Pollination success increases with plant diversity in high-Andean communities
GAVINI, SABRINA S.; SÁEZ, AGUSTÍN; TUR, CRISTINA; AIZEN, MARCELO A.
Lugar: Londres; Año: 2021 vol. 11
Pollinator-mediated plant?plant interactions have traditionally been viewed within the competition paradigm. However, facilitation via pollinator sharing might be the rule rather than the exception in harsh environments. Moreover, plant diversity could be playing a key role in fostering pollinator-mediated facilitation. Yet, the facilitative effect of plant diversity on pollination remains poorly understood, especially under natural conditions. By examining a total of 9371 stigmas of 88 species from nine high-Andean communities in NW Patagonia, we explored the prevalent sign of the relation between conspecific pollen receipt and heterospecific pollen diversity, and assessed whether the incidence of different outcomes varies with altitude and whether pollen receipt relates to plant diversity. Conspecific pollen receipt increased with heterospecific pollen diversity on stigmas. In all communities, species showed either positive or neutral but never negative relations between the number of heterospecific pollen donor species and conspecific pollen receipt. The incidence of species showing positive relations increased with altitude. Finally, stigmas collected from communities with more co-flowering species had richer heterospecific pollen loads and higher abundance of conspecific pollen grains. Our findings suggest that plant diversity enhances pollination success in high-Andean plant communities. This study emphasizes the importance of plant diversity in fostering indirect plant?plant facilitative interactions in alpine environments, which could promote species coexistence and biodiversity maintenance.