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Where is the UK's pollinator biodiversity? The importance of urban areas for flower-visiting insects

Baldock, Katherine C. R., Goddard, Mark A., Hicks, Damien M., Kunin, William E.., Mitschunas, Nadine, Osgathorpe, Lynne M., Potts, Simon G., Robertson, Kirsty M., Scott, Anna V,, Stone, Graham N., Vaughan, Ian Philip and Memmott, Jane 2015. Where is the UK's pollinator biodiversity? The importance of urban areas for flower-visiting insects. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 282 (1803) , 20142849. 10.1098/rspb.2014.2849

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Abstract

Insect pollinators provide a crucial ecosystem service, but are under threat. Urban areas could be important for pollinators, though their value relative to other habitats is poorly known. We compared pollinator communities using quantified flower-visitation networks in 36 sites (each 1 km2) in three landscapes: urban, farmland and nature reserves. Overall, flower-visitor abundance and species richness did not differ significantly between the three landscape types. Bee abundance did not differ between landscapes, but bee species richness was higher in urban areas than farmland. Hoverfly abundance was higher in farmland and nature reserves than urban sites, but species richness did not differ significantly. While urban pollinator assemblages were more homogeneous across space than those in farmland or nature reserves, there was no significant difference in the numbers of rarer species between the three landscapes. Network-level specialization was higher in farmland than urban sites. Relative to other habitats, urban visitors foraged from a greater number of plant species (higher generality) but also visited a lower proportion of available plant species (higher specialization), both possibly driven by higher urban plant richness. Urban areas are growing, and improving their value for pollinators should be part of any national strategy to conserve and restore pollinators.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology
Publisher: Royal Society
ISSN: 0962-8452
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 7 January 2015
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2019 16:07
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/71286

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