The use of pollination networks in conservation

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Authors: Elle, E; Elwell, SL; Gielens, GA
Year: 2012
Journal: Botany-Botanique 90: 525-534   Article Link (DOI)
Title: The use of pollination networks in conservation
Abstract: Recent concern about declines in pollinating insects highlights the need for better understanding of plant-pollinator interactions. One promising approach at the community scale is network analysis, which allows actual interactions to be assessed, unlike biodiversity surveys, which only identify the potentially interacting organisms. We highlight useful network properties for conservation research and examples of their use in the study of rare species, invasive species, responses of communities to climate change, and habitat loss and restoration. We suggest that nestedness, degree, and interaction strength asymmetry are the most useful network properties for applied research on plant-pollinator interactions, but also highlight practical concerns regarding their measurement. We encourage the adoption of a network approach when an understanding of function within communities, rather than simple community composition, is useful for management.
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