Synergies and tradeoffs in conserving diverse pollinators: a traits-based approach

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2023: $30,000.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2025
Grant Recipient: University of North Texas
Region: Southern
State: Texas
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Elinor Lichtenberg
University of North Texas
Insect pollinators constitute diverse taxa, each with their own natural histories and resource requirements. This can make pollinator conservation difficult. A traits-based approach offers a potential solution to this problem. Traits – aspects that help to improve an organism’s fitness – enable grouping organisms based on shared characteristics to broadly understand how groups interact with their environment and are affected by global change. Here we used a traits-based approach to identify synergies and trade-offs in conserving pollinators that differ in their resource requirements. We focused on flower-visiting bees, wasps, beetles, flies, and butterflies. Within and across these groups, insects vary widely in their food and shelter needs. To address our question, we quantified flower-visiting insect communities, flowers, and vegetation structure on ranches in North Texas. We asked how species’ traits including sociality, body size, shelter preference, and food sources relate to food and shelter resource availability in rangelands. Understanding which habitat features are important for specific pollinator groups is critical for effective insect conservation.
Conference/Presentation Material
Avery Pearson, University of North Texas
Shannon Collins, University of North Texas
Laura Taylor, University of North Texas
Elinor Lichtenberg, University of North Texas
Target audience:
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.