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Pollination outcomes reveal negative density‐dependence coupled with interspecific facilitation among plants

AuthorsBergamo, Pedro J.; Susin Streher, Nathália; Traveset, Anna ; Wolowski, Marina; Sazima, Marlies
KeywordsAllee effects
Coexistence theory
Diversity maintenance
Floral display
Interspecific competition
Intraspecific competition
Niche partitioning
Plant fitness
Issue DateJan-2020
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
CitationEcology Letters 23(1): 129-139 (2020)
AbstractPollination is thought to be under positive density‐dependence, destabilising plant coexistence by conferring fitness disadvantages to rare species. Such disadvantage is exacerbated by interspecific competition but can be mitigated by facilitation and intraspecific competition. However, pollinator scarcity should enhance intraspecific plant competition and impose disadvantage on common over rare species (negative density‐dependence, NDD). We assessed pollination proxies (visitation rate, pollen receipt, pollen tubes) in a generalised plant community and related them to conspecific and heterospecific density, expecting NDD and interspecific facilitation due to the natural pollinator scarcity. Contrary to usual expectations, all proxies indicated strong intraspecific competition for common plants. Moreover interspecific facilitation prevailed and was stronger for rare than for common plants. Both NDD and interspecific facilitation were modulated by specialisation, floral display and pollinator group. The combination of intraspecific competition and interspecific facilitation fosters plant coexistence, suggesting that pollination can be a niche axis maintaining plant diversity.
Publisher version (URL)http://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13415
Identifiersdoi: 10.1111/ele.13415
issn: 1461-023X
e-issn: 1461-0248
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