Complex Effects of a Land-Use Gradient on Pollinators and Natural Enemies: Natural Habitats Mitigate the Effects of Aphid Infestation on Pollination Services

Tal Shapira, Tohar Roth, Adi Bar, Moshe Coll, Yael Mandelik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Pollinators and natural enemies are essential ecosystem service providers influenced by land-use and by interactions between them. However, the understanding of the combined impacts of these factors on pollinator and natural enemy activities and their ultimate effects on plant productivity remains limited. We investigated the effects of local and landscape vegetation characteristics and the presence of herbivorous pests on pollination and biological control services and their combined influence on phytometer seed set. The study was conducted in a Mediterranean agro-ecosystem, encompassing ten shrubland plots spanning a land-use gradient. Within each plot, we placed caged and uncaged potted phytometer plants that were either aphid-infested or aphid-free. We quantified insect flower visitation, aphid predation and parasitism rates, and fruit and seed set. We found scale-dependent responses of pollinators and natural enemies to land-use characteristics. Flower species richness had a positive impact on aphid parasitism rates but a negative effect on pollinator activity. Notably, we found a more pronounced positive effect of natural areas on pollinator activity in aphid-infested compared to aphid-free plants, indicating a potentially critical role of natural habitats in mitigating the adverse effects of aphid infestation on pollination services. These results highlight the complex and interactive effects of land-use on pollinators and natural enemies, with significant implications for plant productivity.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number872
JournalInsects
Volume14
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2023

Keywords

  • Mediterranean agro-ecosystem
  • agroecology
  • ecosystem services
  • herbivores
  • land-use
  • parasitoid wasps
  • pests
  • wild bees

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Insect Science

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