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Generalist social bees maximize diversity intake in plant species-rich and resource-abundant environments [Ecosphere]

Keywords : functional complementarity, functional redundancy, Meliponini, nutritional ecology, plant–insect interactions, pollinator decline

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Numerous studies revealed a positive relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, suggesting that biodiverse environments may not only enhance ecosystem processes, but also benefit individual ecosystem members by, for example, providing a higher diversity of resources. Whether and how the number of available resources affects resource collection and subsequently consumers (e.g., through impacting functions associated with resources) have, however, been little investigated, although a better understanding of this relationship may help explain why the abundance and richness of many animal species typically decline with decreasing plant (resource) diversity. Using a social bee species as model (Tetragonula carbonaria), we investigated how plant species richness—recorded for study sites located in different habitats—and associated resource abundance affected the diversity and functionality (here defined as nutritional content and antimicrobial activity) of resources (i.e., pollen, nectar, and resin) collected by a generalist herbivorous consumer.(...)

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