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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 pollen 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 each time point are means based on 20x 1m2 quadrats, with dark shading showing 95% confidence limits.
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pone.0158117.g007: Seasonal patterns in daily pollen 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 each time point are means based on 20x 1m2 quadrats, with dark shading showing 95% confidence limits.

Mentions: Changes in meadow-level pollen volume through the 2013 season are shown for the five Edinburgh replicates in each of the A1, A2 and perennial treatments in Fig 7; equivalent plots for the other three cities are shown in S5 Fig. The Edinburgh meadows show the following patterns (Fig 7): (i) Productivity per square metre was highest in the perennial meadows, with a mean of approx. 0.75ml/day/m2 at Joppa Quarry and St. Marks. Peak values for both annual treatments were an order of magnitude lower at 0.01–0.07ml/day/m2. Peak values for amenity grassland control sites were usually two to three orders of magnitude lower than for any planted sites: for 29 of the 30 Edinburgh control site surveys (five sites x six sampling points) through the season, mean pollen volumes were less than 0.0001ml/day/m2. The highest value for any control site of 0.0058 ml/day/m2 was recorded in June for Morningside Park, which also showed the highest nectar sugar resource of any control site. (ii) Productivity/m2 varied substantially through the season for all treatments. Pollen productivity of perennial meadows peaked earlier in the year (early or late August) than for annual A1 meadows (late August or September). Annual meadows produced little or no pollen in June and July (due to low floral abundance, rather than presence of species offering only low rewards/flower). (iii) Temporal patterns and productivity were most variable for A2 meadows. (iv) Pollen productivity was most consistent among annual A1 replicates; two perennial meadows (Saughton and St. Katherine’s) showed low resource levels due to management problems (accidental mowing and inadequate ground preparation prior to seeding, respectively). Low pollen production at two Edinburgh A2 meadows (Sighthill and West Pilton) was associated with high abundance of weeds, particularly Rumex spp. and Chenopodium spp. that offer low pollen volumes per flower.


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 pollen 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 each time point are means based on 20x 1m2 quadrats, with dark shading showing 95% confidence limits.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0158117.g007: Seasonal patterns in daily pollen 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 each time point are means based on 20x 1m2 quadrats, with dark shading showing 95% confidence limits.
Mentions: Changes in meadow-level pollen volume through the 2013 season are shown for the five Edinburgh replicates in each of the A1, A2 and perennial treatments in Fig 7; equivalent plots for the other three cities are shown in S5 Fig. The Edinburgh meadows show the following patterns (Fig 7): (i) Productivity per square metre was highest in the perennial meadows, with a mean of approx. 0.75ml/day/m2 at Joppa Quarry and St. Marks. Peak values for both annual treatments were an order of magnitude lower at 0.01–0.07ml/day/m2. Peak values for amenity grassland control sites were usually two to three orders of magnitude lower than for any planted sites: for 29 of the 30 Edinburgh control site surveys (five sites x six sampling points) through the season, mean pollen volumes were less than 0.0001ml/day/m2. The highest value for any control site of 0.0058 ml/day/m2 was recorded in June for Morningside Park, which also showed the highest nectar sugar resource of any control site. (ii) Productivity/m2 varied substantially through the season for all treatments. Pollen productivity of perennial meadows peaked earlier in the year (early or late August) than for annual A1 meadows (late August or September). Annual meadows produced little or no pollen in June and July (due to low floral abundance, rather than presence of species offering only low rewards/flower). (iii) Temporal patterns and productivity were most variable for A2 meadows. (iv) Pollen productivity was most consistent among annual A1 replicates; two perennial meadows (Saughton and St. Katherine’s) showed low resource levels due to management problems (accidental mowing and inadequate ground preparation prior to seeding, respectively). Low pollen production at two Edinburgh A2 meadows (Sighthill and West Pilton) was associated with high abundance of weeds, particularly Rumex spp. and Chenopodium spp. that offer low pollen volumes per flower.

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