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Title: Apple pollination is ensured by wild bees when honey bees are drawn away from orchards by a mass co-flowering crop, oilseed rape
Author(s): Osterman, Julia
Theodorou, Panagiotis
Radzevičiūtė, Rita
Schnitker, Pascal
Paxton, Robert J.Look up in the Integrated Authority File of the German National Library
Issue Date: 2021
Type: Article
Language: English
Abstract: Over the past two decades, the cultivated area of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L. or OSR), a mass-flowering crop, has markedly increased in Europe in response to bioenergy demands. As well as representing a major shift in floral composition across the landscape, mass-flowering OSR may alter pollination services to other simultaneously blooming crops, either decreasing pollination via competition for pollinators or facilitating it via pollinator spill-over. Apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) is an economically important, obligately insect-pollinated fruit crop that co-flowers with OSR. Using twelve independent apple orchards varying in the percentage of OSR in the surrounding landscape, we investigated the effect of OSR on pollinators and pollination of co-blooming apple. We collected bees with pan traps and quantified flower visitors during transect walks in both crops and we experimentally measured pollination service provision to apple as fruit and seed set. We confirm that apples are highly dependent on animal pollination and report pollination limitation in our apple orchards. Honey bees were the numerically dominant visitors of apple flowers observed during transect walks. Though their numbers dropped with an increasing percentage of OSR in the landscape, the number of bumble bees visiting apple flowers remained stable and those of other wild bees rose. The pan trapped Shannon diversity of bees remained constant. We could not detect an effect of OSR in the landscape on apple fruit set or seed set, both of which remained stable. Local wild bee populations might compensate for the loss of honey bees in the provision of pollination services in apple, providing especially effective pollination. Our results underscore not only the dominant role of bees in apple pollination but also the importance of wild bee conservation for providing pollination insurance and stability of apple crop yields under changing agricultural policies and cropping practices.
Open Access: Open access publication
License: (CC BY 4.0) Creative Commons Attribution 4.0(CC BY 4.0) Creative Commons Attribution 4.0
Sponsor/Funder: Publikationsfonds MLU
Journal Title: Agriculture, ecosystems & environment
Publisher: Elsevier
Publisher Place: Amsterdam [u.a.]
Volume: 315
Original Publication: 10.1016/j.agee.2021.107383
Appears in Collections:Open Access Publikationen der MLU

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