Plant provenance affects pollinator network: implications for ecological restoration.
The selection of plant provenance for ecological restoration is an intensively debated topic. Throughout this debate, arguments mostly focus on plant performance, but little attention is paid to the effects of provenance on other members of the restored ecosystem. On the other hand, in restoration projects that focus specifically on supporting interacting biota, for example, wildflower strips among fields to support pollinators, the provenance choice is often not considered, partly because the effect of provenance on pollinators is unknown. In this pioneering case study, we tested whether pollinators differentiate between experimental plant communities of different provenances. We established experimental plant communities with the same species composition but with plants originating from three different provenances. We then recorded plant phenology and observed pollinators and flower visitors interacting with these experimental communities and related the pollinator visitation to the provenance identity. The provenances of the experimental plant communities had a strong and significant effect on the diversity and abundance of flower-pollinator interactions, with one provenance interacting two times as often as the other two provenances. The effect was driven by the differences in flowering phenology among provenances. Synthesis and applications. Plant provenances substantially differ in their interactions with local pollinators. Therefore, the selection of plant provenance should be considered when planning restoration projects for the support of pollinators.