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Individual trait matching of bumblebees (Bombus) and flowers along an environmental gradient
Umeå universitet, Institutionen för ekologi, miljö och geovetenskap.
Responsible organisation
2022 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Insect pollinators serve a critical role in maintaining plant biodiversity and are especially susceptible to changes within their environment. To study the possible effects of seasonal variation in temperature, as well as climatic temperature increase on the plant-pollinator community, the relationship between bumblebee and flowering plant traits along an elevational gradient, representing warming-induced changes in plant community, were examined. Two hypotheses were tested; 1) if plant traits can predict visiting bumblebee proboscis length, and 2) if the relationship between plant traits and proboscis length is influenced by elevation, and the progression of the growing season. The study took place along an elevational gradient on Mt. Nuolja in Abisko National Park, Sweden. During surveys bumblebees were caught and measured. Flowers visited by captured bumblebees were collected, categorized by restrictiveness (i.e., whether or not the flower require a certain proboscis length, in order to access the nectar and pollen rewards) and floral traits measured (e.g., petal length). The results revealed that petal length was a significant predictor of bumblebee proboscis length, when taking restrictiveness into account. Furthermore, the relationship became weaker with increasing elevation for restrictive flowers but stronger for unrestrictive flowers. These findings show that trait-matching between bumblebees and flowers is an influential factor for flower selection and is affected by climatic temperature. This highlights the importance of considering individual-level traits when studying plant preference and creates a framework for assessing plant-pollinator networks. Future studies should examine additional traits that could explain the apparent size matching between unrestrictive flowers and proboscis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. , p. 26
Keywords [en]
Arctic climate change; Bombus; Flower morphology; Plant-pollinator trait-matching
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:polar:diva-8902OAI: oai:DiVA.org:polar-8902DiVA, id: diva2:1715772
Educational program
Master's Programme in Ecology
Presentation
2022-06-03, Umeå, 09:30 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2022-12-02 Created: 2022-12-02 Last updated: 2022-12-02Bibliographically approved

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Ecology

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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