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Spillover effects from invasive Acacia alters the plant-pollinator networks and seed production of native plants

Brett, Maisie F., Strauss, Paula, van Wyk, Kurt, Vaughan, Ian P. ORCID: and Memmott, Jane 2024. Spillover effects from invasive Acacia alters the plant-pollinator networks and seed production of native plants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 291 (2020) , 20232941. 10.1098/rspb.2023.2941

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Invasive flowering plants can disrupt plant–pollinator networks. This is well documented where invasives occur amongst native plants; however, the potential for ‘spillover’ effects of invasives that form stands in adjacent habitats are less well understood. Here we quantify the impact of two invasive Australian species, Acacia saligna and Acacia longifolia, on the plant–pollinator networks in fynbos habitats in South Africa. We compared networks from replicate 1 ha plots of native vegetation (n = 21) that were subjected to three treatments: (1) at least 400 m from flowering Acacia; (2) adjacent to flowering Acacia, or (3) adjacent to flowering Acacia where all Acacia flowers were manually removed. We found that native flowers adjacent to stands of flowering Acacia received significantly more insect visits, especially from beetles and Apis mellifera capensis, and that visitation was more generalized. We also recorded visitation to, and the seed set of, three native flowering species and found that two received more insect visits, but produced fewer seeds, when adjacent to flowering Acacia. Our research shows that ‘spillover’ effects of invasive Acacia can lead to significant changes in visitation and seed production of native co-flowering species in neighbouring habitats—a factor to be considered when managing invaded landscapes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: The Royal Society
ISSN: 0962-8452
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 February 2024
Date of Acceptance: 16 February 2024
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2024 11:32

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