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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/7178

Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Why do pollinators visit proportionally fewer flowers in large patches?
Author(s): Goulson, Dave
Contact Email: dave.goulson@stir.ac.uk
Issue Date: Dec-2000
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Citation: Goulson D (2000) Why do pollinators visit proportionally fewer flowers in large patches?, Oikos, 91 (3), pp. 485-492.
Abstract: Pollinators collect resources that are patchy, since flowers are usually aggregated on several spatial scales. Empirical studies have established that pollinators almost invariably visit a smaller proportion of flowers as patch size increases. This has not been adequately explained. Here I present data on the payoff curve achieved by bumblebees, Bombus lapidarius, when visiting patches containing different numbers of inflorescences, and use the marginal value theorem to predict the optimum duration of stay within patches. The data demonstrate that visiting a declining proportion of inflorescences as patch size increases is an optimal strategy, if we assume that bees are attempting to maximise their rate of reward acquisition. I argue that this occurs because searching for the remaining unvisited inflorescences is easier in a small patch. On large patches, bees visited more inflorescences per patch than predicted (although still visiting a declining proportion). I suggest that this may occur because bees are using simple departure rules which result in near-optimal behaviour. I show that a departure rule based on two successive encounters with empty inflorescences closely predicts observed behaviour.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/7178
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0706.2000.910309.x
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: Biological and Environmental Sciences

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