P2-7: Scaling of pollinator communities in urban gardens and agricultural landscapes

PhD student: Hannah Reininghaus
Thesis Committee: Christoph Scherber, Teja Tscharntke, Thomas Kneib

The increase and expansion of urban areas and the corresponding decrease of natural areas has focused attention on the remaining green spaces in cities. These urban green spaces provide diverse habitat for insect communities and have a high potential for maintaining insect biodiversity and its associated ecosystem services. Constant change in land-use, such as in agricultural areas, results in a decrease of available habitats and natural resources for pollinator insects as earlier studies have shown garden flowers can have a positive impact on pollinator communities. To understand how important green spaces are in urban areas I am sampling the pollinator insects present there. The scale sampled at influences the results so I am sampling at multiple spatial scales and over time. To assess how pollinator insect communities change I will measure community structure as it is a well-known method for determining differences between insect communities in different habitats. Thus this project explores the effects of spatial scales (over a region) on insect community structure and accounts for temporal changes by sampling at different times during the flowering season.

The focus is on pollinator insects as they provide important ecosystem services by pollinating plants. For the first part of this project I will be working closely with Kristy Udy. For the second part I will be testing how the position of urban green spaces influences pollinator community assembly and meta-community dynamics. This varied approach will give me an overview of how urban green spaces influence the pollinator community and how suitable they are as habitat for conserving threatened pollinator species.

Project homepage: gaerten.uni-goettingen.de

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