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Food for Pollinators: Quantifying the Nectar and Pollen Resources of Urban Flower Meadows.

Hicks DM, Ouvrard P, Baldock KC, Baude M, Goddard MA, Kunin WE, Mitschunas N, Memmott J, Morse H, Nikolitsi M, Osgathorpe LM, Potts SG, Robertson KM, Scott AV, Sinclair F, Westbury DB, Stone GN - PLoS ONE (2016)

Bottom Line: Pollen volume per flower is well predicted statistically by floral morphology, and nectar sugar mass and pollen volume per unit area are correlated with flower counts, raising the possibility that resource levels can be estimated for species or habitats where they cannot be measured directly.Our approach does not incorporate resource quality information (for example, pollen protein or essential amino acid content), but can easily do so when suitable data exist.Our approach should inform the design of new seed mixes to ensure continuity in floral resource availability throughout the year, and to identify suitable species to fill resource gaps in established mixes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Kings Buildings, Charlotte Auerbach Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Planted meadows are increasingly used to improve the biodiversity and aesthetic amenity value of urban areas. Although many 'pollinator-friendly' seed mixes are available, the floral resources these provide to flower-visiting insects, and how these change through time, are largely unknown. Such data are necessary to compare the resources provided by alternative meadow seed mixes to each other and to other flowering habitats. We used quantitative surveys of over 2 million flowers to estimate the nectar and pollen resources offered by two exemplar commercial seed mixes (one annual, one perennial) and associated weeds grown as 300m2 meadows across four UK cities, sampled at six time points between May and September 2013. Nectar sugar and pollen rewards per flower varied widely across 65 species surveyed, with native British weed species (including dandelion, Taraxacum agg.) contributing the top five nectar producers and two of the top ten pollen producers. Seed mix species yielding the highest rewards per flower included Leontodon hispidus, Centaurea cyanus and C. nigra for nectar, and Papaver rhoeas, Eschscholzia californica and Malva moschata for pollen. Perennial meadows produced up to 20x more nectar and up to 6x more pollen than annual meadows, which in turn produced far more than amenity grassland controls. Perennial meadows produced resources earlier in the year than annual meadows, but both seed mixes delivered very low resource levels early in the year and these were provided almost entirely by native weeds. Pollen volume per flower is well predicted statistically by floral morphology, and nectar sugar mass and pollen volume per unit area are correlated with flower counts, raising the possibility that resource levels can be estimated for species or habitats where they cannot be measured directly. Our approach does not incorporate resource quality information (for example, pollen protein or essential amino acid content), but can easily do so when suitable data exist. Our approach should inform the design of new seed mixes to ensure continuity in floral resource availability throughout the year, and to identify suitable species to fill resource gaps in established mixes.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Seasonal patterns in daily nectar sugar availability for individual Edinburgh meadows sown with A. perennial, B. annual A1, and C. annual A2 treatments.Data were sampled at three-week intervals through 2013. Values at each time point are means based on 20x 1m2 quadrats, with dark shading showing 95% confidence limits. The poor performance of the Saughton perennial meadow was due to accidental mowing, and this replicate was excluded from statistical analyses.
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pone.0158117.g004: Seasonal patterns in daily nectar sugar availability for individual Edinburgh meadows sown with A. perennial, B. annual A1, and C. annual A2 treatments.Data were sampled at three-week intervals through 2013. Values at each time point are means based on 20x 1m2 quadrats, with dark shading showing 95% confidence limits. The poor performance of the Saughton perennial meadow was due to accidental mowing, and this replicate was excluded from statistical analyses.

Mentions: Changes in meadow-level nectar sugar mass through the 2013 season are shown for the five Edinburgh replicates in each of the A1, A2 and P treatments in Fig 4; equivalent plots for the other three cities are shown in S4 Fig. The Edinburgh meadows show the following patterns (Fig 4): (i) Productivity per square metre was higher in the perennial compared to annual meadows, with a mean exceeding 1g/day/m2 at Pilrig. One perennial meadow (Saughton, excluded from statistical analyses) performed very poorly due to accidental mowing. Peak values for both annual treatments were one to two orders of magnitude lower at 10–60mg/day/m2. Nectar sugar values for amenity grassland control sites were much lower than in all planted meadow treatments: for 29 of the total of 30 control site surveys (five Edinburgh control sites x six sampling points), mean nectar sugar/day/m2 was less than 1mg. The maximum value for any control site was for the late June survey at Morningside Park, with a mean value of 11.3 mg/day/m2, which had not been recently mown. (ii) Productivity/day/m2 varied substantially through the season for all treatments. Nectar productivity of perennial meadows peaked earlier in the year (early August for all replicates) than for annual A1 meadows (which all peaked in late August or September). Annual meadows produced little or no nectar in June and July. (iii) The temporal pattern was most variable for A2 meadows. (iv) Nectar productivity was most consistent among annual A1 replicates.


Food for Pollinators: Quantifying the Nectar and Pollen Resources of Urban Flower Meadows.

Hicks DM, Ouvrard P, Baldock KC, Baude M, Goddard MA, Kunin WE, Mitschunas N, Memmott J, Morse H, Nikolitsi M, Osgathorpe LM, Potts SG, Robertson KM, Scott AV, Sinclair F, Westbury DB, Stone GN - PLoS ONE (2016)

Seasonal patterns in daily nectar sugar availability for individual Edinburgh meadows sown with A. perennial, B. annual A1, and C. annual A2 treatments.Data were sampled at three-week intervals through 2013. Values at each time point are means based on 20x 1m2 quadrats, with dark shading showing 95% confidence limits. The poor performance of the Saughton perennial meadow was due to accidental mowing, and this replicate was excluded from statistical analyses.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4920406&req=5

pone.0158117.g004: Seasonal patterns in daily nectar sugar availability for individual Edinburgh meadows sown with A. perennial, B. annual A1, and C. annual A2 treatments.Data were sampled at three-week intervals through 2013. Values at each time point are means based on 20x 1m2 quadrats, with dark shading showing 95% confidence limits. The poor performance of the Saughton perennial meadow was due to accidental mowing, and this replicate was excluded from statistical analyses.
Mentions: Changes in meadow-level nectar sugar mass through the 2013 season are shown for the five Edinburgh replicates in each of the A1, A2 and P treatments in Fig 4; equivalent plots for the other three cities are shown in S4 Fig. The Edinburgh meadows show the following patterns (Fig 4): (i) Productivity per square metre was higher in the perennial compared to annual meadows, with a mean exceeding 1g/day/m2 at Pilrig. One perennial meadow (Saughton, excluded from statistical analyses) performed very poorly due to accidental mowing. Peak values for both annual treatments were one to two orders of magnitude lower at 10–60mg/day/m2. Nectar sugar values for amenity grassland control sites were much lower than in all planted meadow treatments: for 29 of the total of 30 control site surveys (five Edinburgh control sites x six sampling points), mean nectar sugar/day/m2 was less than 1mg. The maximum value for any control site was for the late June survey at Morningside Park, with a mean value of 11.3 mg/day/m2, which had not been recently mown. (ii) Productivity/day/m2 varied substantially through the season for all treatments. Nectar productivity of perennial meadows peaked earlier in the year (early August for all replicates) than for annual A1 meadows (which all peaked in late August or September). Annual meadows produced little or no nectar in June and July. (iii) The temporal pattern was most variable for A2 meadows. (iv) Nectar productivity was most consistent among annual A1 replicates.

Bottom Line: Pollen volume per flower is well predicted statistically by floral morphology, and nectar sugar mass and pollen volume per unit area are correlated with flower counts, raising the possibility that resource levels can be estimated for species or habitats where they cannot be measured directly.Our approach does not incorporate resource quality information (for example, pollen protein or essential amino acid content), but can easily do so when suitable data exist.Our approach should inform the design of new seed mixes to ensure continuity in floral resource availability throughout the year, and to identify suitable species to fill resource gaps in established mixes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Kings Buildings, Charlotte Auerbach Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Planted meadows are increasingly used to improve the biodiversity and aesthetic amenity value of urban areas. Although many 'pollinator-friendly' seed mixes are available, the floral resources these provide to flower-visiting insects, and how these change through time, are largely unknown. Such data are necessary to compare the resources provided by alternative meadow seed mixes to each other and to other flowering habitats. We used quantitative surveys of over 2 million flowers to estimate the nectar and pollen resources offered by two exemplar commercial seed mixes (one annual, one perennial) and associated weeds grown as 300m2 meadows across four UK cities, sampled at six time points between May and September 2013. Nectar sugar and pollen rewards per flower varied widely across 65 species surveyed, with native British weed species (including dandelion, Taraxacum agg.) contributing the top five nectar producers and two of the top ten pollen producers. Seed mix species yielding the highest rewards per flower included Leontodon hispidus, Centaurea cyanus and C. nigra for nectar, and Papaver rhoeas, Eschscholzia californica and Malva moschata for pollen. Perennial meadows produced up to 20x more nectar and up to 6x more pollen than annual meadows, which in turn produced far more than amenity grassland controls. Perennial meadows produced resources earlier in the year than annual meadows, but both seed mixes delivered very low resource levels early in the year and these were provided almost entirely by native weeds. Pollen volume per flower is well predicted statistically by floral morphology, and nectar sugar mass and pollen volume per unit area are correlated with flower counts, raising the possibility that resource levels can be estimated for species or habitats where they cannot be measured directly. Our approach does not incorporate resource quality information (for example, pollen protein or essential amino acid content), but can easily do so when suitable data exist. Our approach should inform the design of new seed mixes to ensure continuity in floral resource availability throughout the year, and to identify suitable species to fill resource gaps in established mixes.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus