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Land use and pollinators dependency drives global patterns of pollen limitations in the Anthropocene

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Land use and pollinator dependency drives global patterns of pollen limitation in the Anthropocene

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Abstract

Land use change, by disrupting the co-evolved interactions between plants and their pollinators, could be causing plant reproduction to be limited by pollen supply. Using a phylogenetically controlled meta-analysis on over 2200 experimental studies and more than 1200 wild plants, we ask if land use intensification is causing plant reproduction to be pollen limited at global scales. Here we report that plants reliant on pollinators in urban settings are more pollen limited than similarly pollinator-reliant plants in other landscapes. Plants functionally specialized on bee pollinators are more pollen limited in natural than managed vegetation, but the reverse is true for plants pollinated exclusively by a non-bee functional group or those pollinated by multiple functional groups. Plants ecologically specialized on a single pollinator taxon were extremely pollen limited across land use types. These results suggest that while urbanization intensifies pollen limitation, ecologically and functionally specialized plants are at risk of pollen limitation across land use categories.
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