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A test of the magnet species 
hypothesis for the alpine plant, 
Myosotis alpestris 
Ally Ruttan
Facilitation = Positive 
Interactions 
Many plants rely on insects for pollination and co-evolution is common 
Facilitatio...
Magnet hypothesis 
Target species 
“Magnets” 
Pollinators
Magnet hypothesis
Purpose 
To determine the importance of neighbouring 
flowering plants on the pollination of Myosotis 
alpestris
Hypothesis 
Flowering neighbour presence will 
have an net positive effect on the 
pollination of Myosotis alpestris
Predictions 
1. Visitation rate of pollinators will 
be higher when neighbours are 
present 
2. Pollinator richness will b...
Pink Mountain
Pink Mountain
Pollinators - Diptera
Pollinators - Lepidoptera
Pollinators - Hymenoptera
Experimental Design 
A. B. 
50 cm 50 cm 
Neighbours intact Neighbours removed
Neighbour removal 
Before removal After removal
Neighbour removal
Camera set-up
Camera set-up
Video processing…
Video processing… 
Target flower number 
Other flower number 
Pollination start/stop time and duration 
Pollinator RTU
Prelim results – total visitation 
No Removal Removal 
Visitation mins/flower/hour 
NS
Daily variation… 
Sunny/warm/low wind: No Removal 
Sunny/warm/low wind: Removal 
Cloudy/cool/some wind: No Removal 
Cloudy...
Prelim results – Lepidoptera 
p=0.006 
** 
No Removal Removal 
Visitation mins/flower/hour
Prelim results – Hoverflies 
No Removal Removal 
Visitation mins/flower/hour 
p=0.001 
***
Prelim results – dance flies 
(Empididae) 
p=0.03 
* 
Visitation mins/flower/hour 
No Removal Removal
Conclusion 
Neighbour presence and identity influences 
visitation rate and distribution associated 
with flowering plants...
Implications 
Facilitation is important in alpine where 
there harsh conditions and scarce 
pollinators 
Pollination  rep...
Implications 
How will these plants respond in the face of climate 
change?
Acknowledgements 
Ecoblender lab, York University 
Ron Long, Pink Mountain Biodiversity Initiative 
Daniel Mosquin, Ed./Te...
A test of the magnet species hypothesis for the alpine plant, Myosotis alpestris
A test of the magnet species hypothesis for the alpine plant, Myosotis alpestris
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A test of the magnet species hypothesis for the alpine plant, Myosotis alpestris

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A test of the magnet species hypothesis for the alpine plant, Myosotis alpestris

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A test of the magnet species hypothesis for the alpine plant, Myosotis alpestris

  1. 1. A test of the magnet species hypothesis for the alpine plant, Myosotis alpestris Ally Ruttan
  2. 2. Facilitation = Positive Interactions Many plants rely on insects for pollination and co-evolution is common Facilitation between plants and pollinators = shared access to resources
  3. 3. Magnet hypothesis Target species “Magnets” Pollinators
  4. 4. Magnet hypothesis
  5. 5. Purpose To determine the importance of neighbouring flowering plants on the pollination of Myosotis alpestris
  6. 6. Hypothesis Flowering neighbour presence will have an net positive effect on the pollination of Myosotis alpestris
  7. 7. Predictions 1. Visitation rate of pollinators will be higher when neighbours are present 2. Pollinator richness will be higher when neighbours are present
  8. 8. Pink Mountain
  9. 9. Pink Mountain
  10. 10. Pollinators - Diptera
  11. 11. Pollinators - Lepidoptera
  12. 12. Pollinators - Hymenoptera
  13. 13. Experimental Design A. B. 50 cm 50 cm Neighbours intact Neighbours removed
  14. 14. Neighbour removal Before removal After removal
  15. 15. Neighbour removal
  16. 16. Camera set-up
  17. 17. Camera set-up
  18. 18. Video processing…
  19. 19. Video processing… Target flower number Other flower number Pollination start/stop time and duration Pollinator RTU
  20. 20. Prelim results – total visitation No Removal Removal Visitation mins/flower/hour NS
  21. 21. Daily variation… Sunny/warm/low wind: No Removal Sunny/warm/low wind: Removal Cloudy/cool/some wind: No Removal Cloudy/cool/some wind: Removal 1 2 4 5 3 6 7 8 Day 2.0 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 Visitation mins/flower/hour
  22. 22. Prelim results – Lepidoptera p=0.006 ** No Removal Removal Visitation mins/flower/hour
  23. 23. Prelim results – Hoverflies No Removal Removal Visitation mins/flower/hour p=0.001 ***
  24. 24. Prelim results – dance flies (Empididae) p=0.03 * Visitation mins/flower/hour No Removal Removal
  25. 25. Conclusion Neighbour presence and identity influences visitation rate and distribution associated with flowering plants Preliminary evidence indicates not all insects are necessarily subject to magnet effect
  26. 26. Implications Facilitation is important in alpine where there harsh conditions and scarce pollinators Pollination  reproduction
  27. 27. Implications How will these plants respond in the face of climate change?
  28. 28. Acknowledgements Ecoblender lab, York University Ron Long, Pink Mountain Biodiversity Initiative Daniel Mosquin, Ed./Tech. Manager, UBC Botanical Garden Anya Reid MSc, Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations

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