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Pollinator richness, pollination networks and diet adjustment along local and landscape gradients of resource diversity


Gómez-Martinez, Carmelo; González-Estévez, Miguel; Cursach, Joana; Lázaro, Amparo (2022), Pollinator richness, pollination networks and diet adjustment along local and landscape gradients of resource diversity, Dryad, Dataset,


Loss of habitats and native species, introduction of invasive species, and changing climate regimes lead to the homogenization of landscapes and communities, affecting the availability of habitats and resources for economically important guilds, such as pollinators. Understanding how pollinators and their interactions vary along resource diversity gradients at different scales may help to determine their adaptability to current diversity loss related to global change. We used data on 20 plant-pollinator communities along gradients of flower richness (local diversity) and landscape heterogeneity (landscape diversity) to understand how the diversity of resources at local and landscape scales affected: (1) wild pollinator abundance and richness (accounting also for honeybee abundance); (2) the structure of plant-pollinator networks; (3) the proportion of actively selected interactions (those not occurring by neutral processes) and (4) pollinator diet breadth and species’ specialization in networks. Wild pollinator abundance was higher overall in flower-rich and heterogeneous habitats, while wild pollinator richness increased with flower richness (more strongly for beetles and wild bees) and decreased with honeybee abundance. Network specialization (H2’), modularity, and functional complementarity were all positively related to floral richness and landscape heterogeneity, indicating niche segregation as the diversity of resources increases at both scales. Flower richness also increased the proportion of actively selected interactions (especially for wild bees and flies), whereas landscape heterogeneity had a weak negative effect on this variable. Overall, network-level metrics responded to larger landscape scales than pollinator-level metrics did. Higher floral richness resulted in a wider taxonomic and functional diet for all the study guilds, while functional diet increased mainly for beetles. Despite this, specialization in networks (d’) increased with flower richness for all the study guilds, because pollinator species fed on a narrower subset of plants as communities became richer in species. Our study indicates that pollinators are able to adapt their diet to resource changes at local and landscape scales. However, resource homogenization might lead to poor and generalist pollinator communities, where functionally specialized interactions are lost. This study highlights the importance of including different scales to understand the effects of global change on pollination service through changes in resource diversity.