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Title: "The pond pollinator pantry" : assessing how pond management influences pollinators in the UK farmland landscape
Author: Walton, Richard Elton
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 4632
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Recent decades have seen major declines in invertebrate populations across agricultural landscapes, especially amongst pollinating insects. Concurrently, farmland ponds have faced ecological degradation through neglect and ecological succession leading to the widespread development of heavily overgrown and species-poor systems. Recent research has shown ponds to be highly beneficial to pollination, but the mechanisms that connect ponds to pollinating invertebrate species are poorly understood. Similarly, little is known on how the restoration and subsequent management of formerly overgrown farmland ponds impacts upon pollinating insect communities, and whether current pond restoration techniques, involving major woody vegetation removal, mimic what is believed to have occurred at farmland ponds in the past. In this thesis, I examine the drivers of pollinator utilisation of farmland pond systems based on the presence of woody vegetation management, as well as examining historical changes to ponds ecosystems as a means to informing on past pond-plant-pollinator environments and the influence of historic management practices relative to contemporary UK pond restoration approaches. First, I studied the effects of occasional tree and shrub management and pond restoration on flowering plant communities. Influences of pond management on diurnal and nocturnal pollinator richness and abundance were then explored with the general conclusion that such efforts were largely beneficial. Indeed, enhanced flowering plant and pollinator communities also resulted in increased complexity in terms of plant-pollinator interactions. Finally, subfossil analysis of pond sediment cores indicated that current woody vegetation management has historical precedents in the past, with restored pond macrophyte communities having close similarities with subfossil assemblages. With farmland ponds scattered widely across UK farmland landscapes, their conservation represents a massive, untouched resource in the preservation of historical wetland plant and pollinating insect communities.
Supervisor: Sayer, C. D. ; Axmacher, J. C. ; Bennion, H. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available