Land-Use change has no detectable effect on reproduction of a disturbance-adapted, hawkmoth-pollinated plant species

Krissa A. Skogen*, Tania Jogesh, Evan T. Hilpman, Sadie L. Todd, Matthew K. Rhodes, Shannon M. Still, Jeremie B. Fant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Land-use change is cited as a primary driver of global biodiversity loss, with myriad consequences for species, populations, and ecosystems. However, few studies have examined its impact on species interactions, particularly pollination. Furthermore, when the effects of land-use change on pollination have been studied, the focus has largely been on species pollinated by diurnal pollinators, namely, bees and butterflies. Here, we focus on Oenothera harringtonii, a night-flowering, disturbance-adapted species that has experienced a range-wide gradient of land-use change. We tested the hypothesis that the negative impacts of land-use change are mitigated by long-distance pollination. METHODS: Our study included both temporal (4 yr) and spatial (19 populations range-wide, and 1, 2, and 5 km from the population center) data, providing a comprehensive understanding of the role of land-use change on pollination biology and reproduction. KEY RESULTS: We first confirmed that O. harringtonii is self-incompatible and reliant on pollinators for reproduction. We then showed that hawkmoths (primarily Hyles lineata) are highly reliable and effective pollinators in both space and time. Unlike other studies, we did not detect an effect of population size, increased isolation, or a reduction in suitable habitat in areas with evidence of land-use change on pollination (visitation, pollen removal and deposition). Furthermore, the proportion of suitable habitat and other fragmentation metrics examined were not associated with population size or density in this plant species. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that nocturnal pollination of Oenothera harringtonii via hawkmoths is robust to the negative impacts of land-use change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1950-1963
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2016


  • Bee
  • Diurnal pollination
  • Fragmentation
  • Hawkmoth
  • Hyles
  • Land-use change
  • Nocturnal pollination
  • Oenothera
  • Onagraceae
  • Pollinator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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