Disappearing edge: the flowering period changes the distribution of insect pollinators in invasive goldenrod patches.
1. The response of animals to the edge reveals the potential mechanism underlying the impact of invasive plants on native pollinators. Many invasive plants flower only during a part of the growing season, which creates a temporal pattern of the availability of resources. This can lead to the emergence or disappearance of the edge effect in the pollinator community in the patches dominated by alien plants. 2. We tested whether the variability in the supply of flower resources created by dense stands of flowering invasive goldenrods could create a temporal edge effect for pollinating insects in a grassland landscape. We surveyed pollinator communities along transects perpendicular to the goldenrod-grassland edge. To understand the variation in edge effects, we surveyed the number of flowers, which are the main food resources for pollinators. 3. We found positive edge responses of abundance and species richness of all pollinator groups from the edges to the grassland interior before the goldenrod flowering period. During the goldenrod flowering period abundance and species richness of bees showed a neutral edge response, the response of butterflies and hoverflies towards the centre of the goldenrod patch were negative and positive respectively. 4. Our results revealed that the emergence of the edge effect in a pollinating insect community is associated with temporal usability of invasive plants as a food source. Thus, the combined outcome of the available resources and invasion of alien plants can help to understand the edge effect on pollinator distributions in the invaded landscapes.