Baltimore Ecosystem Study Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

2012 BES Annual Meeting Presentation and Poster Abstracts

The Relationship Between Pollinator and Plant Diversity in Urban Vacant Lots
Hughes, Jenny
Co-Authors: Jenny Hughes Co-authors- Christopher Swan and Anna Johnson

Abstract: The maintenance of a healthy pollinator community is important for the success of urban gardens and agriculture. Plants and pollinators have a mutualistic relationship. Habitat fragmentation caused by urbanization may reduce the diversity of local patches by preventing plants from being able to disperse effectively between patches. And, small remnant populations of plants may be subjected to pollen-limitation, in addition to dispersal limitation, if pollinators are also affected negatively by habitat fragmentation. In summer 2012, I performed a field experiment to test the hypothesis that the flowering plant diversity and cover of vacant lots in the urban environment of Baltimore, Maryland would be positively correlated to the taxa richness of Hymenopteran pollinators. Furthermore, I calculated local and regional diversity for both plants and pollinators, as well as turnover. Pan traps, which were mostly above ground, were set in the building footprint of five vacant lots. They were sampled every three days for approximately two weeks, starting July 6th and ending July 18th. Plant communities, within 1 meter of each trap, were identified to species in the field when they were first set up. While plant and hymenopteran richness did not covary significantly, hymenopteran richness did increase with flowering plant percent coverage. Local patterns in composition revealed high dominance in both sets of taxa, with two species dominating regionally. In building footprints, flowering plant percent cover was more important than flowering plant diversity in explaining variation in pollinator diversity.