Complementarity and redundancy in the functional niche of cider apple pollinators
The magnitude and the stability of pollination services in entomophilous crops both depend not only on honeybee management but also on the diversity of wild pollinators, which enables additive contributions and replacement of species. This work evaluated the functional niche of cider apple pollinators in Spain and found a highly heterogeneous community of pollinators in taxonomic and functional terms. Through different niche dimensions, our results suggest complementarity (i.e. niche differentiation) in the contribution of the various groups to pollination, through differences in abundance, foraging behaviour, diet and daytime and canopy distribution patterns, as well as redundancy (i.e. niche similarity) in their responses to environmental conditions. Thus, quantitative and qualitative complementarity would promote an additive effect of different insects on pollination, while similarity in environmental response would provide insurance against potential honeybee loss.
Keywordscrop pollination environmental response foraging behaviour Malus domestica spatio-temporal patterns
We thank R. Martínez-Sastre, A. Núñez, C. Guardado, D. Luna, K. Twizell and A. Somoano for technical support; R. Lendrum for linguistic advice; Campoastur S. Coop. Asturiana for orchard selection; the orchard owners for providing access to their properties; and L.O. Aguado, P. Alvarez and J. Ortiz for taxonomic support. Funding was provided by grants INIA-RTA2013-00139-C03-01 (Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MinECo) and Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional) to MM and PCIN2014-145-C02-02 (MinECo; EcoFruit project BiodivERsA-FACCE2014-74) and CGL2015-68963-C2-2-R (MinECo/FEDER) to DG.
MM and DG conceived and designed the research, collected field data, analysed the data and wrote the manuscript, which both authors have approved.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no potential conflict of interest.
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