Pollinator-mediated impacts of alien invasive plants on the pollination of native plants: the role of spatial scale and distinct behaviour among pollinator guilds.
Alien invasive plant species can affect pollination, reproductive success and population dynamics of co-flowering native species via shared pollinators. Consequences may range from reproductive competition to facilitation, but the ecological drivers determining the type and magnitude of such indirect interactions remain poorly understood. Here, we examine the role of the spatial scale of invader presence and spatially contingent behavioural responses of different pollinator groups as potential key drivers, using the invasive Oxalis pes-caprae and the self-incompatible native annual Diplotaxis erucoides as a model system. Three treatments were assigned to native focal plants: (1) invader present at the landscape scale (hectares) but experimentally removed at the floral neighbourhood scale (pa); (2) invader present at both scales (pp); (3) invader absent at both scales (aa). Interestingly, we found pronounced spatially contingent differences in the responses of pollinators: honeybees and bumblebees were strongly attracted into invaded sites at the landscape scale, translating into native plant visitation facilitation through honeybees, while bumblebees almost exclusively visited Oxalis. Non-corbiculate wild bees, in contrast, showed less pronounced responses in foraging behavior, primarily at the floral neighborhood scale. Average heterospecific (Oxalis) pollen deposition onto stigmas of Diplotaxis was low (<1%), but higher in the pp than in the pa treatment. Hand-pollination of Diplotaxis with Oxalis and conspecific pollen, however, reduced seed set by more than half when compared to hand-pollination with only conspecific pollen. Seed set of Diplotaxis, finally, was increased by 14% (reproductive facilitation) in the pp treatment, while it was reduced by 27% (reproductive competition) in the pa treatment compared to uninvaded populations. Our study highlights the crucial role of spatial scale and pollinator guild driving indirect effects of invasive on co-flowering native plant species.