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Nkurikiyimana, Donath [1], Manishimwe, Aloysie [1], van der Hoek, Yntze [2].

Plant-Pollinator Interactions in Wetlands of Volcanoes National Park (VNP) Rwanda.

Potential effects of climate change on plant-pollinator interactions remain largely unstudied for montane Afrotropical regions, largely due to a lack of baseline knowledge on species’ ecologies and natural history from which to assess change over time. This is unfortunate, as growing evidence from other localities that changes in pollinator networks may lead to substantial changes in plant reproductivity and regeneration, and overall ecosystem functioning. Here, we aimed to identify plant-pollinator interactions in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, evaluated relative visitation rates, and estimated whether pollinator networks and visitation rates changed with elevation. Focusing on a selection of seven plant species growing in six wetlands at varying elevations, we found a complexity of plant-pollinator interactions that involved birds, bees, beetles, butterflies, flies, and moths. We describe the varying complexity and degrees of specialization of pollinators across wetlands, with plants such as Hypericum revolutum pollinated by at least three species of sunbird as well as an unidentified number of bees and flies, whereas Senecio maranguensis was only pollinated by bees and flies. Similarly, we found varying degrees of specialization among pollinators, with birds that are not specialized nectarivores, such as streaky seedeater Crithagra striolata only pollinating a single plant species, whereas other pollinators pollinated multiple plant species. We found fewer plants and pollinator species in wetlands at higher elevations but did not find a significant effect of elevation on visitation rates of different pollinators species/groups. Although largely descriptive, our study sets the baseline for current plant-pollinator interactions that are integral to the functioning of high-elevation wetlands in Rwanda, baseline from which we can assess changes due to various anthropogenic factors.

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1 - University of Rwanda, Huye, Rwanda
2 - The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, Musanze, Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park
plant-pollinator interactions

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P1, Ecology Posters
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Monday, July 19th, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM(EDT)
Number: P1EC023
Abstract ID:506
Candidate for Awards:None

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