Pollinator diversity: distribution, ecological function, and conservation

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Abstract

By facilitating plant reproduction, pollinators perform a crucial ecological function that supports the majority of the world’s plant diversity, and associated organisms, and a significant fraction of global agriculture. Thus pollinators are simultaneously vital to supporting both natural ecosystems and human food security, which is a unique position for such a diverse group of organisms. The past couple of decades have seen unprecedented interest in pollinators and pollination ecology, stimulated in part by concerns over the decline of pollinator abundance and diversity in some parts of the world. This review synthesizes what is currently understood about the taxonomic diversity of organisms that are known to act as pollinators; their distribution in both deep time and present space; the importance of their diversity for ecological function (including agro-ecology); changes to diversity and abundance over more recent timescales, including introduction of non-native species, and a discussion of arguments for conserving their diversity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics
Volume48
Early online date28 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017

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pollinator
agroecology
food security
pollination
distribution
ecology
timescale
agriculture
ecosystem
organism
world

Keywords

  • Bees
  • biodiversity
  • biogeography
  • conservation
  • mutualism
  • pollination

Cite this

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title = "Pollinator diversity: distribution, ecological function, and conservation",
abstract = "By facilitating plant reproduction, pollinators perform a crucial ecological function that supports the majority of the world’s plant diversity, and associated organisms, and a significant fraction of global agriculture. Thus pollinators are simultaneously vital to supporting both natural ecosystems and human food security, which is a unique position for such a diverse group of organisms. The past couple of decades have seen unprecedented interest in pollinators and pollination ecology, stimulated in part by concerns over the decline of pollinator abundance and diversity in some parts of the world. This review synthesizes what is currently understood about the taxonomic diversity of organisms that are known to act as pollinators; their distribution in both deep time and present space; the importance of their diversity for ecological function (including agro-ecology); changes to diversity and abundance over more recent timescales, including introduction of non-native species, and a discussion of arguments for conserving their diversity.",
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AB - By facilitating plant reproduction, pollinators perform a crucial ecological function that supports the majority of the world’s plant diversity, and associated organisms, and a significant fraction of global agriculture. Thus pollinators are simultaneously vital to supporting both natural ecosystems and human food security, which is a unique position for such a diverse group of organisms. The past couple of decades have seen unprecedented interest in pollinators and pollination ecology, stimulated in part by concerns over the decline of pollinator abundance and diversity in some parts of the world. This review synthesizes what is currently understood about the taxonomic diversity of organisms that are known to act as pollinators; their distribution in both deep time and present space; the importance of their diversity for ecological function (including agro-ecology); changes to diversity and abundance over more recent timescales, including introduction of non-native species, and a discussion of arguments for conserving their diversity.

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