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Friend or foe : exotic flora and ecosystem function

Birtchnell, Melanie and Gibson, Maria 2010, Friend or foe : exotic flora and ecosystem function, Victorian naturalist, vol. 127, no. 4, pp. 124-136.

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Title Friend or foe : exotic flora and ecosystem function
Author(s) Birtchnell, Melanie
Gibson, Maria
Journal name Victorian naturalist
Volume number 127
Issue number 4
Start page 124
End page 136
Total pages 13
Publisher Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
Place of publication Blackburn, Vic.
Publication date 2010-08
ISSN 0042-5184
Keyword(s) exotic flora
weeds
ecosystem function
pollen
pollinators
Summary Exotic flora, particularly weeds, are renowned for out-competing and displacing native flora, consequently affecting native fauna and pollinator relationships. Nonetheless, it stands to reason that weeds must provide some compensatory ecological value. This study assessed whether weeds are friend or foe to ecosystem function by considering the quality and quantity of pollen offered by widespread weeds in Australian ecosystems. Using the Honeybee Apis mellifera as a case study, and information derived from highly experienced commercial apiarists, we determined that 32 exotic plants are important pollen sources. Most species offered high to very high quality pollen. Pollen quality varied temporally, spatially and infraspecifically. Fifteen species were considered more beneficial to A. mellifera than others; only seven species were considered less beneficial. Thus, exotic flora contribute pollen resources that are valuable to maintain ecosystem function, particularly at times when flowering native species are few.
Language eng
Field of Research 050103 Invasive Species Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
HERDC collection year 2010
Copyright notice ©2010, Field Naturalists Club of Victoria
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30035341

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