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10/1/2021

New Pollinator Research

Jennifer Polanz

This research comes out of my own region—Holden Forests & Gardens in Cleveland, Ohio. Scientist Na Wei and collaborators from the University of Pittsburgh and East Tennessee State University recently published research in the journal Nature that details how pollinators may contribute to the maintenance of flowering plant diversity.

“For years, scientists have been puzzled by how numerous rare plant species coexist with abundant species in diverse communities,” says Dr. Na Wei in a media release. “We believe that pollinators can be one critical piece in the puzzle.”

According to their research, one way for more rare plant species to compete is by forming specialized relationships with some pollinators, “thereby ensuring that pollinators are available for plant fertilization.”

Wei and her colleagues worked for two years at the McLaughlin Natural Reserve in California to monitor 416 pollinator species that visited 79 different flowering plant species. They found specialization between flowering plants and pollinators was greater than expected, and rare plants seemed more likely to form those specialized relationships, according to the media release.

You can read the full description of the study at holdenfg.org or you can take a deep dive with the study itself at www.nature.com. GP

 

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