, Volume 10, Issue 8, pp 1353-1363
Date: 09 Jan 2008

Little evidence for negative effects of an invasive alien plant on pollinator services

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Many invasive alien plants occur in large populations with abundant flowers which are highly attractive to pollinators, and thus might affect pollination of co-occurring native species. This study focuses on the invasive Heracleum mantegazzianum and distance-dependent effects on pollination of Mimulus guttatus in abandoned grassland over 2 years. First, we examined pollinator abundance in yellow traps at 0, 10, 30 and 60–200 m from H. mantegazzianum. We then placed M. guttatus plants at the same distances to monitor effects of the invasive species on pollinator visitation and seed set of neighbouring plants. Finally, we conducted a garden experiment to test if deposition of H. mantegazzianum pollen reduces seed set in M. guttatus. No distance effect was found for the number of bumblebees in traps, although the invasive species attracted a diverse assemblage of insects, and visitation of M. guttatus was enhanced close to H. mantegazzianum. This positive effect was not reflected by seed set of M. guttatus, and heterospecific pollen decreased seed set in these plants. Overall there is little evidence for negative effects of the invasive species on pollination of neighbouring plants, and flower visitation even increases close to the invaded patches. The functional role of the invader and suitable control strategies need further clarification, since removal of H. mantegazzianum may actually damage local pollinator populations.