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Quantifying the production of plant pollen at the farm scale

Wright, Ellen K., Timberlake, Thomas P., Baude, Mathilde, Vaughan, Ian P. ORCID: and Memmott, Jane 2024. Quantifying the production of plant pollen at the farm scale. New Phytologist 242 (6) , pp. 2888-2899. 10.1111/nph.19763

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Summary: Plant pollen is rich in protein, sterols and lipids, providing crucial nutrition for many pollinators. However, we know very little about the quantity, quality and timing of pollen availability in real landscapes, limiting our ability to improve food supply for pollinators. We quantify the floral longevity and pollen production of a whole plant community for the first time, enabling us to calculate daily pollen availability. We combine these data with floral abundance and nectar measures from UK farmland to quantify pollen and nectar production at the landscape scale throughout the year. Pollen and nectar production were significantly correlated at the floral unit, and landscape level. The species providing the highest quantity of pollen on farmland were Salix spp. (38%), Filipendula ulmaria (14%), Rubus fruticosus (10%) and Taraxacum officinale (9%). Hedgerows were the most pollen‐rich habitats, but permanent pasture provided the majority of pollen at the landscape scale, because of its large area. Pollen and nectar were closely associated in their phenology, with both peaking in late April, before declining steeply in June and remaining low throughout the year. Our data provide a starting point for including pollen in floral resource assessments and ensuring the nutritional requirements of pollinators are met in farmland landscapes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0028-646X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 April 2024
Date of Acceptance: 27 March 2024
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 15:11

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