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Rare plant species are at a disadvantage when both herbivory and pollination interactions are considered in an alpine meadow

Citation

Xi, Xinqiang et al. (2021), Rare plant species are at a disadvantage when both herbivory and pollination interactions are considered in an alpine meadow, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rr4xgxd7p

Abstract

1. Rare plant species often suffer less damage than common species because of positive density-dependent herbivory, and it has been suggested that this “rare species advantage” fosters plant species coexistence. However, it is unknown whether rare species have an advantage when pollination interactions are also considered.

2. We hypothesized that a “positive density-dependent pollination success” across plant species would result in common plants experiencing higher seed set rates compared to rare species, and that positive density-dependent effects would negate or even override the positive density dependent damage due to herbivory resulting in higher seed loss rates in common plant species.

3. We tested this hypothesis by concurrently examining a plant-predispersal seed predator system and a plant-pollinator system for 24 Asteraceae species growing in an alpine meadow community (Sichuan Province, China). Having previously reported a positive density-dependent effect on seed loss rates due to seed predators, we here focus on the density-dependent effects on pollination success by investigating pollinator species richness, visitation frequencies, and seed set rates for each plant species. We also estimated the seed output rate of each plant species as the product of seed set rate and the rate of surviving seeds (i.e., 1 – the seed loss rate).

4. Consistent with our hypothesis, a positive density-dependent effect was observed for pollinator species richness, visitation frequencies, and seed set rates across plant species. Moreover, the positive effect overrode the negative density-dependent effect of herbivores on seed production, such that common species tended to have a higher seed output rate than rare species (i.e., we observed a “rare species disadvantage”).

5. These results indicate that the low seed output rate of rare species might result from a pollination limitation, and that both mutualistic and antagonistic interactions should be examined simultaneously to fully understand plant species coexistence in local communities. 23-Feb-2021

Methods

This dataset include the variables regarding plant seed production and damage, diversity of pollinators and pre-dispersal seed predators of each plant species, all of these result are from intensive field investigation in Eastern tibet plateau. Please see oure paper in  Journal of Animal Ecology, entitled "Rare plant species are at a disadvantage when both herbivory and pollination interactions are considered in an alpine meadow" for detailed investigation procedure.

Usage Notes

Please see "README" for specific mean of each variable, "NULL" in the data set indicate we did not invesitage the seed set rate of the six species.

Funding

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 31530007

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 32071605

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 32022409

National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 31870417