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Global importance of vertebrate pollinators for plant reproductive success: a meta-analysis

Global importance of vertebrate pollinators for plant reproductive success: a meta-analysis
Global importance of vertebrate pollinators for plant reproductive success: a meta-analysis
Vertebrate pollinators are increasingly threatened worldwide, but little is known about the potential consequences of declining pollinator populations on plants and ecosystems. Here, we present the first global assessment of the importance of vertebrate pollinators in the reproductive success of selected flowering plants. Our meta-analysis of 126 experiments on animal-pollinated plants revealed that excluding vertebrate pollinators – but not insect pollinators – reduced fruit and/or seed production by 63% on average. We found bat-pollinated plants to be more dependent on their respective vertebrate pollinators than bird-pollinated plants (an average 83% reduction in fruit/seed production when bats were excluded, as compared to a 46% reduction when birds were excluded). Plant dependence on vertebrate pollinators for fruit/seed production was greater in the tropics than at higher latitudes. Given the potential for substantial negative impacts associated with the loss of vertebrate pollinators, there is a clear need for prompt, effective conservation action for threatened flower-visiting vertebrate species. Additional research on how such changes might affect wider ecosystems is also required.
1540-9295
82-90
Ratto, Fabrizia
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Simmons, Benno I.
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Spake, Rebecca
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Zamora-Gutierrez, Veronica
4122f26c-face-4a5b-8375-53df7fced059
MacDonald, Michael A.
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Merriman, Jennifer C.
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Tremlett, Constance J.
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Poppy, Guy M.
e18524cf-10ae-4ab4-b50c-e73e7d841389
Peh, Kelvin S.-H.
0bd60207-dad8-43fb-a84a-a15e09b024cc
Dicks, Lynn V.
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Ratto, Fabrizia
d2438dc9-5df4-4c4d-a7ed-022fc3d97919
Simmons, Benno I.
2f7c3fb3-1ffc-45bd-bc4e-487ee263c640
Spake, Rebecca
1cda8ad0-2ab2-45d9-a844-ec3d8be2786a
Zamora-Gutierrez, Veronica
4122f26c-face-4a5b-8375-53df7fced059
MacDonald, Michael A.
0490b6df-a364-4beb-86b0-8aec1e8929fa
Merriman, Jennifer C.
83ae1f0b-fc67-4e20-a8e8-e4aaf4bed568
Tremlett, Constance J.
a7718167-17c2-482a-87f7-256a4888922e
Poppy, Guy M.
e18524cf-10ae-4ab4-b50c-e73e7d841389
Peh, Kelvin S.-H.
0bd60207-dad8-43fb-a84a-a15e09b024cc
Dicks, Lynn V.
f615a670-8c5a-4008-a4f1-59ad13342669

Ratto, Fabrizia, Simmons, Benno I., Spake, Rebecca, Zamora-Gutierrez, Veronica, MacDonald, Michael A., Merriman, Jennifer C., Tremlett, Constance J., Poppy, Guy M., Peh, Kelvin S.-H. and Dicks, Lynn V. (2018) Global importance of vertebrate pollinators for plant reproductive success: a meta-analysis. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 16 (2), 82-90. (doi:10.1002/fee.1763).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Vertebrate pollinators are increasingly threatened worldwide, but little is known about the potential consequences of declining pollinator populations on plants and ecosystems. Here, we present the first global assessment of the importance of vertebrate pollinators in the reproductive success of selected flowering plants. Our meta-analysis of 126 experiments on animal-pollinated plants revealed that excluding vertebrate pollinators – but not insect pollinators – reduced fruit and/or seed production by 63% on average. We found bat-pollinated plants to be more dependent on their respective vertebrate pollinators than bird-pollinated plants (an average 83% reduction in fruit/seed production when bats were excluded, as compared to a 46% reduction when birds were excluded). Plant dependence on vertebrate pollinators for fruit/seed production was greater in the tropics than at higher latitudes. Given the potential for substantial negative impacts associated with the loss of vertebrate pollinators, there is a clear need for prompt, effective conservation action for threatened flower-visiting vertebrate species. Additional research on how such changes might affect wider ecosystems is also required.

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Ratto et al 2017 - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 11 October 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 6 February 2018
Published date: 1 March 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 417938
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/417938
ISSN: 1540-9295
PURE UUID: 7ddc8f8c-657c-49cb-8177-e910594a367e
ORCID for Fabrizia Ratto: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8411-4379
ORCID for Kelvin S.-H. Peh: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2921-1341

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Feb 2018 17:32
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:37

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Contributors

Author: Fabrizia Ratto ORCID iD
Author: Benno I. Simmons
Author: Rebecca Spake
Author: Veronica Zamora-Gutierrez
Author: Michael A. MacDonald
Author: Jennifer C. Merriman
Author: Constance J. Tremlett
Author: Guy M. Poppy
Author: Lynn V. Dicks

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