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Plant–pollinator interactions between an invasive and native plant vary between sites with different flowering phenology

Abstract

Floral displays of invasive plants have positive and negative impacts on native plant pollination. Invasive plants may also decrease irradiance, which can lead to reduced pollination of native plants. The effects of shade and flowers of invasive plant species on native plant pollination will depend on overlap in flowering phenologies. We examined the effect of the invasive shrub Lonicera maackii on female reproductive success of the native herb Hydrophyllum macrophyllum at two sites: one with asynchronous flowering phenologies (slight overlap) and one with synchronous (complete overlap). At each site, we measured light availability, pollinator visitation, pollen deposition, and seed set of potted H. macrophyllum in the presence and absence of L. maackii. At both sites, understory light levels were lower in plots containing L. maackii. At the asynchronous site, H. macrophyllum received fewer pollinator visits in the presence of L. maackii, suggesting shade from L. maackii reduced visitation to H. macrophyllum. Despite reduced visitation, H. macrophyllum seed set did not differ between treatments. At the synchronous site, H. macrophyllum received more pollinator visits and produced more seeds per flower in the presence of co-flowering L. maackii compared to plots in which L. maackii was absent, and conspecific pollen deposition was positively associated with seed set. Our results support the hypothesis that co-flowering L. maackii shrubs facilitated pollination of H. macrophyllum, thereby mitigating the negative impacts of shade, leading to increased seed production. Phenological overlap appears to influence pollinator-mediated interactions between invasive and native plants and may alter the direction of impact of L. maackii on native plant pollination.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Three Creeks Metro Park and the Denison University Bioreserve for allowing off-trail access for this experiment. We are particularly grateful to A. Snow, C. Lin, S. Cusser, and three anonymous reviewers, whose comments greatly improved earlier versions of the paper. S. McKinney, K. Iler, J. Iler, and C. Lin assisted with experimental set-up and data collection and A. and C. Granger assisted with plant transportation. Special thanks to B. Klips for providing the photograph in Fig. 1a. Funding was provided by The Ohio State University Newark and The Ohio State University Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology’s Janice Carson Beatley Award for graduate student research in plant ecology.

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Correspondence to Amy M. McKinney.

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McKinney, A.M., Goodell, K. Plant–pollinator interactions between an invasive and native plant vary between sites with different flowering phenology. Plant Ecol 212, 1025–1035 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-010-9882-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-010-9882-y

Keywords

  • Biological invasion
  • Competition
  • Facilitation
  • Lonicera maackii
  • Phenological overlap