Publication details.


Author(s):Y. Zhao, A. Lázaro, Z. Ren, W. Zhou, H. Li, Z. Tao, K. Xu, Z. Wu, L. Wolfe, D. Li, H. Wang
Title:The topological differences between visitation and pollen transport networks: a comparison in species rich communities of the Himalaya–Hengduan Mountains
JCR Impact Factor:3.37
Issue No.:4
Abstract:© 2018 The AuthorsPollination networks are usually constructed and assessed by direct field observations which commonly assume that all flower visitors are true pollinators. However, this assumption is often invalid and the use of data based on mere visitors to flowers may lead to a misunderstanding of intrinsic pollination networks. Here, using a large dataset by both sampling floral visitors and analyzing their pollen loads, we constructed 32 networks pairs (visitation versus pollen transport) across one flowering season at four elevation sites in the Himalaya–Hengduan Mountains region. Pollen analysis was conducted to determine which flower visitors acted as potential pollinators (pollen vectors) or as cheaters (those not carrying pollen of the visited plants). We tested whether there were topological differences between visitation and pollen transport networks and whether different taxonomic groups of insect visitors differed in their ability to carry pollen of the visited plants. Our results indicated that there was a significantly higher degree of specialization at both the network and species levels in the pollen transport networks in contrast to the visitation networks. Modularity was lower but nestedness was higher in the visitation networks compared to the pollen transport networks. All the cheaters were identified as peripheral species and most of them contributed positively to the nested structure. This may explain in part the differences in modularity and nestedness between the two network types. Bees carried the highest proportion of pollen of the visited plants. This was followed by Coleoptera, other Hymenoptera and Diptera. Lepidoptera carried the lowest proportion of pollen of the visited plants. Our study shows that the construction of pollen transport networks could provide a more in-depth understanding of plant–pollinator interactions. Moreover, it suggests that detecting and removing cheater interactions when studying the topology of other mutualistic networks might be also important.

Related staff

  • Amparo Lazaro Castillo
  • Related departments

  • Oceanography and Global Change
  • Related research groups

  • Global Change Research