Trophic cascades across ecosystems
Healthy ponds with fish benefit flowering plants with more frequent pollinator visits.
Written by: Tiffany M. Knight1,2, Michael W. McCoy1, Jonathan M. Chase2, Krista A. McCoy1 & Robert D. Holt1
In this eight-pond study on pollinator population, researchers found that keeping ponds healthy creates a mutually beneficial environment for fish, plants, and bees. The plants near healthy ponds had two times more pollen than plants near unhealthy ponds. Pollinator visitation rates on plants were much higher near ponds with ﬁsh than plants near fish-free ponds, and most pollinator visitors near ponds with ﬁsh consisted of bees, whereas most visitors near ﬁsh-free ponds consisted of ﬂies.
KEY TAKEAWAYS FOR POND AERATION
- Decline in ﬁsh population and the resulting increase in dragonﬂies due to pond eutrophication, hydroperiod modiﬁcation, and pollution indirectly harm insect-pollinated plants. The ﬁndings emphasize how different interconnected ecosystems drive landscape-level impacts.
- Results indicate that ﬁsh presence lowers larval and adult dragonﬂy population in and around ponds, causing cascading indirect effects on pollinator visitation rates and plant reproductive output in adjacent land.
- Interactions across ecosystem types (aquatic and terrestrial) may be key to gauging the effects of human activity on environmental change.
Published: 2005 Nature Publishing Group, NATURE Vol. 437 (6) October 2005
PondHawk® BRIEFS™ (Beneficial Research Intended Exclusively For Superintendents) is provided by LINNE Industries, © 2022
Department of Zoology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, USA
Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63130, USA