Reproduction of Amorpha canescens (Fabaceae) and diversity of its bee community in a fragmented landscape

Slagle, Malinda W.; Hendrix, Stephen D.
October 2009
Oecologia;Oct2009, Vol. 161 Issue 4, p813
Academic Journal
Loss of insect pollinators due to habitat fragmentation often results in negative effects on plant reproduction, but few studies have simultaneously examined variation in the bee community, site characteristics and plant community characteristics to evaluate their relative effects on plant reproduction in a fragmented habitat. We examined the reproduction of a common tallgrass prairie forb, Amorpha canescens (Fabaceae), in large (>40 ha) and small (<2 ha) prairie remnants in Iowa and Minnesota in relation to the diversity and abundance of its bee visitors, plant population size, and species density of the forb flowering community. We found significant positive effects of the diversity of bees visiting A. canescens on percent fruit set at a site in both years of the study and in 2002 an additional significant positive effect of plant species density. Abundance of bees visiting A. canescens had a significant positive effect on percent fruit set in 2002, but was only marginally significant in 2003. In 2003 but not 2002, the plant species density at the sites had a significant negative effect on the diversity and abundance of bees visiting A. canescens, indicating community-level characteristics can influence the bee community visiting any one species . Site size, a common predictor of plant reproduction in fragmented habitats did not contribute to any models of fruit set and was only marginally related to bee diversity one year. Andrena quintilis, one of the three oligolectic bee species associated with A. canescens, was abundant at all sites, suggesting it has not been significantly affected by fragmentation. Our results show that the diversity of bees visiting A. canescens is important for maintaining fruit set and that bee visitation is still sufficient for at least some fruit set in all populations, suggesting these small remnants act as floral resource oases for bees in landscapes often dominated by agriculture.


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