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The temporal dimension of the ‘alien attack’ in plant-pollinator communities


A new study, published in Journal of Ecology, shows for the first time that both alien plants and alien pollinators influence the organisation of ecological networks over time; yet the causes and consequences for the local communities are widely dependent on the trophic level of the invasion.

Researchers from Estación Biológica de Doñana (Spain), Universidade Estadual Paulista (Brazil) and Montana State University (USA) have examined for the very first time the role of co-occurring alien plants and alien pollinators in shaping the structure of mutualistic networks over a flowering season.

Alien species are those introduced by humans outside their native range for different reasons such as economical purposes, ornamental preferences, and animal trade or even accidentally through the movement of people across the planet. The invasion of alien species is one of the main drivers of global change because it can drastically disrupt ecological processes, such as those involving the pollination services extensively threatened worldwide. Thus, understanding how alien species affect the structure and dynamics of the invaded communities is a major challenge to deal with the biodiversity crisis. MORE

Header image: A native bee (Leioproctus flavescens, Colletidae) visiting flowers of the alien Cirsium arvense (Asteraceae) in invaded subalpine communities of New Zealand. Credit: Carine Emer.

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