Nurse shrub facilitation of ecosystem services: How plant diversity in the understorey of Retama sphaerocarpa increases pollination
- Start – End: 2017 – 2018
- Institution: University of Zurich
- Authors: Elizabeth Norton, Gianalberto Losapio, Bernhard Schmid & Christian Schöb
The leguminous shrub Retama is very abundant at the Palacio Viejo de Las Corchuelas estate. It is known to facilitate other plants beneath its canopy, thereby increasing plant diversity of the ecosystem. In this Master thesis, we could show that this facilitative effect scales up to pollinators. Both increased plant diversity and the presence of Retama increased pollinator richness and abundance, resulting in the best pollination service in cases where Retama and a diverse understorey plant community co-occur. The study demonstrates the crucial role of diversity, keystone species and beneficial interactions for ecosystem functioning.