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The town Crepis and the country Crepis : How does fragmentation affect a plant–pollinator interaction ?

Abstract : In fragmented habitats, one cause of the decrease of plant diversity and abundance is the disruption of plant–animal interactions, and in particular plant–pollinator interactions. Since habitat fragmentation acts both on pollinator behaviour and plant reproduction, its consequences for the stability of such interactions are complex. An extreme case of habitat fragmentation occurs in urbanised areas where suitable habitat (in the present study small patches around ornamental trees) is embedded in a highly unsuitable environment(concrete matrix). Based on simple experiments, we ask whether pollinators can adapt their foraging behaviour in response to the amount of available resources (flowers) in the fragments and their isolation, as predicted by the optimal foraging theory. To do so we analysed the effect of fragmentation on the behaviour of pollinators visiting Crepis sancta(L.) Bornm. (Asteraceae), which forms large populations in the countryside and patchy populations in urban environments. More precisely we studied pollinator visitation rates, capitulum visit durations, capitulum search durations and capitulum size choice. Pollinators chose larger capitula in both types of populations and their foraging behaviour differed between the two population types in three ways: (1) pollinator visits were lower in urban fragmented populations, perhaps due to the lower accessibility of urban patches; (2) capitulum visit durations were longer in urban fragmented populations, a possible compensation of energy lost during flights among patches; and (3) capitulum search durations where longer in urban fragmented populations, which may represent an increase in capitulum prospecting effort. We discuss the possible impacts of such differences for plant population functioning in the two types of populations.
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Emilie Andrieu, Antoine Dornier, Soraya Rouifed, Bertrand Schatz, Pierre-Olivier Cheptou. The town Crepis and the country Crepis : How does fragmentation affect a plant–pollinator interaction ?. Acta Oecologica, Elsevier, 2009, 35 (1), pp.1-7. ⟨10.1016/j.actao.2008.07.002⟩. ⟨hal-02663719⟩



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