Ecology

Pollination in an agricultural landscape

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Science  26 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6413, pp. 416-417
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6413.416-a

Italian honeybee, a generalist pollinator, visiting chive flowers

PHOTO: ARTERRA/GETTY IMAGES

Plants and their insect pollinators form ecological networks across landscapes, networks that can be altered by human activity, principally agriculture. Redhead et al. assessed the composition and structure of plant-pollinator networks across Great Britain, assembling citizen-science records of all plant-pollinator interactions. By simulating extinction of plant species from communities, they were then able to assess the relative robustness of these networks to changes in community composition. They found that networks in highly agricultural landscapes are more robust to perturbation, as the pollinators in these landscapes tend to be generalists, and the plants less extinction prone. Nevertheless, they note that managing landscapes for crop pollination may not be a recipe for wider biodiversity conservation.

Ecol. Lett. 10.1111/ele.13157 (2018).

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