Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) - Colorado, USA. Interactions between plant and pollinator communities form complex webs. These interactions can be summarized in pollination networks, which are mathematical simulations of all the partnerships in a community and how they are distributed among its species. In this NSF-RAPID project we leverage this year's extremely low snowfall at RMBL to examine how networks change in response to an environmental anomaly using dynamic niche-based models. We will compare networks from 2018 to those from more typical snowfall years, 2016 and 2017, to test the hypothesis that networks interactions have a high degree of variability and large species fundamental niches are narrowed by resource availability and competition.


LINKING pollinatION network STRUCTURE AND function

Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL) - Colorado, USA

Network theory has provided valuable insights into the structure and stability of complex, multi-species interactions. In spite of repeated calls to bridge the gap between pollination network theory and pollination function, to date very few studies has explicitly examined the relationship between the structure of pollination networks and pollinator-mediated seed production in plants. By accelerating snowmelt across multiple spatially replicated sites, we create local phenological mismatches between plants and pollinators that change pollination network structure. We then examine how these changes, as well as natural variability across sites, impact pollinator-mediated seed production in plant communities.

biofuel agriculture impacts on wild bees in the southeast US

Pine plantations - Alabama, Florida & Georgia, USA. The U.S. biofuel industry is anticipated to expand in the near future, with extensive pine plantations in the Southeast expected to produce half of the nation’s cellulosic biofuel by 2022. Do forests managed for biofuel support similar biodiversity to forests that yield conventional timber products? How will changing the management of vast areas of plantations impact biodiversity? We focus on bee species found in pine plantations, examining landscape context as well as local management factors on bee communities. This project is funded by the USDA, in partnership with the University of Florida.

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Western Australia & Tasmania, Australia. Arid and semi-arid ecosystems are among the harshest environments for life. Rising global temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns have strong impacts on vegetation in arid regions, pushing the physiological tolerances of even the most drought-tolerant plant species. Climate may have consistent effects on within-species trait patterns. However, these patterns may not always be apparent when measuring gross anatomical traits. In this study we examine changes in multiple functional traits of eight Australian native trees across their natural aridity ranges.