Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

How many flowering plants are pollinated by animals?

Ollerton, J., Winfree, R. and Tarrant, S. (2011) How many flowering plants are pollinated by animals? Oikos. 120(3), pp. 321-326. 0030-1299.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: It is clear that the majority of flowering plants are pollinated by insects and other animals, with a minority utilising abiotic pollen vectors, mainly wind. However there is no accurate published calculation of the proportion of the ca 352 000 species of angiosperms that interact with pollinators. Widely cited figures range from 67% to 96% but these have not been based on firm data. We estimated the number and proportion of flowering plants that are pollinated by animals using published and unpublished community-level surveys of plant pollination systems that recorded whether each species present was pollinated by animals or wind. The proportion of animal-pollinated species rises from a mean of 78% in temperate-zone communities to 94% in tropical communities. By correcting for the latitudinal diversity trend in flowering plants, we estimate the global number and proportion of animal pollinated angiosperms as 308 006, which is 87.5% of the estimated species-level diversity of flowering plants. Given current concerns about the decline in pollinators and the possible resulting impacts on both natural communities and agricultural crops, such estimates are vital to both ecologists and policy makers. Further research is required to assess in detail the absolute dependency of these plants on their pollinators, and how this varies with latitude and community type, but there is no doubt that plant-pollinator interactions play a significant role in maintaining the functional integrity of most terrestrial ecosystems
Subjects: Q Science > QK Botany > QK926 Pollination
Q Science > QK Botany > QK900 Plant ecology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH540 Ecology > QH549.5 Animal-plant relationships
Creators: Ollerton, Jeff, Winfree, Rachael and Tarrant, Sam
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: University Faculties, Divisions and Research Centres - OLD > Research Group > Landscape and Biodiversity Research Group
Faculties > Faculty of Arts, Science & Technology > Environmental Science
Research Centres > Environment Research Group
Date: March 2011
Date Type: Publication
Page Range: pp. 321-326
Journal or Publication Title: Oikos
Volume: 120
Number: 3
Language: English
ISSN: 0030-1299
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes

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