Pollinators are crucial determinants of plant reproductive output and an integral component of plant population and community dynamics. However, it has remained unclear whether this relationship is driven by plant species richness or identity, and the plant traits responsible for successful plant community pollinator visitation (i.e. pollination, seen as an ecosystem process) are completely unexplored so far.
We will use two different approaches for a mechanistic understanding of how plant pollinator systems are affected by plant diversity loss.
First, we will identify important flower traits that determine pollinator communities, and address how these traits change along the plant diversity gradient. Second, we will analyze changes in the structure of the plant-pollinator networks in plant communities differing in plant diversity. Hence, the Jena Experiment with its complex analyses of multiple below- and aboveground processes, provides a perfect opportunity to study the relative importance of pollination to plant reproduction.