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Plant evolution can mediate negative effects from honey bees on wild pollinators

Cite this dataset

Milner, James; Northfield, Tobin; Bloom, Elias; Crowder, David (2021). Plant evolution can mediate negative effects from honey bees on wild pollinators [Dataset]. Dryad.


1. Pollinators are introduced to agroecosystems to provide pollination services. Introductions of managed pollinators often promote ecosystem services, but it remains largely unknown whether they also affect evolutionary mutualisms between wild pollinators and plants. 2. Here we developed a model to assess effects of managed honey bees on mutualisms between plants and wild pollinators. Our model tracked how interactions among wild pollinators and honey bees affected pollinator and plant populations. 3. We show that when managed honey bees have a competitive advantage over wild pollinators, or a greater carrying capacity, the honey bees displace the wild pollinator. This leads to reduced plant density because plants benefit less by visits from honey bees than wild pollinators that co-evolved with the plants. 4. As wild pollinators are displaced, plants evolve by increasing investment in traits that are attractive for honey bees but not wild pollinators. This evolutionary switch promotes wild pollinator displacement. However, higher mutualism investment costs by the plant to the honey bee can promote pollinator co-existence. 5. Our results show plant evolution can promote displacement of wild pollinators by managed honey bees, while limited plant evolution may lead to pollinator co-existence. More broadly, effects of honey bees on wild pollinators in agroecosystems, and effects on ecosystem services, may depend on the capacity of plant populations to evolve.


This is an R script for a model considering evolution of two pollinators and a plant.