Functional flower traits and their diversity drive pollinator visitation

Publikationen: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätze


  • Felix Fornoff
  • Alexandra-Maria Klein
  • Florian Hartig
  • Gita Benadi
  • Christine Venjakob
  • H. Martin Schaefer
  • Anne Ebeling

Recent studies have shown that the diversity of flowering plants can enhance pollinator richness and visitation frequency and thereby increase the resilience of pollination. It is assumed that flower traits explain these effects, but it is still unclear which flower traits are responsible, and knowing that, if pollinator richness and visitation frequency are more driven by mass-ratio effects (mean trait values) or by trait diversity. Here, we analyse a three-year data set of pollinator observations collected in a European grassland plant diversity experiment (The Jena experiment). The data entail comprehensive flower trait measurements, including reward traits (nectar and pollen amount), morphological traits (height, symmetry, area, colour spectra) and chemical traits (nectar-amino acid and nectar-sugar concentration). We test if pollinator species richness and visitation frequency of flower communities depend on overall functional diversity combining all flower traits within a community, single trait diversities (within trait variation) and community-weighted means of the single traits, using Bayesian inference. Overall functional diversity did not affect pollinator species richness, but reduced visitation frequency. When looking at individual flower traits separately, we found that single trait diversity of flower reflectance and flower morphology were important predictors of pollinator visitation frequency. Moreover, independent of total flower abundance, community-weighted means of flower height, area, reflectance, nectar-sugar concentration and nectar-amino acid concentration strongly affected both pollinator species richness and visitation frequency. Our results, challenge the idea that functional diversity always positively affects ecosystem functions. Nonetheless, we demonstrate that both single trait diversity and mass-ratio effects of flower traits play an important role for diverse and frequent flower visits, which underlines the functionality of flower traits for pollination services.

Seiten (von - bis)1020-1030
Anzahl der Seiten11
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 06.2017