are pollinated by less specialized phyllostomid bats. Therefore, we studied the pollination biology of Parkia pendula, a tree pollinated by Phyllostomus. Flowers of P. pendula are arranged in capitula, and a capitulum is composed of approximately 800 hermaphrodite flowers and 260 sterile flowers. The sterile flowers produced a total of 7.4 ml nectar per night, with a sugar concentration of 14.95%, and proline as the dominant amino acid. Nectar production is highest at dusk and ends at 03:00 h. The floral scent is dominated by monoterpenoids (97.9%), with (E)-beta-ocimene being the dominant (84.0%) compound. No sulfur compounds were detected. The capitula are heavily visited by four species of phyllostomid bats, of which Phyllostomus discolor is the most abundant (98.9%). Nectar production per capitulum is within the reported range of nectar produced by this pantropical genus (5.0-8.0 ml). This genus-wide range seems to be optimal for attracting non-specialized nectar-feeding bats and forces them to visit capitula of several trees to satisfy their dietary needs, thus increasing the probability of cross-pollination for this plant. PMID:20653900

  5. Contribution of diurnal and nocturnal insects to the pollination of Jatropha curcas (Euphorbiaceae) in southwestern China.

    PubMed

    Luo, Chang W; Huang, Zachary Y; Chen, Xiao M; Li, Kun; Chen, You; Sun, Yong Y

    2011-02-01

    Jatropha curcas L. (Euphorbiaceae) is being increasingly planted worldwide, but questions remain regarding its pollination biology. This study examined the contribution of diurnal and nocturnal insects to the pollination of monoecious J. curcas, through its floral biology, pollination ecology, and foraging behavior of potential pollinators. Nectar production of both male and female flowers peaked in the morning, declined in the afternoon, and rapidly bottomed during the night in all of their anthesis days. The diurnal visitors to the flowers of J. curcas are bees and flies, and the nocturnal visitors are moths. Flowers received significantly more visits by diurnal insects than by nocturnal insects. Through bagging flowers during night or day or both or exclusion, we compared fruit and seed production caused by diurnal and nocturnal pollinators. Both nocturnal and diurnal visitors were successful pollinators. However, flowers exposed only to nocturnal visitors produced less fruits than those exposed only to diurnal visitors. Thus, diurnal pollinators contribute more to seed production by J. curcas at the study site. PMID:21404852

  6. Floral paedomorphy leads to secondary specialization in pollination of Madagascar Dalechampia (Euphorbiaceae).

    PubMed

    Armbruster, W Scott; Lee, Joongku; Edwards, Mary E; Baldwin, Bruce G

    2013-04-01

    The traditional evolutionary interpretation of Von Baer's "laws" of embryology is that retention of early developmental forms into adulthood (paedomorphosis) leads to the evolution of simpler or more generalized morphology and ecology. Here we show that paedomorphosis can also be involved in an increase in ecological specialization, in this case of plant-pollinator relationships. A paedomorphic transition from generalized pollination (by several functional types of pollinators) to specialized pollination (by one or a few species in one functional type) occurred in a clade of endemic Madagascar vines (Dalechampia spp., Euphorbiaceae). This evolutionary transition involved staminate flowers that fail to develop "normally," instead holding mature pollen inside virtually unopened, bud-like flowers. This paedomorphic morphology restricts reward access to "buzz-pollinating" bees, including Xylocopa species (carpenter bees), which can remove pollen by sonication. This is one of very few reports of paedomorphic specialization, and, as far as we are aware, the first documented case of a rapid reversal to specialized pollination in a lineage of plants that had previously switched from specialized to generalized pollination in conjunction with dispersing to a new region. PMID:23550767

  7. Do pollinator distributions underlie the evolution of pollination ecotypes in the Cape shrub Erica plukenetii?

    PubMed Central

    Van der Niet, Timotheüs; Pirie, Michael D.; Shuttleworth, Adam; Johnson, Steven D.; Midgley, Jeremy J.

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims According to the Grant–Stebbins model of pollinator-driven divergence, plants that disperse beyond the range of their specialized pollinator may adapt to a new pollination system. Although this model provides a compelling explanation for pollination ecotype formation, few studies have directly tested its validity in nature. Here we investigate the distribution and pollination biology of several subspecies of the shrub Erica plukenetii from the Cape Floristic Region in South Africa. We analyse these data in a phylogenetic context and combine these results with information on pollinator ranges to test whether the evolution of pollination ecotypes is consistent with the Grant–Stebbins model. Methods and Key Results Pollinator observations showed that the most common form of E. plukenetii with intermediate corolla length is pollinated by short-billed Orange-breasted sunbirds. Populations at the northern fringe of the distribution are characterized by long corollas, and are mainly pollinated by long-billed Malachite sunbirds. A population with short corollas in the centre of the range was mainly pollinated by insects, particularly short-tongued noctuid moths. Bird exclusion in this population did not have an effect on fruit set, while insect exclusion reduced fruit set. An analysis of floral scent across the range, using coupled gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, showed that the scent bouquets of flowers from moth-pollinated populations are characterized by a larger number of scent compounds and higher emission rates than those in bird-pollinated populations. This was also reflected in clear separation of moth- and bird-pollinated populations in a two-dimensional phenotype space based on non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis of scent data. Phylogenetic analyses of chloroplast and nuclear DNA sequences strongly supported monophyly of E. plukenetii, but not of all the subspecies. Reconstruction of ancestral character states suggests two

  8. Wind of change: new insights on the ecology and evolution of pollination and mating in wind-pollinated plants

    PubMed Central

    Friedman, Jannice; Barrett, Spencer C. H.

    2009-01-01

    Background The rich literature that characterizes the field of pollination biology has focused largely on animal-pollinated plants. At least 10 % of angiosperms are wind pollinated, and this mode of pollination has evolved on multiple occasions among unrelated lineages, and hence this discrepancy in research interest is surprising. Here, the evolution and functional ecology of pollination and mating in wind-pollinated plants are discussed, a theoretical framework for modelling the selection of wind pollination is outlined, and pollen capture and the occurrence of pollen limitation in diverse wind-pollinated herbs are investigated experimentally. Scope and Conclusions Wind pollination may commonly evolve to provide reproductive assurance when pollinators are scarce. Evidence is presented that pollen limitation in wind-pollinated plants may not be as common as it is in animal-pollinated species. The studies of pollen capture in wind-pollinated herbs demonstrate that pollen transfer efficiency is not substantially lower than in animal-pollinated plants as is often assumed. These findings challenge the explanation that the evolution of few ovules in wind-pollinated flowers is associated with low pollen loads. Floral and inflorescence architecture is crucial to pollination and mating because of the aerodynamics of wind pollination. Evidence is provided for the importance of plant height, floral position, and stamen and stigma characteristics in promoting effective pollen dispersal and capture. Finally, it is proposed that geitonogamous selfing may alleviate pollen limitation in many wind-pollinated plants with unisexual flowers. PMID:19218583

  9. Bombus huntii, Bombus impatiens and Bombus vosnesenskii (Hymenoptera: Apidae) pollinate greenhouse-grown tomatoes in western North America

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bumble bees (Bombus) are the primary pollinators of tomatoes grown in greenhouses and can significantly increase fruit weight compared to tomatoes that receive no supplemental pollination. Due to mounting concerns over the transportation of bumble bees outside of their native ranges, several specie...

  10. A systems approach to identify adaptation strategies for Midwest US cropping systems under increased climate variability and change.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Basso, B.; Dumont, B.

    2015-12-01

    A systems approach was implemented to assess the impact of management strategies and climate variability on crop yield, nitrate leaching and soil organic carbon across the the Midwest US at a fine scale spatial resolution. We used the SALUS model which designed to simulated yield and environmental outcomes of continous crop rotations under different agronomic management, soil, weather. We extracted soil parameters from the SSURGO (Soil Survey Geographic) data of nine Midwest states (IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, OH, SD, WI) and weather from NARR (North American Regional Reanalysis). State specific management itineraries were extracted from USDA-NAS. We present the results different cropping systems (continuous corn, corn-soybean and extended rotations) under different management practices (no-tillage, cover crops and residue management). Simulations were conducted under both the baseline (1979-2014) and projected climatic projections (RCP2.5, 6). Results indicated that climate change would likely have a negative impact on corn yields in some areas and positive in others. Soil N, and C losses can be reduced with the adoption of conservation practices.

  11. Regional hybrid broccoli trials provide a means to further breeding efforts of this increasingly important vegetable crop

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    A Coordinated Agricultural Project (CAP) entitled “Establishing an Eastern Broccoli Industry” is funded under the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), and a primary component of the project is a system of regional hybrid broccoli trials conducted along the eastern seaboard. Hybrids currently ...

  12. Trends in literature on new oilseed crops and related species: Seeking evidence of increasing or waning interest

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bibliographic records on eight new crop species Camelina, Crambe, Cuphea, Physaria, Limnanthes, Stokesia, Thlaspi, and Vernonia from Agricola, CAB Abstracts, Scopus, and Web of Science were analyzed for historical and recent trends in the areas of research, author distribution, and quantity and impa...

  13. Variable flowering phenology and pollinator use in a community suggest future phenological mismatch

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Petanidou, Theodora; Kallimanis, Athanasios S.; Sgardelis, Stefanos P.; Mazaris, Antonios D.; Pantis, John D.; Waser, Nickolas M.

    2014-08-01

    Recent anthropogenic climate change is strongly associated with average shifts toward earlier seasonal timing of activity (phenology) in temperate-zone species. Shifts in phenology have the potential to alter ecological interactions, to the detriment of one or more interacting species. Recent models predict that detrimental phenological mismatch may increasingly occur between plants and their pollinators. One way to test this prediction is to examine data from ecological communities that experience large annual weather fluctuations. Taking this approach, we analyzed interactions over a four-year period among 132 plant species and 665 pollinating insect species within a Mediterranean community. For each plant species we recorded onset and duration of flowering and number of pollinator species. Flowering onset varied among years, and a year of earlier flowering of a species tended to be a year of fewer species pollinating its flowers. This relationship was attributable principally to early-flowering species, suggesting that shifts toward earlier phenology driven by climate change may reduce pollination services due to phenological mismatch. Earlier flowering onset of a species also was associated with prolonged flowering duration, but it is not certain that this will counterbalance any negative effects of lower pollinator species richness on plant reproductive success. Among plants with different life histories, annuals were more severely affected by flowering-pollinator mismatches than perennials. Specialized plant species (those attracting a smaller number of pollinator species) did not experience disproportionate interannual fluctuations in phenology. Thus they do not appear to be faced with disproportionate fluctuations in pollinator species richness, contrary to the expectation that specialists are at greatest risk of losing mutualistic interactions because of climate change.

  14. Changing Bee and Hoverfly Pollinator Assemblages along an Urban-Rural Gradient

    PubMed Central

    Bates, Adam J.; Sadler, Jon P.; Fairbrass, Alison J.; Falk, Steven J.; Hale, James D.; Matthews, Tom J.

    2011-01-01

    Background The potential for reduced pollination ecosystem service due to global declines of bees and other pollinators is cause for considerable concern. Habitat degradation, destruction and fragmentation due to agricultural intensification have historically been the main causes of this pollinator decline. However, despite increasing and accelerating levels of global urbanization, very little research has investigated the effects of urbanization on pollinator assemblages. We assessed changes in the diversity, abundance and species composition of bee and hoverfly pollinator assemblages in urban, suburban, and rural sites across a UK city. Methodology/Principal Findings Bees and hoverflies were trapped and netted at 24 sites of similar habitat character (churchyards and cemeteries) that varied in position along a gradient of urbanization. Local habitat quality (altitude, shelter from wind, diversity and abundance of flowers), and the broader-scale degree of urbanization (e.g. percentage of built landscape and gardens within 100 m, 250 m, 500 m, 1 km, and 2.5 km of the site) were assessed for each study site. The diversity and abundance of pollinators were both significantly negatively associated with higher levels of urbanization. Assemblage composition changed along the urbanization gradient with some species positively associated with urban and suburban land-use, but more species negatively so. Pollinator assemblages were positively affected by good site habitat quality, in particular the availability of flowering plants. Conclusions/Significance Our results show that urban areas can support diverse pollinator assemblages, but that this capacity is strongly affected by local habitat quality. Nonetheless, in both urban and suburban areas of the city the assemblages had fewer individuals and lower diversity than similar rural habitats. The unique development histories of different urban areas, and the difficulty of assessing mobile pollinator assemblages in just

  15. Pollination Research Methods with Apis mellifera

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This chapter describes field and lab procedures for doing experiments on honey bee pollination. Most of the methods apply to any insect for whom pollen vectoring capacity is the question. What makes honey bee pollination distinctive is its historic emphasis on agricultural applications; hence one fi...

  16. Seasonal and annual variations in the pollination efficiency of a pollinator community of Dictamnus albus L.

    PubMed

    Fisogni, A; Rossi, M; Sgolastra, F; Bortolotti, L; Bogo, G; de Manincor, N; Quaranta, M; Galloni, M

    2016-05-01

    The interplay between insect and plant traits outlines the patterns of pollen transfer and the subsequent plant reproductive fitness. We studied the factors that affect the pollination efficiency of a pollinator community of Dictamnus albus L. by evaluating insect behaviour and morphological characteristics in relation to flowering phenology. In order to extrapolate the pollinator importance of single taxa and of the whole pollinator guild, we calculated an index distinguishing between potential (PPI) and realized (RPI) pollinator importance. Although the pollinator species spectrum appeared rather constant, we found high intra- and inter-annual variability of pollinator frequency and importance within the insect community. Flower visitation rate strictly depended on insect abundance and on the overlap between their flying period and flower blooming. All the pollinators visited flowers from the bottom to the top of the racemes, excluding intra-plant geitonogamous pollination, and most of them showed high pollen fidelity. Only medium large-sized bees could contact the upward bending stiles while feeding on nectar, highlighting a specialisation of the plant towards bigger pollinators. Moreover, we found evidence of functional specialisation, since all pollinators were restricted to a single taxonomic group (order: Hymenoptera; superfamily: Apoidea). Both the PPI and RPI indices indicate Habropoda tarsata as the most important pollinator of D. albus. Following hand cross-pollination experiments we revealed the presence of pollination limitation in 1 of the 3 years of field study. We discuss this result in relation to flowering abundance and to possible mismatches of phenological periods between plants and insects. PMID:26573095

  17. Irrigation and Maize Cultivation Erode Plant Diversity Within Crops in Mediterranean Dry Cereal Agro-Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Fagúndez, Jaime; Olea, Pedro P; Tejedo, Pablo; Mateo-Tomás, Patricia; Gómez, David

    2016-07-01

    The intensification of agriculture has increased production at the cost of environment and biodiversity worldwide. To increase crop yield in dry cereal systems, vast farmland areas of high conservation value are being converted into irrigation, especially in Mediterranean countries. We analyze the effect of irrigation-driven changes on the farm biota by comparing species diversity, community composition, and species traits of arable plants within crop fields from two contrasting farming systems (dry and irrigated) in Spain. We sampled plant species within 80 fields of dry wheat, irrigated wheat, and maize (only cultivated under irrigation). Wheat crops held higher landscape and per field species richness, and beta diversity than maize. Within the same type of crop, irrigated wheat hosted lower plant diversity than dry wheat at both field and landscape scales. Floristic composition differed between crop types, with higher frequencies of perennials, cosmopolitan, exotic, wind-pollinated and C4 species in maize. Our results suggest that irrigation projects, that transform large areas of dry cereal agro-ecosystems into irrigated crop systems dominated by maize, erode plant diversity. An adequate planning on the type and proportion of crops used in the irrigated agro-ecosystems is needed in order to balance agriculture production and biodiversity conservation. PMID:26994604

  18. Irrigation and Maize Cultivation Erode Plant Diversity Within Crops in Mediterranean Dry Cereal Agro-Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fagúndez, Jaime; Olea, Pedro P.; Tejedo, Pablo; Mateo-Tomás, Patricia; Gómez, David

    2016-07-01

    The intensification of agriculture has increased production at the cost of environment and biodiversity worldwide. To increase crop yield in dry cereal systems, vast farmland areas of high conservation value are being converted into irrigation, especially in Mediterranean countries. We analyze the effect of irrigation-driven changes on the farm biota by comparing species diversity, community composition, and species traits of arable plants within crop fields from two contrasting farming systems (dry and irrigated) in Spain. We sampled plant species within 80 fields of dry wheat, irrigated wheat, and maize (only cultivated under irrigation). Wheat crops held higher landscape and per field species richness, and beta diversity than maize. Within the same type of crop, irrigated wheat hosted lower plant diversity than dry wheat at both field and landscape scales. Floristic composition differed between crop types, with higher frequencies of perennials, cosmopolitan, exotic, wind-pollinated and C4 species in maize. Our results suggest that irrigation projects, that transform large areas of dry cereal agro-ecosystems into irrigated crop systems dominated by maize, erode plant diversity. An adequate planning on the type and proportion of crops used in the irrigated agro-ecosystems is needed in order to balance agriculture production and biodiversity conservation.

  19. Displacement of a native by an alien bumblebee: lower pollinator efficiency overcome by overwhelmingly higher visitation frequency.

    PubMed

    Madjidian, Josefin A; Morales, Carolina L; Smith, Henrik G

    2008-07-01

    Biological invasions might constitute a major threat to mutualisms. Introduced pollinators might competitively displace their native counterparts, which in turn affects the pollination of native plants, if native and alien visitors differ in pollinator effectiveness. Since its invasion in 1994 into south-west Argentina, the introduced European bumblebee Bombus ruderatus has continuously increased in abundance, along with a simultaneous decrease in the abundance of the native Bombus dahlbomii. The latter is the only native bumblebee species of the temperate forests of southern South America, and the main pollinator of the endemic herb Alstroemeria aurea. In order to evaluate the impact of the ongoing displacement of the native by the alien bumblebee, we compared the pollinator effectiveness (i.e., the combination of pollinator efficiency per visit and visitation frequency) between both bumblebee species, as well as related pollinator traits that might account for potential differences in pollinator efficiency. Native Bombus dahlbomii, which has a larger body and spent more time per flower, was the more efficient pollinator compared to Bombus ruderatus, both in terms of quantity and quality of pollen deposited per visit. However, Bombus ruderatus was a much more frequent flower visitor than Bombus dahlbomii. As a consequence, Bombus ruderatus is nowadays a more effective pollinator of A. aurea than its native congener. Despite the lack of evidence of an increase in seed set at the population level, comparisons with historical records of Bombus dahlbomii abundances prior to Bombus ruderatus' invasion suggest that the overall pollination intensity of A. aurea might in fact have risen as a consequence of this invasion. Field experiments like these, that incorporate the natural variation in abundance of native and alien species, are powerful means to demonstrate that the consequences of invasions are more complex than previous manipulated and controlled experiments have

  20. Self-pollination rate and floral-display size in Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) with regard to floral-visitor taxa

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Animals fertilize thousands of angiosperm species whose floral-display sizes can significantly influence pollinator behavior and plant reproductive success. Many studies have measured the interactions among pollinator behavior, floral-display size, and plant reproductive success, but few studies have been able to separate the effects of pollinator behavior and post-pollination processes on angiosperm sexual reproduction. In this study, we utilized the highly self-incompatible pollinium-pollination system of Asclepias syriaca (Common Milkweed) to quantify how insect visitors influenced male reproductive success measured as pollen removal, female reproductive success measured as pollen deposition, and self-pollination rate. We also determined how floral-display size impacts both visitor behavior and self-pollination rate. Results Four insect taxonomic orders visited A. syriaca: Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera, and Lepidoptera. We focused on three groups of visitor taxa within two orders (Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera) with sample sizes large enough for quantitative analysis: Apis mellifera (Western Honey Bee), Bombus spp. (bumble bees) and lepidopterans (butterflies and moths). Qualitatively, lepidopterans had the highest pollinator importance values, but the large variability in the lepidopteran data precluded meaningful interpretation of much of their behavior. The introduced A. mellifera was the most effective and most important diurnal pollinator with regard to both pollen removal and pollen deposition. However, when considering the self-incompatibility of A. syriaca, A. mellifera was not the most important pollinator because of its high self-pollination rate as compared to Bombus spp. Additionally, the rate of self-pollination increased more rapidly with the number of flowers per inflorescence in A. mellifera than in the native Bombus spp. Conclusions Apis mellifera’s high rate of self-pollination may have significant negative effects on both male

  1. The Potential Use of Summer Rainfall Enhancement in Illinois. Part I: A Field Experiment to Define Responses of Crop Yields to Increased Rainfall.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Changnon, Stanley A.; Hollinger, Steven E.

    1993-03-01

    An assessment was made of factors affecting the use of cloud seeding to increase summer (June-August) rainfall for improved corn and soybean yields in Illinois. Crop yields from a five-year agricultural field experiment involving nine levels of rain increases were compared with yields produced under natural rainfall. The sampled years (1987 91) included a wide range of summer weather conditions, including extremely hot and dry (1988) and very wet and cool (1990). Since the types of growing seasons sampled represented only 30% of all types, caution must be used in interpreting the results and applying them to other years.Additional water of 10%, 25%, or 40% of each day's actual rainfall was applied after each rain. Additional water was also applied only to certain rains, depending on whether they were light, moderate, or heavy. The best treatment, based on performance in all years and considering both treated and untreated crops, was a 25% rain increase applied on days with moderate rain (2.5 mm 2.53 cm). However, it was only marginally better than the natural rainfall. The best treatment for soybeans alone, based on the average yields for 1987 90, was the natural, unmodified rainfall, whereas that for corn was 10% 40% increases only on heavy-rain days. In general, rain increases of 10% had little yield effect, and 40% increases applied in all years were found damaging in wetter years. However, in extremely dry summers, the 40% rain increases were the best for both crops. The best treatment in any given summer varied by the type and timing of rain conditions and crop. Selection of the best treatment to use in any summer would require the capability to predict the amount and timing of summer rainfall by 1 June.

  2. Poor correlation between the removal or deposition of pollen grains and frequency of pollinator contact with sex organs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sakamoto, Ryota L.; Morinaga, Shin-Ichi

    2013-09-01

    Pollinators deposit pollen grains on stigmas and remove pollen grains from anthers. The mechanics of these transfers can now be quantified with the use of high-speed video. We videoed hawkmoths, carpenter bees, and swallowtail butterflies pollinating Clerodendrum trichotomum. The number of grains deposited on stigmas did not vary significantly with the number of times pollinators contacted stigmas. In contrast, pollen removal from the anthers increased significantly with the number of contacts to anthers. Pollen removal varied among the three types of pollinators. Also, the three types carried pollen on different parts of their bodies. In hawkmoths and carpenter bees, a large number of contacted body part with anthers differed significantly from the body part that attached a large number of pollen grains. Our results indicate that a large number of contacts by pollinators does not increase either the male or female reproductive success of plants compared to a small number of contacts during a visit.

  3. Poor correlation between the removal or deposition of pollen grains and frequency of pollinator contact with sex organs.

    PubMed

    Sakamoto, Ryota L; Morinaga, Shin-Ichi

    2013-09-01

    Pollinators deposit pollen grains on stigmas and remove pollen grains from anthers. The mechanics of these transfers can now be quantified with the use of high-speed video. We videoed hawkmoths, carpenter bees, and swallowtail butterflies pollinating Clerodendrum trichotomum. The number of grains deposited on stigmas did not vary significantly with the number of times pollinators contacted stigmas. In contrast, pollen removal from the anthers increased significantly with the number of contacts to anthers. Pollen removal varied among the three types of pollinators. Also, the three types carried pollen on different parts of their bodies. In hawkmoths and carpenter bees, a large number of contacted body part with anthers differed significantly from the body part that attached a large number of pollen grains. Our results indicate that a large number of contacts by pollinators does not increase either the male or female reproductive success of plants compared to a small number of contacts during a visit. PMID:23928839

  4. Attraction of pollinators to atemoya (Annona squamosa x A. cherimola) in Puerto Rico using commercial lures and food attractants

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Atemoya is a hybrid between Annona squamosa and A. cherimola (Annonaceae) and has potential to be a major fruit crop in tropical and subtropical areas. A major impediment to fruit production is low fruit-set due to inadequate pollinator visits, typically Nitidulidae beetles. We used Universal moth t...

  5. Attraction of pollinators to atemoya (Magnoliales: Annonaceae) in Puerto Rico: A synergetic approach using multiple nitidulid lures

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Atemoya, a cross between Annona squamosa and A. cherimola (Annonaceae), has the potential to be a major fruit crop in tropical and subtropical areas. A major setback to production throughout the world is low fruit-set due to inadequate visits by pollinators, typically beetles in the family Nitidulid...

  6. The long winter: the synergy between fluctuating thermal regime and quiescence physiology in the pollinator, Megachile rotundata

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The alfalfa leafcutting bee Megachile rotundata (F.) is the primary pollinator for seed production in alfalfa and a number of specialty crops. Developing a more thorough understanding of M. rotundata low-temperature and diapause physiology is essential for the sustainable management of this key poll...

  7. Pollination of cucumber, Cucumis sativus L. (Cucurbitales: Cucurbitaceae), by the stingless bees Scaptotrigona aff. depilis moure and Nannotrigona testaceicornis Lepeletier (Hymenoptera: Meliponini) in greenhouses.

    PubMed

    Santos, Solange A B dos; Roselino, Ana C; Bego, Luci R

    2008-01-01

    When for a successful fruit development the fertilization of flowers is necessary, bees can be used as crop-pollinators in greenhouses. In the present study, we investigated the effectiveness of the stingless bees Scaptotrigona aff. depilis Moure and Nannotrigona testaceicornis Lepeletier as pollinators of cucumber plants (Cucumus sativus var. caipira) in greenhouses during the Brazilian winter season. The study was conducted in four greenhouses (GH), of which two greenhouses contained bee colonies to ascertain pollination of the cucumber plants (GH I, with S. aff. depilis, GH II, with N. testaceicornis), whereas the other two greenhouses (GH III, GH IV) had no bee colonies and served as control groups. Furthermore, we planted cucumbers in an open field plot (OA) where pollination by any/various visiting insects could occur. Each of the experimental areas measured 87.5 m2. Without pollination (GH III, GH IV), the plants produced a low number of cucumbers, and the fruits were smaller and less heavy than in those experimental areas where pollination occurred. In the open field area, not protected against unfavorable climatic conditions, the plants produced fewer flowers than the plants in the greenhouses. The highest cucumber yield (with the highest amount of perfect fruits) was found in those greenhouses which housed the stingless bees as pollinators (GH I, GH II). Our results demonstrate that stingless bees can be successfully and efficiently used as pollinators of greenhouse cucumbers during the winter season. PMID:19061034

  8. Pollinator shifts and the evolution of spur length in the moth-pollinated orchid Platanthera bifolia

    PubMed Central

    Boberg, Elin; Alexandersson, Ronny; Jonsson, Magdalena; Maad, Johanne; Ågren, Jon; Nilsson, L. Anders

    2014-01-01

    Background and Aims Plant–pollinator interactions are thought to have shaped much of floral evolution. Yet the relative importance of pollinator shifts and coevolutionary interactions for among-population variation in floral traits in animal-pollinated species is poorly known. This study examined the adaptive significance of spur length in the moth-pollinated orchid Platanthera bifolia. Methods Geographical variation in the length of the floral spur of P. bifolia was documented in relation to variation in the pollinator fauna across Scandinavia, and a reciprocal translocation experiment was conducted in south-east Sweden between a long-spurred woodland population and a short-spurred grassland population. Key Results Spur length and pollinator fauna varied among regions and habitats, and spur length was positively correlated with the proboscis length of local pollinators. In the reciprocal translocation experiment, long-spurred woodland plants had higher pollination success than short-spurred grassland plants at the woodland site, while no significant difference was observed at the grassland site. Conclusions The results are consistent with the hypothesis that optimal floral phenotype varies with the morphology of the local pollinators, and that the evolution of spur length in P. bifolia has been largely driven by pollinator shifts. PMID:24169591

  9. A horizon scan of future threats and opportunities for pollinators and pollination

    PubMed Central

    Dicks, Lynn V.; Paxton, Robert J.; Baldock, Katherine C.R.; Barron, Andrew B.; Chauzat, Marie-Pierre; Freitas, Breno M.; Goulson, Dave; Jepsen, Sarina; Kremen, Claire; Li, Jilian; Neumann, Peter; Pattemore, David E.; Potts, Simon G.; Schweiger, Oliver; Seymour, Colleen L.; Stout, Jane C.

    2016-01-01

    Background. Pollinators, which provide the agriculturally and ecologically essential service of pollination, are under threat at a global scale. Habitat loss and homogenisation, pesticides, parasites and pathogens, invasive species, and climate change have been identified as past and current threats to pollinators. Actions to mitigate these threats, e.g., agri-environment schemes and pesticide-use moratoriums, exist, but have largely been applied post-hoc. However, future sustainability of pollinators and the service they provide requires anticipation of potential threats and opportunities before they occur, enabling timely implementation of policy and practice to prevent, rather than mitigate, further pollinator declines. Methods.Using a horizon scanning approach we identified issues that are likely to impact pollinators, either positively or negatively, over the coming three decades. Results.Our analysis highlights six high priority, and nine secondary issues. High priorities are: (1) corporate control of global agriculture, (2) novel systemic pesticides, (3) novel RNA viruses, (4) the development of new managed pollinators, (5) more frequent heatwaves and drought under climate change, and (6) the potential positive impact of reduced chemical use on pollinators in non-agricultural settings. Discussion. While current pollinator management approaches are largely driven by mitigating past impacts, we present opportunities for pre-emptive practice, legislation, and policy to sustainably manage pollinators for future generations. PMID:27602260

  10. A horizon scan of future threats and opportunities for pollinators and pollination.

    PubMed

    Brown, Mark J F; Dicks, Lynn V; Paxton, Robert J; Baldock, Katherine C R; Barron, Andrew B; Chauzat, Marie-Pierre; Freitas, Breno M; Goulson, Dave; Jepsen, Sarina; Kremen, Claire; Li, Jilian; Neumann, Peter; Pattemore, David E; Potts, Simon G; Schweiger, Oliver; Seymour, Colleen L; Stout, Jane C

    2016-01-01

    Background. Pollinators, which provide the agriculturally and ecologically essential service of pollination, are under threat at a global scale. Habitat loss and homogenisation, pesticides, parasites and pathogens, invasive species, and climate change have been identified as past and current threats to pollinators. Actions to mitigate these threats, e.g., agri-environment schemes and pesticide-use moratoriums, exist, but have largely been applied post-hoc. However, future sustainability of pollinators and the service they provide requires anticipation of potential threats and opportunities before they occur, enabling timely implementation of policy and practice to prevent, rather than mitigate, further pollinator declines. Methods.Using a horizon scanning approach we identified issues that are likely to impact pollinators, either positively or negatively, over the coming three decades. Results.Our analysis highlights six high priority, and nine secondary issues. High priorities are: (1) corporate control of global agriculture, (2) novel systemic pesticides, (3) novel RNA viruses, (4) the development of new managed pollinators, (5) more frequent heatwaves and drought under climate change, and (6) the potential positive impact of reduced chemical use on pollinators in non-agricultural settings. Discussion. While current pollinator management approaches are largely driven by mitigating past impacts, we present opportunities for pre-emptive practice, legislation, and policy to sustainably manage pollinators for future generations. PMID:27602260

  11. Effects of herbivory and inbreeding on the pollinators and mating system of Mimulus guttatus (Phrymaceae).

    PubMed

    Ivey, Christopher T; Carr, David E

    2005-10-01

    Most models of mating system evolution predict mixed mating to be unstable, although it is commonly reported from nature. Ecological interactions with mutualistic pollinators can help account for this discrepancy, but antagonists such as herbivores are also likely to play a role. In addition, inbreeding can alter ecological interactions and directly affect selfing rates, which may also contribute to maintaining mating system variation. We explored herbivore and inbreeding effects on pollinator behavior and selfing rates in Mimulus guttatus. First, individual spittlebug (Philaenus spumarius) herbivores were applied to native plants in two populations. Spittlebugs reduced flower size, increased anther-stigma distance, and increased selfing rates. A second experiment factorially crossed spittlebug treatment with inbreeding history (self- vs. cross-fertilized), using potted plants in arrays. Spittlebugs did not affect pollinator behavior, but they reduced flower size and nearly doubled the selfing rate. Inbreeding reduced the frequency of pollinator visits and increased flower-handling time, and this may be the first report that inbreeding affects pollinator behavior. Selfing rates of inbred plants were reduced by one half, which may reflect early inbreeding depression or altered pollinator behavior. The contrasting effects of herbivory and inbreeding on selfing rates may help maintain mating system variation in M. guttatus. PMID:21646081

  12. Niche partitioning due to adaptive foraging reverses effects of nestedness and connectance on pollination network stability.

    PubMed

    Valdovinos, Fernanda S; Brosi, Berry J; Briggs, Heather M; Moisset de Espanés, Pablo; Ramos-Jiliberto, Rodrigo; Martinez, Neo D

    2016-10-01

    Much research debates whether properties of ecological networks such as nestedness and connectance stabilise biological communities while ignoring key behavioural aspects of organisms within these networks. Here, we computationally assess how adaptive foraging (AF) behaviour interacts with network architecture to determine the stability of plant-pollinator networks. We find that AF reverses negative effects of nestedness and positive effects of connectance on the stability of the networks by partitioning the niches among species within guilds. This behaviour enables generalist pollinators to preferentially forage on the most specialised of their plant partners which increases the pollination services to specialist plants and cedes the resources of generalist plants to specialist pollinators. We corroborate these behavioural preferences with intensive field observations of bee foraging. Our results show that incorporating key organismal behaviours with well-known biological mechanisms such as consumer-resource interactions into the analysis of ecological networks may greatly improve our understanding of complex ecosystems. PMID:27600659

  13. Florivory and pollinator visitation: a cautionary tale.

    PubMed

    Tsuji, Kaoru; Dhami, Manpreet K; Cross, David J R; Rice, Carolyn P; Romano, Nic H; Fukami, Tadashi

    2016-01-01

    Florivory, or damage to flowers by herbivores, can make flowers less attractive to pollinators, potentially resulting in reduced plant fitness. However, not many studies have combined observations with experiments to assess the causal link between florivory and pollination. We conducted field observations at eight sites in northern California, combined with field experiments that involved artificial floral damage, to study the effect of florivory on pollination in the hummingbird-pollinated sticky monkeyflower, Mimulus aurantiacus We used two indicators of pollinator visitation, stigma closure and the presence of microorganisms in floral nectar. The field observations revealed that stigma closure was less frequent in damaged flowers than in intact flowers. In the experiments, however, floral damage did not decrease stigma closure or microbial detection in nectar. Instead, neighbouring flowers were similar for both indicators. These results suggest that the observed negative association between florivory and pollination is not causal and that the location of flowers is more important to pollinator visitation than florivory in these populations of M. aurantiacus. PMID:27178063

  14. Florivory and pollinator visitation: a cautionary tale

    PubMed Central

    Tsuji, Kaoru; Dhami, Manpreet K.; Cross, David J.R.; Rice, Carolyn P.; Romano, Nic H.; Fukami, Tadashi

    2016-01-01

    Florivory, or damage to flowers by herbivores, can make flowers less attractive to pollinators, potentially resulting in reduced plant fitness. However, not many studies have combined observations with experiments to assess the causal link between florivory and pollination. We conducted field observations at eight sites in northern California, combined with field experiments that involved artificial floral damage, to study the effect of florivory on pollination in the hummingbird-pollinated sticky monkeyflower, Mimulus aurantiacus. We used two indicators of pollinator visitation, stigma closure and the presence of microorganisms in floral nectar. The field observations revealed that stigma closure was less frequent in damaged flowers than in intact flowers. In the experiments, however, floral damage did not decrease stigma closure or microbial detection in nectar. Instead, neighbouring flowers were similar for both indicators. These results suggest that the observed negative association between florivory and pollination is not causal and that the location of flowers is more important to pollinator visitation than florivory in these populations of M. aurantiacus. PMID:27178063

  15. Modularity, pollination systems, and interaction turnover in plant-pollinator networks across space.

    PubMed

    Carstensen, Daniel W; Sabatino, Malena; Morellato, Leonor Patricia C

    2016-05-01

    Mutualistic interaction networks have been shown to be structurally conserved over space and time while pairwise interactions show high variability. In such networks, modularity is the division of species into compartments, or modules, where species within modules share more interactions with each other than they do with species from other modules. Such a modular structure is common in mutualistic networks and several evolutionary and ecological mechanisms have been proposed as underlying drivers. One prominent explanation is the existence of pollination syndromes where flowers tend to attract certain pollinators as determined by a set of traits. We investigate the modularity of seven community level plant-pollinator networks sampled in rupestrian grasslands, or campos rupestres, in SE Brazil. Defining pollination systems as corresponding groups of flower syndromes and pollinator functional groups, we test the two hypotheses that (1) interacting species from the same pollination system are more often assigned to the same module than interacting species from different pollination systems and; that (2) interactions between species from the same pollination system are more consistent across space than interactions between species from different pollination systems. Specifically we ask (1) whether networks are consistently modular across space; (2) whether interactions among species of the same pollination system occur more often inside modules, compared to interactions among species of different pollination systems, and finally; (3) whether the spatial variation in interaction identity, i.e., spatial interaction rewiring, is affected by trait complementarity among species as indicated by pollination systems. We confirm that networks are consistently modular across space and that interactions within pollination systems principally occur inside modules. Despite a strong tendency, we did not find a significant effect of pollination systems on the spatial consistency of

  16. Pollination by passerine birds: why are the nectars so dilute?

    PubMed

    Nicolson, Susan W

    2002-04-01

    Bird-pollinated flowers are known to secrete relatively dilute nectars (with concentrations averaging 20-25% w/w). Many southern African plants that are pollinated by passerine birds produce nectars with little or no sucrose. Moreover, these hexose nectars are extremely dilute (10-15%). This suggests a link between sugar composition and nectar concentration. Nectar originates from sucrose-rich phloem sap, and the proportion of monosaccharides depends on the presence and activity of invertase in the nectary. Hydrolysis of sucrose increases nectar osmolality and the resulting water influx can potentially convert a 30% sucrose nectar into a 20% hexose nectar, with a 1.56 times increase in volume. Hydrolysis may also increase the gradient for sucrose transport and thus the rate of sugar secretion. When sucrose content and refractometer data were compared, some significant correlations were seen, but the occurrence of sucrose-rich or hexose-rich nectars can also be explained on phylogenetic grounds (e.g. Erythrina and Protea). Hexose nectars may be abundant enough to drip from open flowers, but evaporation leads to much variability in nectar concentration and increases the choices available to pollinators. PMID:11923080

  17. Climate-associated phenological advances in bee pollinators and bee-pollinated plants.

    PubMed

    Bartomeus, Ignasi; Ascher, John S; Wagner, David; Danforth, Bryan N; Colla, Sheila; Kornbluth, Sarah; Winfree, Rachael

    2011-12-20

    The phenology of many ecological processes is modulated by temperature, making them potentially sensitive to climate change. Mutualistic interactions may be especially vulnerable because of the potential for phenological mismatching if the species involved do not respond similarly to changes in temperature. Here we present an analysis of climate-associated shifts in the phenology of wild bees, the most important pollinators worldwide, and compare these shifts to published studies of bee-pollinated plants over the same time period. We report that over the past 130 y, the phenology of 10 bee species from northeastern North America has advanced by a mean of 10.4 ± 1.3 d. Most of this advance has taken place since 1970, paralleling global temperature increases. When the best available data are used to estimate analogous rates of advance for plants, these rates are not distinguishable from those of bees, suggesting that bee emergence is keeping pace with shifts in host-plant flowering, at least among the generalist species that we investigated. PMID:22143794

  18. Transcriptome Profiling Reveals the Regulatory Mechanism Underlying Pollination Dependent and Parthenocarpic Fruit Set Mainly Mediated by Auxin and Gibberellin

    PubMed Central

    Tang, Ning; Deng, Wei; Hu, Guojian; Hu, Nan; Li, Zhengguo

    2015-01-01

    Background Fruit set is a key process for crop production in tomato which occurs after successful pollination and fertilization naturally. However, parthenocarpic fruit development can be uncoupled from fertilization triggered by exogenous auxin or gibberellins (GAs). Global transcriptome knowledge during fruit initiation would help to characterize the molecular mechanisms by which these two hormones regulate pollination-dependent and -independent fruit set. Principal Findings In this work, digital gene expression tag profiling (DGE) technology was applied to compare the transcriptomes from pollinated and 2, 4-D/GA3-treated ovaries. Activation of carbohydrate metabolism, cell division and expansion as well as the down-regulation of MADS-box is a comprehensive regulatory pathway during pollination-dependent and parthenocarpic fruit set. The signaling cascades of auxin and GA are significantly modulated. The feedback regulations of Aux/IAAs and DELLA genes which functioned to fine-tune auxin and GA response respectively play fundamental roles in triggering fruit initiation. In addition, auxin regulates GA synthesis via up-regulation of GA20ox1 and down-regulation of KNOX. Accordingly, the effect of auxin on fruit set is mediated by GA via ARF2 and IAA9 down-regulation, suggesting that both pollination-dependent and parthenocarpic fruit set depend on the crosstalk between auxin and GA. Significance This study characterizes the transcriptomic features of ovary development and more importantly unravels the integral roles of auxin and GA on pollination-dependent and parthenocarpic fruit set. PMID:25909657

  19. Fruiting Strategies of Perennial Plants: A Resource Budget Model to Couple Mast Seeding to Pollination Efficiency and Resource Allocation Strategies.

    PubMed

    Venner, Samuel; Siberchicot, Aurélie; Pélisson, Pierre-François; Schermer, Eliane; Bel-Venner, Marie-Claude; Nicolas, Manuel; Débias, François; Miele, Vincent; Sauzet, Sandrine; Boulanger, Vincent; Delzon, Sylvain

    2016-07-01

    Masting, a breeding strategy common in perennial plants, is defined by seed production that is highly variable over years and synchronized at the population level. Resource budget models (RBMs) proposed that masting relies on two processes: (i) the depletion of plant reserves following high fruiting levels, which leads to marked temporal fluctuations in fruiting; and (ii) outcross pollination that synchronizes seed crops among neighboring trees. We revisited the RBM approach to examine the extent to which masting could be impacted by the degree of pollination efficiency, by taking into account various logistic relationships between pollination success and pollen availability. To link masting to other reproductive traits, we split the reserve depletion coefficient into three biological parameters related to resource allocation strategies for flowering and fruiting. While outcross pollination is considered to be the key mechanism that synchronizes fruiting in RBMs, our model counterintuitively showed that intense masting should arise under low-efficiency pollination. When pollination is very efficient, medium-level masting may occur, provided that the costs of female flowering (relative to pollen production) and of fruiting (maximum fruit set and fruit size) are both very high. Our work highlights the powerful framework of RBMs, which include explicit biological parameters, to link fruiting dynamics to various reproductive traits and to provide new insights into the reproductive strategies of perennial plants. PMID:27322122

  20. Turbulence-induced resonance vibrations cause pollen release in wind-pollinated Plantago lanceolata L. (Plantaginaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Timerman, David; Greene, David F.; Urzay, Javier; Ackerman, Josef D.

    2014-01-01

    In wind pollination, the release of pollen from anthers into airflows determines the quantity and timing of pollen available for pollination. Despite the ecological and evolutionary importance of pollen release, wind–stamen interactions are poorly understood, as are the specific forces that deliver pollen grains into airflows. We present empirical evidence that atmospheric turbulence acts directly on stamens in the cosmopolitan, wind-pollinated weed, Plantago lanceolata, causing resonant vibrations that release episodic bursts of pollen grains. In laboratory experiments, we show that stamens have mechanical properties corresponding to theoretically predicted ranges for turbulence-driven resonant vibrations. The mechanical excitation of stamens at their characteristic resonance frequency caused them to resonate, shedding pollen vigorously. The characteristic natural frequency of the stamens increased over time with each shedding episode due to the reduction in anther mass, which increased the mechanical energy required to trigger subsequent episodes. Field observations of a natural population under turbulent wind conditions were consistent with these laboratory results and demonstrated that pollen is released from resonating stamens excited by small eddies whose turnover periods are similar to the characteristic resonance frequency measured in the laboratory. Turbulence-driven vibration of stamens at resonance may be a primary mechanism for pollen shedding in wind-pollinated angiosperms. The capacity to release pollen in wind can be viewed as a primary factor distinguishing animal- from wind-pollinated plants, and selection on traits such as the damping ratio and flexural rigidity may be of consequence in evolutionary transitions between pollination systems. PMID:25297315

  1. Orthoptera, a new order of pollinator

    PubMed Central

    Micheneau, Claire; Fournel, Jacques; Warren, Ben H.; Hugel, Sylvain; Gauvin-Bialecki, Anne; Pailler, Thierry; Strasberg, Dominique; Chase, Mark W.

    2010-01-01

    Background and Aims Pollinator-mediated selection and evolution of floral traits have long fascinated evolutionary ecologists. No other plant family shows as wide a range of pollinator-linked floral forms as Orchidaceae. In spite of the large size of this model family and a long history of orchid pollination biology, the identity and specificity of most orchid pollinators remains inadequately studied, especially in the tropics where the family has undergone extensive diversification. Angraecum (Vandeae, Epidendroideae), a large genus of tropical Old World orchids renowned for their floral morphology specialized for hawkmoth pollination, has been a model system since the time of Darwin. Methods The pollination biology of A. cadetii, an endemic species of the islands of Mauritius and Reunion (Mascarene Islands, Indian Ocean) displaying atypical flowers for the genus (white and medium-size, but short-spurred) was investigated. Natural pollinators were observed by means of hard-disk camcorders. Pollinator-linked floral traits, namely spur length, nectar volume and concentration and scent production were also investigated. Pollinator efficiency (pollen removal and deposition) and reproductive success (fruit set) were quantified in natural field conditions weekly during the 2003, 2004 and 2005 flowering seasons (January to March). Key Results Angraecum cadetii is self-compatible but requires a pollinator to achieve fruit set. Only one pollinator species was observed, an undescribed species of raspy cricket (Gryllacrididae, Orthoptera). These crickets, which are nocturnal foragers, reached flowers by climbing up leaves of the orchid or jumping across from neighbouring plants and probed the most ‘fresh-looking’ flowers on each plant. Visits to flowers were relatively long (if compared with the behaviour of birds or hawkmoths), averaging 16·5 s with a maximum of 41·0 s. At the study site of La Plaine des Palmistes (Pandanus forest), 46·5 % of flowers had pollen

  2. Flower volatiles, crop varieties and bee responses.

    PubMed

    Klatt, Björn K; Burmeister, Carina; Westphal, Catrin; Tscharntke, Teja; von Fragstein, Maximilian; von Fragstein, Maximillian

    2013-01-01

    Pollination contributes to an estimated one third of global food production, through both the improvement of the yield and the quality of crops. Volatile compounds emitted by crop flowers mediate plant-pollinator interactions, but differences between crop varieties are still little explored. We investigated whether the visitation of crop flowers is determined by variety-specific flower volatiles using strawberry varieties (Fragaria x ananassa Duchesne) and how this affects the pollination services of the wild bee Osmia bicornis L. Flower volatile compounds of three strawberry varieties were measured via headspace collection. Gas chromatography showed that the three strawberry varieties produced the same volatile compounds but with quantitative differences of the total amount of volatiles and between distinct compounds. Electroantennographic recordings showed that inexperienced females of Osmia bicornis had higher antennal responses to all volatile compounds than to controls of air and paraffin oil, however responses differed between compounds. The variety Sonata was found to emit a total higher level of volatiles and also higher levels of most of the compounds that evoked antennal responses compared with the other varieties Honeoye and Darselect. Sonata also received more flower visits from Osmia bicornis females under field conditions, compared with Honeoye. Our results suggest that differences in the emission of flower volatile compounds among strawberry varieties mediate their attractiveness to females of Osmia bicornis. Since quality and quantity of marketable fruits depend on optimal pollination, a better understanding of the role of flower volatiles in crop production is required and should be considered more closely in crop-variety breeding. PMID:23977347

  3. Flower constancy in insect pollinators

    PubMed Central

    Ratnieks, Francis L.W.

    2011-01-01

    As first noted by Aristotle in honeybee workers, many insect pollinators show a preference to visit flowers of just one species during a foraging trip. This “flower constancy” probably benefits plants, because pollen is more likely to be deposited on conspecific stigmas. But it is less clear why insects should ignore rewarding alternative flowers. Many researchers have argued that flower constancy is caused by constraints imposed by insect nervous systems rather than because flower constancy is itself an efficient foraging method. We argue that this view is unsatisfactory because it both fails to explain why foragers flexibly adjust the degree of flower constancy and does not explain why foragers of closely related species show different degrees of constancy. While limitations of the nervous system exist and are likely to influence flower constancy to some degree, the observed behavioural flexibility suggests that flower constancy is a successful foraging strategy given the insect’s own information about different foraging options. PMID:22446521

  4. Spinosad toxicity to pollinators and associated risk.

    PubMed

    Mayes, Monte A; Thompson, Gary D; Husband, Brian; Miles, Mark M

    2003-01-01

    Spinosad is a natural insecticide derived from an actinomycete bacterium species, Saccharopolyspora spinosa (Mertz and Yao 1990), that displays the efficacy of a synthetic insecticide. It consists of the two most active metabolites, designated spinosyn A and D. Both spinosyns are readily degraded in moist aerobic soil, and field dissipation, which is quite rapid (half-life, 0.3-0.5 d) can be attributed to photolysis or a combination of metabolism and photolysis. Spinosad causes neurological effects in insects that are consistent with the general activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors but by a mechanism that is novel among known insecticide compounds. Spinosad has a high level of efficacy for lepidopteran larvae, as well as some Diptera, Coleoptera, Thysanoptera, and Hymenoptera, but has limited to no activity to other insects and exhibits low toxicity to mammals and other wildlife. Although spinosad has low toxicity to most beneficial insects, initial acute laboratory tests indicated that spinosad is intrinsically toxic to pollinators. The hazard of spinosad to bees was evaluated using a tiered approach. Initial acute laboratory exposures were conducted, followed by toxicity of residues of spinosad on treated foliage, greenhouse studies to assess acute as well as chronic toxicity, confined field assessments, and finally full field studies using a variety of crops under typical use conditions. These data were used to assess the potential of adverse effects on foraging bees following the use of spinosad. This research has clearly demonstrated that spinosad residues that have been allowed to dry for 3 hr are not acutely harmful to honeybees when low-volume and ultralow-volume sprays are used. Further, glasshouse and semifield studies have demonstrated that dried residues are not acutely toxic, and although pollen and nectar from sprayed plants may have transient effects on brood development, the residues do not overtly affect hive viability of either the

  5. Assessing Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Foraging Populations and the Potential Impact of Pesticides on Eight U.S. Crops.

    PubMed

    Frazier, Maryann T; Mullin, Chris A; Frazier, Jim L; Ashcraft, Sara A; Leslie, Tim W; Mussen, Eric C; Drummond, Frank A

    2015-10-01

    Beekeepers who use honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) for crop pollination services, or have colonies making honey on or in close proximity to agricultural crops, are concerned about the reductions of colony foragers and ultimate weakening of their colonies. Pesticide exposure is a potential factor in the loss of foragers. During 2009-2010, we assessed changes in the field force populations of 9-10 colonies at one location per crop on each of the eight crops by counting departing foragers leaving colonies at regular intervals during the respective crop blooming periods. The number of frames of adult bees was counted before and after bloom period. For pesticide analysis, we collected dead and dying bees near the hives, returning foragers, crop flowers, trapped pollen, and corn-flowers associated with the cotton crop. The number of departing foragers changed over time in all crops except almonds; general patterns in foraging activity included declines (cotton), noticeable peaks and declines (alfalfa, blueberries, cotton, corn, and pumpkins), and increases (apples and cantaloupes). The number of adult bee frames increased or remained stable in all crops except alfalfa and cotton. A total of 53 different pesticide residues were identified in samples collected across eight crops. Hazard quotients (HQ) were calculated for the combined residues for all crop-associated samples and separately for samples of dead and dying bees. A decrease in the number of departing foragers in cotton was one of the most substantial crop-associated impacts and presented the highest pesticide risk estimated by a summed pesticide residue HQ. PMID:26453703

  6. Assessing Honey Bee (Hymenoptera: Apidae) Foraging Populations and the Potential Impact of Pesticides on Eight U.S. Crops

    PubMed Central

    Frazier, Maryann T.; Mullin, Chris A.; Frazier, Jim L.; Ashcraft, Sara A.; Leslie, Tim W.; Mussen, Eric C.; Drummond, Frank A.

    2015-01-01

    Beekeepers who use honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) for crop pollination services, or have colonies making honey on or in close proximity to agricultural crops, are concerned about the reductions of colony foragers and ultimate weakening of their colonies. Pesticide exposure is a potential factor in the loss of foragers. During 2009–2010, we assessed changes in the field force populations of 9–10 colonies at one location per crop on each of the eight crops by counting departing foragers leaving colonies at regular intervals during the respective crop blooming periods. The number of frames of adult bees was counted before and after bloom period. For pesticide analysis, we collected dead and dying bees near the hives, returning foragers, crop flowers, trapped pollen, and corn-flowers associated with the cotton crop. The number of departing foragers changed over time in all crops except almonds; general patterns in foraging activity included declines (cotton), noticeable peaks and declines (alfalfa, blueberries, cotton, corn, and pumpkins), and increases (apples and cantaloupes). The number of adult bee frames increased or remained stable in all crops except alfalfa and cotton. A total of 53 different pesticide residues were identified in samples collected across eight crops. Hazard quotients (HQ) were calculated for the combined residues for all crop-associated samples and separately for samples of dead and dying bees. A decrease in the number of departing foragers in cotton was one of the most substantial crop-associated impacts and presented the highest pesticide risk estimated by a summed pesticide residue HQ. PMID:26453703

  7. Insect Pollinators in Iowa Cornfields: Community Identification and Trapping Method Analysis

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    Availability of mass flowering plants in landscapes dominated by agriculture can have a strong positive impact on the density of generalist, native pollinators. Row-crop production in Iowa accounts for 75% of the arable acres, with corn, Zea mays, representing the majority of hectares planted. To date, there has been no description of the insect pollinator community found within Iowa cornfields. We report a field study to determine the optimal sampling methodology to characterize the community of insect pollinators within cornfields. During 2012 and 2013, 3,616 insect pollinators representing 51 species were captured using bee bowls, and 945 individuals representing 10 species were captured using sticky cards. We examined the effects of trap type, height, and bowl color on the described community. Bee bowls captured a more abundant and species rich community than sticky cards with all species captured on sticky cards also present in bee bowls. Traps deployed at the height of the tassels describe a more abundant and species rich community of pollinators than traps at ear height (2x as many individuals) or ground height (4x as many individuals). Blue bowls captured more bees than white (2.75x as many individuals) or yellow bowls (3.5x as many individuals); and yellow bowls captured more flies than white (2x as many individuals) or blue (2.3x as many individuals). To provide the most complete description of the community of insect pollinators using cornfields as a resource, we suggest sampling-using bee bowls at the height of the tassels using all three bee bowl colors. PMID:27459648

  8. Insect Pollinators in Iowa Cornfields: Community Identification and Trapping Method Analysis.

    PubMed

    Wheelock, M J; O'Neal, M E

    2016-01-01

    Availability of mass flowering plants in landscapes dominated by agriculture can have a strong positive impact on the density of generalist, native pollinators. Row-crop production in Iowa accounts for 75% of the arable acres, with corn, Zea mays, representing the majority of hectares planted. To date, there has been no description of the insect pollinator community found within Iowa cornfields. We report a field study to determine the optimal sampling methodology to characterize the community of insect pollinators within cornfields. During 2012 and 2013, 3,616 insect pollinators representing 51 species were captured using bee bowls, and 945 individuals representing 10 species were captured using sticky cards. We examined the effects of trap type, height, and bowl color on the described community. Bee bowls captured a more abundant and species rich community than sticky cards with all species captured on sticky cards also present in bee bowls. Traps deployed at the height of the tassels describe a more abundant and species rich community of pollinators than traps at ear height (2x as many individuals) or ground height (4x as many individuals). Blue bowls captured more bees than white (2.75x as many individuals) or yellow bowls (3.5x as many individuals); and yellow bowls captured more flies than white (2x as many individuals) or blue (2.3x as many individuals). To provide the most complete description of the community of insect pollinators using cornfields as a resource, we suggest sampling-using bee bowls at the height of the tassels using all three bee bowl colors. PMID:27459648

  9. Multitasking in a plant-ant interaction: how does Acacia myrtifolia manage both ants and pollinators?

    PubMed

    Martínez-Bauer, Angélica E; Martínez, Gerardo Cerón; Murphy, Daniel J; Burd, Martin

    2015-06-01

    Plant associations with protective ants are widespread among angiosperms, but carry the risk that ants will deter pollinators as well as herbivores. Such conflict, and adaptations to ameliorate or prevent the conflict, have been documented in African and neotropical acacias. Ant-acacia associations occur in Australia, but little is known of their ecology. Moreover, recent phylogenetic evidence indicates that Australian acacias are only distantly related to African and American acacias, providing an intercontinental natural experiment in the management of ant-pollinator conflict. We examined four populations of Acacia myrtifolia over a 400-km environmental gradient in southeastern Australia using ant and pollinator exclusion as well as direct observation of ants and pollinators to assess the potential for ant-pollinator conflict to affect seed set. Native bees were the only group of floral visitors whose visitation rates were a significant predictor of fruiting success, although beetles and wasps may play an important role as "insurance" pollinators. We found no increase in pollinator visitation or fruiting success following ant exclusion, even with large sample sizes and effective exclusion. Because ants are facultative visitors to A. myrtifolia plants, their presence may be insufficient to interfere greatly with floral visitors. It is also likely that the morphological location of extrafloral nectaries tends to draw ants away from reproductive parts, although we commonly observed ants on inflorescences, so the spatial separation is not strict. A. myrtifolia appears to maintain a generalized mutualism over a wide geographic range without the need for elaborate adaptations to resolve ant-pollinator conflict. PMID:25571873

  10. Minimal Effects of an Invasive Flowering Shrub on the Pollinator Community of Native Forbs

    PubMed Central

    Chung, Y. Anny; Burkle, Laura A.; Knight, Tiffany M.

    2014-01-01

    Biological invasions can strongly influence species interactions such as pollination. Most of the documented effects of exotic plant species on plant-pollinator interactions have been observational studies using single pairs of native and exotic plants, and have focused on dominant exotic plant species. We know little about how exotic plants alter interactions in entire communities of plants and pollinators, especially at low to medium invader densities. In this study, we began to address these gaps by experimentally removing the flowers of a showy invasive shrub, Rosa multiflora, and evaluating its effects on the frequency, richness, and composition of bee visitors to co-flowering native plants. We found that while R. multiflora increased plot-level richness of bee visitors to co-flowering native plant species at some sites, its presence had no significant effects on bee visitation rate, visitor richness, bee community composition, or abundance overall. In addition, we found that compared to co-flowering natives, R. multiflora was a generalist plant that primarily received visits from generalist bee species shared with native plant species. Our results suggest that exotic plants such as R. multiflora may facilitate native plant pollination in a community context by attracting a more diverse assemblage of pollinators, but have limited and idiosyncratic effects on the resident plant-pollinator network in general. PMID:25343718

  11. Pollinator Interactions with Yellow Starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis) across Urban, Agricultural, and Natural Landscapes

    PubMed Central

    Leong, Misha; Kremen, Claire; Roderick, George K.

    2014-01-01

    Pollinator-plant relationships are found to be particularly vulnerable to land use change. Yet despite extensive research in agricultural and natural systems, less attention has focused on these interactions in neighboring urban areas and its impact on pollination services. We investigated pollinator-plant interactions in a peri-urban landscape on the outskirts of the San Francisco Bay Area, California, where urban, agricultural, and natural land use types interface. We made standardized observations of floral visitation and measured seed set of yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis), a common grassland invasive, to test the hypotheses that increasing urbanization decreases 1) rates of bee visitation, 2) viable seed set, and 3) the efficiency of pollination (relationship between bee visitation and seed set). We unexpectedly found that bee visitation was highest in urban and agricultural land use contexts, but in contrast, seed set rates in these human-altered landscapes were lower than in natural sites. An explanation for the discrepancy between floral visitation and seed set is that higher plant diversity in urban and agricultural areas, as a result of more introduced species, decreases pollinator efficiency. If these patterns are consistent across other plant species, the novel plant communities created in these managed landscapes and the generalist bee species that are favored by human-altered environments will reduce pollination services. PMID:24466050

  12. Convergent recruitment of new pollinators is triggered by independent hybridization events in Narcissus.

    PubMed

    Marques, Isabel; Jürgens, Andreas; Aguilar, Javier Fuertes; Feliner, Gonzalo Nieto

    2016-04-01

    Hybridization can generate new species if some degree of isolation prevents gene flow between the hybrids and their progenitors. The recruitment of novel pollinators by hybrids has been hypothesized to be one way in which such reproductive isolation can be achieved. We tested whether pollinators contributed to isolation between two natural Narcissus hybrids and their progenitors using pollination experiments, observations, plus morphological and floral-volatile measurements. These hybrids share the same maternal but different paternal progenitors. We found that only the hybrids were visited by and pollinated by ants. The two hybrids exceeded their progenitors in floral-tube aperture size and nectar production. The emission of floral volatiles by hybrid plants was not only equal to or higher than the progenitor species, but also contained some new compounds not produced by the progenitors. The recruitment of ants as novel pollinators in the hybrids involved the combination of increased nectar secretion and the production of novel floral scent compounds. A breakdown of chemical defence against ants may also be involved. This study provides support for the hypothesis that the recruitment of novel pollinators can contribute to reproductive isolation between hybrids and their progenitors. PMID:26738752

  13. Linkage Rules for Plant–Pollinator Networks: Trait Complementarity or Exploitation Barriers?

    PubMed Central

    Santamaría, Luis; Rodríguez-Gironés, Miguel A

    2007-01-01

    Recent attempts to examine the biological processes responsible for the general characteristics of mutualistic networks focus on two types of explanations: nonmatching biological attributes of species that prevent the occurrence of certain interactions (“forbidden links”), arising from trait complementarity in mutualist networks (as compared to barriers to exploitation in antagonistic ones), and random interactions among individuals that are proportional to their abundances in the observed community (“neutrality hypothesis”). We explored the consequences that simple linkage rules based on the first two hypotheses (complementarity of traits versus barriers to exploitation) had on the topology of plant–pollination networks. Independent of the linkage rules used, the inclusion of a small set of traits (two to four) sufficed to account for the complex topological patterns observed in real-world networks. Optimal performance was achieved by a “mixed model” that combined rules that link plants and pollinators whose trait ranges overlap (“complementarity models”) and rules that link pollinators to flowers whose traits are below a pollinator-specific barrier value (“barrier models”). Deterrence of floral parasites (barrier model) is therefore at least as important as increasing pollination efficiency (complementarity model) in the evolutionary shaping of plant–pollinator networks. PMID:17253905

  14. Nectar bacteria, but not yeast, weaken a plant–pollinator mutualism

    PubMed Central

    Vannette, Rachel L.; Gauthier, Marie-Pierre L.; Fukami, Tadashi

    2013-01-01

    Mutualistic interactions are often subject to exploitation by species that are not directly involved in the mutualism. Understanding which organisms act as such ‘third-party’ species and how they do so is a major challenge in the current study of mutualistic interactions. Here, we show that even species that appear ecologically similar can have contrasting effects as third-party species. We experimentally compared the effects of nectar-inhabiting bacteria and yeasts on the strength of a mutualism between a hummingbird-pollinated shrub, Mimulus aurantiacus, and its pollinators. We found that the common bacterium Gluconobacter sp., but not the common yeast Metschnikowia reukaufii, reduced pollination success, seed set and nectar consumption by pollinators, thereby weakening the plant–pollinator mutualism. We also found that the bacteria reduced nectar pH and total sugar concentration more greatly than the yeasts did and that the bacteria decreased glucose concentration and increased fructose concentration whereas the yeasts affected neither. These distinct changes to nectar chemistry may underlie the microbes' contrasting effects on the mutualism. Our results suggest that it is necessary to understand the determinants of microbial species composition in nectar and their differential modification of floral rewards to explain the mutual benefits that plants and pollinators gain from each other. PMID:23222453

  15. Linkage rules for plant-pollinator networks: trait complementarity or exploitation barriers?

    PubMed

    Santamaría, Luis; Rodríguez-Gironés, Miguel A

    2007-02-01

    Recent attempts to examine the biological processes responsible for the general characteristics of mutualistic networks focus on two types of explanations: nonmatching biological attributes of species that prevent the occurrence of certain interactions ("forbidden links"), arising from trait complementarity in mutualist networks (as compared to barriers to exploitation in antagonistic ones), and random interactions among individuals that are proportional to their abundances in the observed community ("neutrality hypothesis"). We explored the consequences that simple linkage rules based on the first two hypotheses (complementarity of traits versus barriers to exploitation) had on the topology of plant-pollination networks. Independent of the linkage rules used, the inclusion of a small set of traits (two to four) sufficed to account for the complex topological patterns observed in real-world networks. Optimal performance was achieved by a "mixed model" that combined rules that link plants and pollinators whose trait ranges overlap ("complementarity models") and rules that link pollinators to flowers whose traits are below a pollinator-specific barrier value ("barrier models"). Deterrence of floral parasites (barrier model) is therefore at least as important as increasing pollination efficiency (complementarity model) in the evolutionary shaping of plant-pollinator networks. PMID:17253905

  16. Pollinators of Oxypetalum (Asclepiadaceae) in southeastern Brazil.

    PubMed

    Vieira, M F; Shepherd, G J

    1999-11-01

    Floral visitors of seven species of Oxypetalum were registered in Viçosa, State of Minas Gerais. O. appendiculatum, O. banksii subsp, banksii, O. alpinumn var. alpinum and O. pachyglossum are pollinated by wasps, being Polybia ignobilis (Vespidae) a pollinator of these four species. It seems that P ignobilis promotes interspecific pollinations mainly between O. alpinum var. alpinum and O. pachyglossum, two species with very similar floral morphology. O. jacobinae, O. mexiae and O. subriparium are pollinated by bees. Wasps and bees carry one, two, three or several pollinaria in the mouthparts. O. mexiae, an endemic species in Viçosa, seems to present reproductive limitations, since its flowers are seldom visited. PMID:23505657

  17. Testing hypotheses for excess flower production and low fruit-to-flower ratios in a pollinating seed-consuming mutualism

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Holland, J. Nathaniel; Bronstein, Judith L.; DeAngelis, Donald L.

    2004-01-01

    Pollinator attraction, pollen limitation, resource limitation, pollen donation and selective fruit abortion have all been proposed as processes explaining why hermaphroditic plants commonly produce many more flowers than mature fruit. We conducted a series of experiments in Arizona to investigate low fruit-to-flower ratios in senita cacti, which rely exclusively on pollinating seed-consumers. Selective abortion of fruit based on seed predators is of particular interest in this case because plants relying on pollinating seed-consumers are predicted to have such a mechanism to minimize seed loss. Pollinator attraction and pollen dispersal increased with flower number, but fruit set did not, refuting the hypothesis that excess flowers increase fruit set by attracting more pollinators. Fruit set of natural- and hand-pollinated flowers were not different, supporting the resource, rather than pollen, limitation hypothesis. Senita did abort fruit, but not selectively based on pollen quantity, pollen donors, or seed predators. Collectively, these results are consistent with sex allocation theory in that resource allocation to excess flower production can increase pollen dispersal and the male fitness function of flowers, but consequently results in reduced resources available for fruit set. Inconsistent with sex allocation theory, however, fruit production and the female fitness function of flowers may actually increase with flower production. This is because excess flower production lowers pollinator-to-flower ratios and results in fruit abortion, both of which limit the abundance and hence oviposition rates, of pre-dispersal seed predators.

  18. Tropical forest fragmentation limits pollination of a keystone understory herb.

    PubMed

    Hadley, Adam S; Frey, Sarah J K; Robinson, W Douglas; Kress, W John; Betts, Matthew G

    2014-08-01

    Loss of native vegetation cover is thought to be a major driver of declines in pollination success worldwide. However, it is not well known whether reducing the fragmentation of remaining vegetation can ameliorate these negative effects. We tested the independent effects of composition vs. configuration on the reproductive success of a keystone tropical forest herb (Heliconia tortuosa). To do this we designed a large-scale mensurative experiment that independently varied connected forest-patch size (configuration) and surrounding amount of forest (composition). In each patch, we tested whether pollen tubes, fruit, and seed set were associated with these landscape variables. We also captured hummingbirds as an indication of pollinator availability in a subset of patches according to the same design. We found evidence for an effect of configuration on seed set of H. tortuosa, but not on other aspects of plant reproduction; proportion of seeds produced increased 40% across the gradient in patch size we observed (0.64 to > 1300 ha), independent of the amount of forest in the surrounding landscape at both local and landscape scales. We also found that the availability of pollinators was dependent upon forest configuration; hummingbird capture rates increased three and one-half times across the patch size gradient, independent of forest amount. Finally, pollinator availability was strongly positively correlated with seed set. We hypothesize that the effects of configuration on plant fitness that we observed are due to reduced pollen quality resulting from altered hummingbird availability and/or movement behavior. Our results suggest that prioritizing larger patches of tropical forest may be particularly important for conservation of this species. PMID:25230471

  19. Pollinator recognition by a keystone tropical plant

    PubMed Central

    Betts, Matthew G.; Hadley, Adam S.; Kress, W. John

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the mechanisms enabling coevolution in complex mutualistic networks remains a central challenge in evolutionary biology. We show for the first time, to our knowledge, that a tropical plant species has the capacity to discriminate among floral visitors, investing in reproduction differentially across the pollinator community. After we standardized pollen quality in 223 aviary experiments, successful pollination of Heliconia tortuosa (measured as pollen tube abundance) occurred frequently when plants were visited by long-distance traplining hummingbird species with specialized bills (x¯ pollen tubes = 1.21 ± 0.12 SE) but was reduced 5.7 times when visited by straight-billed territorial birds (x¯ pollen tubes = 0.20 ± 0.074 SE) or insects. Our subsequent experiments revealed that plants use the nectar extraction capacity of tropical hummingbirds, a positive function of bill length, as a cue to turn on reproductively. Furthermore, we show that hummingbirds with long bills and high nectar extraction efficiency engaged in daily movements at broad spatial scales (∼1 km), but that territorial species moved only short distances (<100 m). Such pollinator recognition may therefore affect mate selection and maximize receipt of high-quality pollen from multiple parents. Although a diffuse pollinator network is implied, because all six species of hummingbirds carry pollen of H. tortuosa, only two species with specialized bills contribute meaningfully to its reproduction. We hypothesize that this pollinator filtering behavior constitutes a crucial mechanism facilitating coevolution in multispecies plant–pollinator networks. However, pollinator recognition also greatly reduces the number of realized pollinators, thereby rendering mutualistic networks more vulnerable to environmental change. PMID:25733902

  20. Pollinator recognition by a keystone tropical plant.

    PubMed

    Betts, Matthew G; Hadley, Adam S; Kress, W John

    2015-03-17

    Understanding the mechanisms enabling coevolution in complex mutualistic networks remains a central challenge in evolutionary biology. We show for the first time, to our knowledge, that a tropical plant species has the capacity to discriminate among floral visitors, investing in reproduction differentially across the pollinator community. After we standardized pollen quality in 223 aviary experiments, successful pollination of Heliconia tortuosa (measured as pollen tube abundance) occurred frequently when plants were visited by long-distance traplining hummingbird species with specialized bills (mean pollen tubes = 1.21 ± 0.12 SE) but was reduced 5.7 times when visited by straight-billed territorial birds (mean pollen tubes = 0.20 ± 0.074 SE) or insects. Our subsequent experiments revealed that plants use the nectar extraction capacity of tropical hummingbirds, a positive function of bill length, as a cue to turn on reproductively. Furthermore, we show that hummingbirds with long bills and high nectar extraction efficiency engaged in daily movements at broad spatial scales (∼1 km), but that territorial species moved only short distances (<100 m). Such pollinator recognition may therefore affect mate selection and maximize receipt of high-quality pollen from multiple parents. Although a diffuse pollinator network is implied, because all six species of hummingbirds carry pollen of H. tortuosa, only two species with specialized bills contribute meaningfully to its reproduction. We hypothesize that this pollinator filtering behavior constitutes a crucial mechanism facilitating coevolution in multispecies plant-pollinator networks. However, pollinator recognition also greatly reduces the number of realized pollinators, thereby rendering mutualistic networks more vulnerable to environmental change. PMID:25733902

  1. Cloning plants by seeds: Inheritance models and candidate genes to increase fundamental knowledge for engineering apomixis in sexual crops.

    PubMed

    Pupilli, Fulvio; Barcaccia, Gianni

    2012-06-30

    Apomixis is desirable in agriculture as a reproductive strategy for cloning plants by seeds. Because embryos derive from the parthenogenic development of apomeiotic egg cells, apomixis excludes fertilization in addition to meiotic segregation and recombination, resulting in offspring that are exact replicas of the parent. Introgression of apomixis from wild relatives to crop species and transformation of sexual genotypes into apomictically reproducing ones are long-held goals of plant breeding. In fact, it is generally accepted that the introduction of apomixis into agronomically important crops will have revolutionary implications for agriculture. This review deals with the current genetic and molecular findings that have been collected from model species to elucidate the mechanisms of apomeiosis, parthenogenesis and apomixis as a whole. Our goal is to critically determine whether biotechnology can combine key genes known to control the expression of the processes miming the main components of apomixis in plants. Two natural apomicts, as the eudicot Hypericum perforatum L. (St. John's wort) and the monocot Paspalum spp. (crowngrass), and the sexual model species Arabidopsis thaliana are ideally suited for such investigations at the genomic and biotechnological levels. Some novel views and original concepts have been faced on this review, including (i) the parallel between Y-chromosome and apomixis-bearing chromosome (e.g., comparative genomic analyses revealed common features as repression of recombination events, accumulation of transposable elements and degeneration of genes) from the most primitive (Hypericum-type) to the most advanced (Paspalum-type) in evolutionary terms, and (ii) the link between apomixis and gene-specific silencing mechanisms (i.e., likely based on chromatin remodelling factors), with merging lines of evidence regarding the role of auxin in cell fate specification of embryo sac and egg cell development in Arabidopsis. The production of

  2. The mechanism of pollinator specificity between two sympatric fig varieties: a combination of olfactory signals and contact cues

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Gang; Compton, Stephen G.; Chen, Jin

    2013-01-01

    Background and Aims Pollinator specificity facilitates reproductive isolation among plants, and mechanisms that generate specificity influence species boundaries. Long-range volatile attractants, in combination with morphological co-adaptations, are generally regarded as being responsible for maintaining extreme host specificity among the fig wasps that pollinate fig trees, but increasing evidence for breakdowns in specificity is accumulating. The basis of host specificity was examined among two host-specific Ceratosolen fig wasps that pollinate two sympatric varieties of Ficus semicordata, together with the consequences for the plants when pollinators entered the alternative host variety. Methods The compositions of floral scents from receptive figs of the two varieties and responses of their pollinators to these volatiles were compared. The behaviour of the wasps once on the surface of the figs was also recorded, together with the reproductive success of figs entered by the two Ceratosolen species. Key Results The receptive-phase floral scents of the two varieties had different chemical compositions, but only one Ceratosolen species displayed a preference between them in Y-tube trials. Specificity was reinforced at a later stage, once pollinators were walking on the figs, because both species preferred to enter figs of their normal hosts. Both pollinators could enter figs of both varieties and pollinate them, but figs with extra-varietal pollen were more likely to abort and contained fewer seeds. Hybrid seeds germinated at normal rates. Conclusions Contact cues on the surface of figs have been largely ignored in previous studies of fig wasp host preferences, but together with floral scents they maintain host specificity among the pollinators of sympatric F. semicordata varieties. When pollinators enter atypical hosts, post-zygotic factors reduce but do not prevent the production of hybrid offspring, suggesting there may be gene flow between these varieties. PMID

  3. Distinct effects of pollinator dependence and self-incompatibility on pollen limitation in South African biodiversity hotspots.

    PubMed

    Rodger, James G; Ellis, Allan G

    2016-06-01

    Global synthesis indicates that limitation of plant fecundity by pollen receipt (pollen limitation) is positively related to regional plant diversity and is higher for self-incompatible than self-compatible species. While self-incompatible species are always dependent on pollinating agents, self-compatible species may be pollinator-dependent or autofertile. This should cause variation in pollen limitation among self-compatible species, with lower pollen limitation in autofertile species because they do not depend on pollinators. We hypothesized that the intensity of pollen limitation in self-incompatible compared with pollinator-dependent self-compatible species should depend on whether pollen limitation is determined more by quantity than quality of pollen received. We compared pollen limitation between these three groups using a dataset of 70 biotically pollinated species from biodiverse regions of South Africa. Comparison with a global dataset indicated that pollen limitation in the South African biodiversity hotspots was generally comparable to other regions, despite expectations of higher pollen limitation based on the global plant diversity-pollen limitation relationship. Pollen limitation was lowest for autofertile species, as expected. It was also higher for pollinator-dependent self-compatible species than self-incompatible species, consistent with increased pollen-quality limitation in the former group due to negative consequences of pollinator-mediated self-pollination. However, there was a higher frequency of plants with zygomorphic flowers, which were also more pollen-limited, among pollinator-dependent self-compatible species. Thus, we could not attribute this difference in pollen limitation exclusively to a difference in pollen quality. Nevertheless, our results indicate that comparative studies should control for both pollinator dependence and self-incompatiblity when evaluating effects of other factors on pollen limitation. PMID:27277954

  4. Breaking-bud pollination: a new pollination process in partially opened flowers by small bees.

    PubMed

    Yamaji, Futa; Ohsawa, Takeshi A

    2015-09-01

    Plant-pollinator interactions have usually been researched in flowers that have fully opened. However, some pollinators can visit flowers before full opening and contribute to fruit and seed sets. In this paper, we rese