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Oecologia. 2014 Sep;176(1):157-69. doi: 10.1007/s00442-014-3000-0. Epub 2014 Jul 8.

Decadal trends in the pollinator assemblage of Eucryphia cordifolia in Chilean rainforests.

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Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad (IEB), Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile,


Long-term studies of plant-pollinator interactions are almost nonexistent in the scientific literature. The objective of the present study was to determine changes and trends in the pollinator assemblage of ulmo (Eucryphia cordifolia; Cunoniaceae), a canopy-emergent tree found in Chilean temperate rainforests. We assessed the temporal variability of the pollinator assemblage and identified possible modulators of the observed temporal shifts. We sampled insect visitors to the flowers of 16 individual trees of E. cordifolia during 10 consecutive flowering seasons (2000-2009), recording a total of 137 pollinator species with a mean number of species per year of 44. Only three pollinator species (2.2%) were recorded every year. Two bee species accounted for 50% of all insect visits to flowers. One bee species, Bombus dahlbomii (native), was dominant in one season, whereas Apis mellifera (exotic) dominated during the next season. These interannual shifts in population abundances presented first-order dynamics that were characterized by oscillations with a period of 2 years. Changes in the abundances of the dominant pollinators, as well as differences in temperature and precipitation during insect emergence and flowering, led to a nested temporal structure of pollinator composition. Furthermore, the abundances of less common pollinators were sensitive to the abundance of the dominant bee species and to monthly maximum temperatures and the average precipitation during spring and summer. Based on our results and those from other studies, we predict a decline in the numbers of Bombus dahlbomii and nondominant native pollinators in response to new exotic arrivals.

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