14 November, 2023

Important pollinator species for conserving rare plant species endemic to San Clemente Island, California

by Hazlehurst et al.

The extremely rare and endangered San Clemente
Island woodstar (Lithophragma maximum).

The California Floristic Province (CFP) is a global biodiversity hotspot that is home to over 160 endangered and endemic plant species. A great deal of time and effort is put into the conservation of these plant species, however for many of them little is known about the precise genus- or species-level identity of their pollinators. If pollinator identity is known, applied restoration efforts can be tested to boost the populations of these pollinators in order to directly support rare and threatened plant species in the CFP. In addition, by constructing interaction networks that document which plants are visited by which pollinators in the local area that includes rare and threatened plant species, we can also identify pollinators and plants that may indirectly support focal plant species by making the network more stable. Here we identify the primary floral visitors of 5 threatened endemic native plant species on San Clemente Island in the California Channel Islands. We also constructed plant-pollinator interaction networks in the local area around each focal plant population. This allowed us to identify important pollinator species that either directly or indirectly support the reproduction of rare and threatened endemic plant species in this critical habitat. Next steps for this study include testing whether providing nesting substrate for important pollinators, such as patches of bare ground, can directly or indirectly support focal plant populations.

Read the scientific publication in JPE!

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