PS 15-13 - Global climate change effects upon prairie plant pollination

Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Exhibit Hall 3, Austin Convention Center
Elise M. Boehm, Biological Sciences, North Dakota State University and Steven Travers, Biology, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND

Global climate change and its effects on the biota of the planet are areas in need of empirical  research.  One of the issues of concern is the phenological shifts in plant and animal species due to the biotic and abiotic changes caused by global climate change.   We examined the effects of changes in the blooming times of native prairie plant species in the tallgrass prairie of northwestern Minnesota, which have already been documented in tallgrass prairie, on pollinator-plant interactions.  Our study was designed to quantify the degree of pollen limitation associated with early and late blooming for species known to have shifted significantly compared to historical records. 


Overall, plants with pollen supplementation had higher seed set than control and bagged plants early in the season but not later.  These results indicate that pollen limitation is present early in the flowering period but not later.  This indicates that shifts associated with global climate change have the potential to alter plant/pollinator interactions, resulting in a shift towards less optimal flowering time and potentially resulting in a decrease in overall seed set.   

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