Article CC BY 4.0
refereed
published

Identity of mass-flowering crops moderates functional trait composition of pollinator communities

Affiliation
University of Göttingen, Functional Agrobiodiversity, Department of Crop Sciences, Germany
Beyer, Nicole;
Affiliation
University of Göttingen, Functional Agrobiodiversity, Department of Crop Sciences, Germany
Kirsch, Felix;
GND
132356449
Affiliation
Julius Kühn-Institute (JKI), Institute for Crop and Soil Science, Germany
Gabriel, Doreen;
Affiliation
University of Göttingen, Functional Agrobiodiversity, Department of Crop Sciences, Germany
Westphal, Catrin

Context Pollinator declines and functional homogenization of farmland insect communities have been reported. Mass-flowering crops (MFC) can support pollinators by providing floral resources. Knowledge about how MFC with dissimilar flower morphology affect functional groups and functional trait compositions of wild bee communities is scarce. Objective We investigated how two morphologically different MFC, land cover and local flower cover of semi-natural habitats (SNH) and landscape diversity affect wild bees and their functional traits (body size, tongue length, sociality, foraging preferences). Methods We conducted landscape-level wild bee surveys in SNH of 30 paired study landscapes covering an oilseed rape (OSR) (Brassica napus L.) gradient. In 15 study landscapes faba beans (Vicia faba L.) were grown, paired with respective control landscapes without grain legumes. Results Faba bean cultivation promoted bumblebees (Bombus spp. Latreille), whereas non-Bombus densities were only driven by the local flower cover of SNH. High landscape diversity enhanced wild bee species richness. Faba bean cultivation enhanced the proportions of social wild bees, bees foraging on Fabaceae and slightly of long-tongued bumblebees. Solitary bee proportions increased with high covers of OSR. High local SNH flower covers mitigated changes of mean bee sizes caused by faba bean cultivation. Conclusions Our results show that MFC support specific functional bee groups adapted to their flower morphology and can alter pollinators` functional trait composition. We conclude that management practices need to target the cultivation of functionally diverse crops, combined with high local flower covers of diverse SNH to create heterogeneous landscapes, which sustain diverse pollinator communities.

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