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Contrasting Foraging Patterns: Testing Resource-Concentration and Dilution Effects with Pollinators and Seed Predators

1
Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA
2
Department of Biology and Wildlife, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Brian T. Forschler
Insects 2016, 7(2), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects7020023
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 20 May 2016 / Accepted: 28 May 2016 / Published: 3 June 2016
Resource concentration effects occur when high resource density patches attract and support more foragers than low density patches. In contrast, resource dilution effects can occur if high density patches support fewer consumers. In this study, we examined the foraging rates of pollinators and seed predators on two perennial plant species (Rudbeckia triloba and Verbena stricta) as functions of resource density. Specifically, we examined whether resource-dense patches (densities of flower and seeds on individual plants) resulted in greater visitation and seed removal rates, respectively. We also examined whether foraging rates were context-dependent by conducting the study in two sites that varied in resource densities. For pollinators, we found negative relationships between the density of flowers per plant and visitation rates, suggesting dilution effects. For seed predators, we found positive relationships consistent with concentration effects. Saturation effects and differences in foraging behaviors might explain the opposite relationships; most of the seed predators were ants (recruitment-based foragers), and pollinators were mostly solitary foragers. We also found that foraging rates were site-dependent, possibly due to site-level differences in resource abundance and consumer densities. These results suggest that these two plant species may benefit from producing as many flowers as possible, given high levels of pollination and low seed predation. View Full-Text
Keywords: optimal foraging; scale; prairie; pollination; seed predation; Apidae; Formicidae optimal foraging; scale; prairie; pollination; seed predation; Apidae; Formicidae
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Wenninger, A.; Kim, T.N.; Spiesman, B.J.; Gratton, C. Contrasting Foraging Patterns: Testing Resource-Concentration and Dilution Effects with Pollinators and Seed Predators. Insects 2016, 7, 23.

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