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Title: Multiple aspects of alien species in pollination networks
Author: Emer, Carine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 5086
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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In a rapidly changing world, where many species are declining due to anthropogenic disturbance while others are invading disturbed habitats, understanding how alien species affect ecological processes is crucially important. In this thesis I use ecological networks as a tool to investigate how alien species integrate and affect pollination at the community level. First, I tested whether the invasion of an alien plant (Impatiens glandulifera) affects pollen transfer networks and found no significant change in network structure between invaded and uninvaded habitats. While more alien pollen was recorded on invaded sites only five plant species retained 91% of all balsam pollen on their stigmas. These results point towards the robustness of pollination networks to plant invasion. Second, I investigated intraspecific variability and specialization in pollen transport and pollen transfer networks; strong intraspecific variation was found for both plants and pollinators along with higher specialization found in pollen transport networks. And finally, I asked whether a species role in network structure differs between its native and alien ranges and whether the former can be used to predict the latter; no significant difference in species role between ranges was detected, and degree and closeness were highly predictable from native to alien habitat. These results suggest species roles conservatism in pollination networks, whereby a species role in a network is similar whether it occurs in the native or in the alien range of its distribution. I conclude that a holistic approach encompassing different spatial, temporal and biological scales is needed if the aim is to understand how alien species interact and affect pollination. I also highlight ecological networks as a powerful tool to understand anthropogenic effects at the community level and suggest that merging the expertise from different disciplines is needed if we are to truly understand the invasion process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available