COS 130-3 - Plant-pollinator networks in remnant prairie pathces

Friday, August 12, 2011: 8:40 AM
9C, Austin Convention Center
Alexandra N. Harmon-Threatt, Biology, Washington University in St.Louis, Saint Louis, MO and Stephen Hendrix, University of Iowa

Understanding plant-pollinator interactions are critical to preserving the valuable ecosystem service provided by pollinators. Network analysis often happens from either the plant perspective or the pollinator perspective but rarely both. We were interested in the affects of rare species on distorting interaction strengths for both trophic levels. To address this question, 7 prairies in Iowa were sampled from June until September. We systematically removed species that were rare and/or of low connectance to determine how rare species skew network analysis. We hypothesized that interaction strength and connectance would improve significantly by removing rare pollinators but would be adversely affected by removing rare plants.


In all 7 prairies removing rare pollinators did not significantly alter connectance and mean values of interactions in networks. Removing plants from the analysis had a more prominent affect on connectance and mean interaction values. We suggest that rare pollinators may be aberrant observations but that even rare plants are important to understanding connectance and interaction strength.

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