|Appears in Collections:||Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles|
|Peer Review Status:||Refereed|
|Title:||Pollination biology of fruit-bearing hedgerow plants and the role of flower-visiting insects in fruit-set|
|Author(s):||Jacobs, Jennifer H|
Clark, Suzanne J
Osborne, Juliet L
|Citation:||Jacobs JH, Clark SJ, Denholm I, Goulson D, Stoate C & Osborne JL (2009) Pollination biology of fruit-bearing hedgerow plants and the role of flower-visiting insects in fruit-set, Annals of Botany, 104 (7), pp. 1397-1404.|
|Abstract:||Background and Aims: In the UK, the flowers of fruit-bearing hedgerow plants provide a succession of pollen and nectar for flower-visiting insects for much of the year. The fruits of hedgerow plants are a source of winter food for frugivorous birds on farmland. It is unclear whether recent declines in pollinator populations are likely to threaten fruit-set and hence food supply for birds. The present study investigates the pollination biology of five common hedgerow plants: blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), dog rose (Rosa canina), bramble (Rubus fruticosus) and ivy (Hedera helix). Methods: The requirement for insect pollination was investigated initially by excluding insects from flowers by using mesh bags and comparing immature and mature fruit-set with those of open-pollinated flowers. Those plants that showed a requirement for insect pollination were then tested to compare fruit-set under two additional pollination service scenarios: (1) reduced pollination, with insects excluded from flowers bagged for part of the flowering period, and (2) supplemental pollination, with flowers hand cross-pollinated to test for pollen limitation. Key Results: The proportions of flowers setting fruit in blackthorn, hawthorn and ivy were significantly reduced when insects were excluded from flowers by using mesh bags, whereas fruit-set in bramble and dog rose were unaffected. Restricting the exposure of flowers to pollinators had no significant effect on fruit-set. However, blackthorn and hawthorn were found to be pollen-limited, suggesting that the pollination service was inadequate in the study area. Conclusions: Ensuring strong populations of insect pollinators may be essential to guarantee a winter fruit supply for birds in UK hedgerows.|
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