Elevational and seasonal patterns of plant pollinator networks in two highland tropical ecosystems in Costa Rica




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Cristóbal Pérez, Edson Jacob
Barrantes Montero, Gilbert
Cascante Marín, Alfredo
Hanson Snortun, Paul
Picado, Beatriz
Gamboa Barrantes, Nicole
Rojas Malavasi, Geovanna
Zumbado, Manuel A.
Madrigal Brenes, Ruth
Martén Rodríguez, Silvana

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Many plant species in high montane ecosystems rely on animal pollination for sexual repro- duction, however, our understanding of plant-pollinator interactions in tropical montane hab- itats is still limited. We compared species diversity and composition of blooming plants and floral visitors, and the structure of plant-floral visitor networks between the Montane Forest and Paramo ecosystems in Costa Rica. We also studied the influence of seasonality on spe- cies composition and interaction structure. Given the severe climatic conditions experienced by organisms in habitats above treeline, we expected lower plant and insect richness, as well as less specialized and smaller pollination networks in the Paramo than in Montane For- est where climatic conditions are milder and understory plants are better protected. Accord- ingly, we found that blooming plants and floral visitor species richness was higher in the Montane Forest than in the Paramo, and in both ecosystems species richness of blooming plants and floral visitors was higher in the rainy season than in the dry season. Interaction networks in the Paramo were smaller and more nested, with lower levels of specialization and modularity than those in the Montane Forest, but there were no seasonal differences within either ecosystem. Beta diversity analyses indicate that differences between ecosys- tems are likely explained by species turnover, whereas within the Montane Forest differ- ences between seasons are more likely explained by the rewiring of interactions. Results indicate that the decrease in species diversity with elevation affects network structure, increasing nestedness and reducing specialization and modularity.


Palabras clave

pollinator, COSTA RICA