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  • Effects of urban horticulture on insect pollinator community structure in the central Arizona-Phoenix area
  • McIntyre, Nancy E.; Texas Tech University
  • 2002
  • Insects that pollinate flowering plants are often considered "keystone species," animals that play extremely important roles in ecosystem functioning such that their absence would have more widespread and far-reaching effects than their abundance alone would indicate. For example, the absence of pollinating insects would translate to a severe reduction in plant reproduction, which would in turn affect not only the plants but also seed-eating animals, herbivorous animals, predators of the herbivores, and so on in a trophic cascade. Such a scenario would impact not only wildlife but also human populations because insects pollinate the majority of human food-plants. While the importance of these relationships is acknowledged, surprisingly, little is known about how insect pollinator communities are affected by environmental changes, such as global climate change or urban development. There has recently been a call for research on insect pollinator communities, citing a pressing need to obtain baseline information in the face of probable future environmental changes. The Sonoran Desert has one of the most diverse insect communities in the world (particularly for members of the Order Hymenoptera [bees, wasps, and ants], which perform the lion's share of pollination duties for both native and crop plants). This community may be threatened from the presence of the exotic honeybee and from habitat alteration in the form of urban development. We propose to conduct a pilot study to examine how the pollinator community differs under different forms of urban land use in the Phoenix metropolitan area. We have three research questions: (1) How does the ratio of native species to the exotic honeybee differ among natural desert, urban desert remnants, and residential areas that also have flowering plants? (2) How does insect pollinator community structure (richness and abundance) differ among natural desert, urban desert remnants, and residential areas? and (3) How does insect pollinator community structure differ with different residential horticultural practices (xeriscaping with native plants vs. watered lawns with exotic species)?
  • N: 33.657253      S: 33.323395      E: -111.494458      W: -112.388299
  • knb-lter-cap.159.9  
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  • doi:10.6073/pasta/1abfed2c6e1d2a0496ed231bc3a9b207
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