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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 the proportion of available daily pollen contributed by individual plant species for Edinburgh meadows sown with A. perennial, B. annual A1, and C. annual A2 treatments.The percentage of estimated total meadow pollen volume attributable to each species is indicated by the height of the filled polygon for that species at a given seasonal time point. Values at each time point are based on 100x 1m2 quadrats across 5 replicate meadows at each time point for each meadow treatment. Note that in both annual and perennial treatments, native perennial weeds contributed up to 100% of nectar and pollen resources early in the year.
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pone.0158117.g008: Seasonal patterns in the proportion of available daily pollen contributed by individual plant species for Edinburgh meadows sown with A. perennial, B. annual A1, and C. annual A2 treatments.The percentage of estimated total meadow pollen volume attributable to each species is indicated by the height of the filled polygon for that species at a given seasonal time point. Values at each time point are based on 100x 1m2 quadrats across 5 replicate meadows at each time point for each meadow treatment. Note that in both annual and perennial treatments, native perennial weeds contributed up to 100% of nectar and pollen resources early in the year.

Mentions: The contribution by individual species to pollen volumes in Edinburgh meadow treatments is shown in Fig 8. As for nectar, most pollen was provided by a few species at a given seasonal time point, particularly in perennial and A2 meadows. Native weeds contributed almost all early-season pollen production in all treatments—particularly Taraxacum agg. in perennial meadows, Ranunculus repens in A1 meadows and Trifolium repens in A2 meadows. Later in the summer, perennial meadow pollen production was dominated by Leucanthemum vulgare and Achillea millefolium, while pollen production in the annual meadows (particularly A2) was dominated by the poppies Papaver rhoeas and Eschscholzia californica.


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 the proportion of available daily pollen contributed by individual plant species for Edinburgh meadows sown with A. perennial, B. annual A1, and C. annual A2 treatments.The percentage of estimated total meadow pollen volume attributable to each species is indicated by the height of the filled polygon for that species at a given seasonal time point. Values at each time point are based on 100x 1m2 quadrats across 5 replicate meadows at each time point for each meadow treatment. Note that in both annual and perennial treatments, native perennial weeds contributed up to 100% of nectar and pollen resources early in the year.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0158117.g008: Seasonal patterns in the proportion of available daily pollen contributed by individual plant species for Edinburgh meadows sown with A. perennial, B. annual A1, and C. annual A2 treatments.The percentage of estimated total meadow pollen volume attributable to each species is indicated by the height of the filled polygon for that species at a given seasonal time point. Values at each time point are based on 100x 1m2 quadrats across 5 replicate meadows at each time point for each meadow treatment. Note that in both annual and perennial treatments, native perennial weeds contributed up to 100% of nectar and pollen resources early in the year.
Mentions: The contribution by individual species to pollen volumes in Edinburgh meadow treatments is shown in Fig 8. As for nectar, most pollen was provided by a few species at a given seasonal time point, particularly in perennial and A2 meadows. Native weeds contributed almost all early-season pollen production in all treatments—particularly Taraxacum agg. in perennial meadows, Ranunculus repens in A1 meadows and Trifolium repens in A2 meadows. Later in the summer, perennial meadow pollen production was dominated by Leucanthemum vulgare and Achillea millefolium, while pollen production in the annual meadows (particularly A2) was dominated by the poppies Papaver rhoeas and Eschscholzia californica.

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