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Changes in pollinator assemblages following hurricanes affect the mating system of Laguncularia racemosa (Combretaceae) in Florida, USA

  • Carol L. Landry (a1)

Abstract:

Hurricanes are major disturbance events in Neotropical mangrove communities, potentially affecting the reproductive success of mangrove species. This was the first investigation of changes in mangrove pollinator assemblages following hurricanes, and the effect of these changes on the mating system of Laguncularia racemosa. Insect pollinator assemblages were investigated in three Florida mangrove communities in 2001–2003, 2005 and 2009; two hurricanes affected the area in 2004. Visitation rates were estimated from 1445 insects observed during 272 10-min intervals; the number of flowers visited by each insect was also recorded. Pollinator diversity was estimated with the Shannon Index. Following the hurricanes, species richness was reduced by 43–65% and diversity declined by 36–70%. Significant declines in insect visitation to L. racemosa resulted in reduced outcrossing frequencies in 2005. Laguncularia racemosa flowers autogamously self-pollinate without insect visitors, so fruit set still occurred. Visitation rates returned to pre-hurricane levels by 2009, but foraging behaviours differed from pre-hurricane patterns; outcrossing was further favoured by reduced frequencies of long foraging bouts and increased frequencies of short foraging bouts. The mixed mating system of L. racemosa provides reproductive assurance following hurricane disturbances, when pollinator abundance is low.

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Corresponding author

Corresponding author. Email: landry.26@osu.edu

References

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Keywords

Changes in pollinator assemblages following hurricanes affect the mating system of Laguncularia racemosa (Combretaceae) in Florida, USA

  • Carol L. Landry (a1)

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