Dr. Laura Figueroa—currently an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow and incoming Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA—shares her recently accepted paper: “Sunflower spines and beyond: mechanisms and breadth of pollen that reduce gut pathogen infection in the common eastern bumble bee.” About the paper Flowers provide foraging bees with a broad diversity of key resources, including pollen … Continue reading Laura Figueroa: Bees, flowers, and beyond—One researcher’s path to understanding and promoting pollinator health
In this new post Matthew Gilbert—Associate Professor at University of California, Davis, CA, USA—presents his recently published paper “Flowers of a South African succulent plant predict tomorrow’s weather, synchronizing flower opening with pollinator activity“. He discusses the connection between phenology and weather, shows how inspiration can come from anywhere, and highlights the importance of observing nature to find interesting research questions. About the paper It’s … Continue reading Matthew Gilbert: Flowers of a South African succulent plant predict tomorrow’s weather, synchronizing flower opening with pollinator activity
In this podcast for Functional Ecology, Assistant Editor, Frank Harris, sits down with Anna Stöckl—a Group Leader at Konstanz University, Germany—to discuss her recently published paper ‘Flower patterns improve foraging efficiency in bumblebees by guiding approach flight and landing’. Anna’s paper shows that flower patterns reduced flower handling time by up to 30%, without a reduction in nectar discovery time. Instead, the patterns were involved … Continue reading Flower patterns improve foraging efficiency in bumblebees by guiding approach flight and landing: Podcast Transcript
Aoife Cantwell-Jones—a PhD student at Imperial College London, UK—shares with us the background behind her recently accepted paper, “Mapping trait versus species turnover reveals spatiotemporal variation in functional redundancy and network robustness in a plant-pollinator community.” She discusses nuances of bumblebee-plant interactions and the importance of researching mutualistic interactions to solve global change issues, as well as celebrating teamwork. About the paper The intricate interdependencies … Continue reading Aoife Cantwell-Jones: How Arctic bees interact with plants depends on body size variation and spatiotemporal context
In our new post, Professor Tao Sun—from the School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, China—presents his latest work ‘Density-dependent dispersal strategy of pollinator moderates the adverse effect of habitat loss on plant reproduction: An integrated model based on pollinators’ behavioural response’. He discusses the importance of looking at details to understand animal behavior, shows the development of his model, and elucidates his research interest in … Continue reading Tao Sun: A noteworthy element when assessing the effect of habitat loss on plant reproduction: The movement strategy of pollinators
In this post, Functional Ecology provides an introduction to each article that can be found in our Animal Functional Traits Special Focus. This collection of studies shows how precise measurements of morphological or physiological traits can increase mechanistic understanding of community assembly across trophic levels, particularly of the mechanisms underpinning large-scale biodiversity patterns. Further, a clearer picture is emerging of systematic animal responses to environmental … Continue reading Animal Functional Traits: A Functional Ecology Special Focus
About the paper Our paper describes how to estimate the nutritional contribution of plants to pollinators and to other flower-visiting insects. The nutritional contribution of plants to pollinators is usually estimated by measuring—using a mesh bag—the nectar volume produced by flowers isolated for a 24 h period from flower-visiting insects. Many studies adopted this 24 h measure as a proxy of plant nectar production. When … Continue reading Luca Carisio: How much nectar is produced when the effect of flower-visiting insects is considered?
In the present blogpost Melissa León, PhD student at University Pablo Olavide in Spain, presents her research ‘Unravelling the mystery of red flowers in the Mediterranean Basin: How to be conspicuous in a place dominated by hymenopteran pollinators’. She shows the different methods plants use to attract pollinators, potential evolutionary implications of these methods, and her passion for ecological sciences. A Spanish version of this … Continue reading Melissa León: Red flowers from the Mediterranean Basin, color strategists.
En este post Melissa León, estudiante predoctoral en la Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla, presenta su artículo ‘Desvelando el misterio de las flores rojas de la cuenca mediterránea: ¿Cómo ser llamativas en un ecosistema donde predominan los himenópteros?’ Aquí nos muestra los distintos métodos de las plantas para atraer polinizadores, las implicaciones evolutivas de estos métodos, y su pasión por la ecología. Una versión … Continue reading Melissa León: Flores rojas de la Cuenca Mediterránea, estrategas del color.
In our latest post, María Natalia Lescano, researcher at CONICET and University of Comahue, discusses their paper ‘Excessive nutrient input induces an ecological cost for aphids by modifying their attractiveness towards mutualist ants’, whilst also showcasing their fantastic tri-trophic study system and discussing the importance of cascading effects in ecosystems. About the paper Ecological stoichiometry considers the balance of energy and elements on organisms and … Continue reading María Natalia Lescano: The complex role of bottom-up cascading effects: Excess nutrients make aphids less attractive to mutualistic ants