Variation in Plant Attractiveness to Pollinators in Three Regions of Michigan

Logan Rowe
Michigan State University
Logan Rowe is a graduate student at Michigan State University studying pollinator conservation and habitat restoration. His research is focused on identifying pollinator friendly plants to support both managed and wild pollinators.

Much of the world relies on the ecosystem services provided by insect pollinators, yet many pollinators are threatened by increased land-use intensification, leading to a reduction in the availability and diversity of native habitat required by both managed and wild bees. Recent attempts to support pollinators focus on the incorporation of native flowering plants into landscapes where pollination services and pollinator conservation are imperative. Re-integration of native plants can support pollinators, but optimizing this approach requires knowledge of relative plant attractiveness to different bees, floral phenology of native plants, and combinations of plants that can provide resources throughout the pollinator foraging season. In this study, I assessed the relative attractiveness of 54 native and 2 non-native plant species, at 3 independent locations across the state of Michigan. My results demonstrate regional variation in pollinator attraction to Michigan flora, and suggest that optimizing floral mixes to aide pollinator conservation requires regional knowledge of plant attractiveness.

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