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Does phenology explain plant-pollinator interactions at different latitudes? An assessment of its explanatory power in plant-hoverfly networks in French calcareous grasslands

de Manincor, Natasha; Hautekeete, Nina; Piquot, Yves; Schatz, Bertrand; Vanappelghem, Cédric; Massol, François

Title: Does phenology explain plant-pollinator interactions at different latitudes? An assessment of its explanatory power in plant-hoverfly networks in French calcareous grasslands

Authors: Natasha de Manincor¹*, Nina Hautekeete¹, Yves Piquot¹, Bertrand Schatz², Cédric Vanappelghem³, François Massol¹,4

Abstract

For plant-pollinator interactions to occur, the flowering of plants and the flying period of pollinators (i.e. their phenologies) have to overlap. Yet, few models make use of this principle to predict interactions and fewer still are able to compare interaction networks of different sizes. Here, we tackled both challenges using Bayesian Structural Equation Models (SEM), incorporating the effect of phenological overlap in six plant-hoverfly networks. Insect and plant abundances were strong determinants of the number of visits, while phenology overlap alone was not sufficient, but significantly improved model fit. Phenology overlap was a stronger determinant of plant-pollinator interactions in sites where the average overlap was longer and network compartmentalization was weaker, i.e. at higher latitudes. Our approach highlights the advantages of using Bayesian SEMs to compare interaction networks of different sizes along environmental gradients and articulates the various steps needed to do so.

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