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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mark Goddard
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
Insect pollinators provide a crucial ecosystem service, but are under threat. Urban areas could be important for pollinators, though their value relative to other habitats is poorly known. We compared pollinator communities using quantified flower-visitation networks in 36 sites (each 1km2) in three landscapes: urban, farmland and nature reserves. Overall, flower visitor abundance and species richness did not differ significantly between the three landscape types. Bee abundance did not differ between landscapes, but bee species richness was higher in urban areas than farmland. Hoverfly abundance was higher in farmland and nature reserves than urban sites, but species richness did not differ significantly. While urban pollinator assemblages were more homogenous across space than those in farmland or nature reserves, there was no significant difference in the numbers of rarer species between the three landscapes. Network-level specialisation was higher in farmland than urban sites. Relative to other habitats, urban visitors foraged from a greater number of plant species (higher generality) but also visited a lower proportion of available plant species (higher specialisation) – both possibly driven by higher urban plant richness. Urban areas are growing and improving their value for pollinators should be part of any national strategy to conserve and restore pollinators.
Author(s): Baldock KCR, Goddard MA, Hicks DM, Kunin WE, Mitschunas N, Osgathorpe LM, Pott SG, Robertson KM, Scott AV, Stone GN, Vaughan IP, Memmott J
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Print publication date: 01/04/2015
Online publication date: 11/02/2015
Acceptance date: 07/01/2015
Date deposited: 09/06/2015
ISSN (print): 0962-8452
ISSN (electronic): 1471-2954
Publisher: Royal Society Publishing
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