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Trait matching of flower visitors and crops predicts fruit set better than trait diversity [Journal of Applied Ecology]

Keywords : agroecosystems, body size, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services, mouthpart length, nectar accessibility, pollination, trait evenness, trait richness

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

1.Understanding the relationships between trait diversity, species diversity and ecosystem functioning is essential for sustainable management. For functions comprising two trophic levels, trait matching between interacting partners should also drive functioning. However, the predictive ability of trait diversity and matching is unclear for most functions, particularly for crop pollination, where interacting partners did not necessarily co-evolve.
2.World-wide, we collected data on traits of flower visitors and crops, visitation rates to crop flowers per insect species and fruit set in 469 fields of 33 crop systems. Through hierarchical mixed-effects models, we tested whether flower visitor trait diversity and/or trait matching between flower visitors and crops improve the prediction of crop fruit set (functioning) beyond flower visitor species diversity and abundance.
3.Flower visitor trait diversity was positively related to fruit set, but surprisingly did not explain more variation than flower visitor species diversity.(...)

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