Data from: Tropical forest fragmentation limits movements, but not occurrence of a generalist pollinator species
Volpe, Noelia L. et al. (2017), Data from: Tropical forest fragmentation limits movements, but not occurrence of a generalist pollinator species, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.65j02
Habitat loss and fragmentation influence species distributions and therefore ecological processes that depend upon them. Pollination may be particularly susceptible to fragmentation, as it depends on frequent pollinator movement. Unfortunately, most pollinators are too small to track efficiently which has precluded testing the hypothesis that habitat fragmentation reduces or eliminates pollen flow by disrupting pollinator movement. We used radio-telemetry to examine space use of the green hermit hummingbird (Phaethornis guy), an important 'hub' pollinator of understory flowering plants across substantial portions of the neotropics and the primary pollinator of a keystone plant which shows reduced pollination success in fragmented landscapes. We found that green hermits strongly avoided crossing large stretches of non-forested matrix and preferred to move along stream corridors. Forest gaps as small as 50 m diminished the odds of movement by 50%. Green hermits occurred almost exclusively inside the forest, with the odds of occurrence being 8 times higher at points with >95% canopy cover compared with points having <5% canopy cover. Nevertheless, surprisingly. the species occurred in fragmented landscapes with low amounts of forest (~30% within a 2 km radius). Our results indicate that although green hermits are present even in landscapes with low amounts of tropical forest, movement within these landscapes ends up strongly constrained by forest gaps. Restricted movement of pollinators may be an underappreciated mechanism for widespread declines in pollination and plant fitness in fragmented landscapes, even when in the presence of appropriate pollinators.