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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Research project: Bat pollination services: their importance and vulnerability to environmental changes

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This project aims to determine the dependence of Stenocereus queretaroensis on bat pollination; in order to demonstrate their importance and the risk of losing them, both ecologically and socio-economically, in the face of environmental changes.

Bat pollination services are extremely important to many crops and wild plants but are at risk from environmental changes. This study aims to boost the understanding of the importance of these services and the risk of losing them by investigating the dependence of Stenocereus queretaroensis, a species of columnar cactus that produces valuable fruit in Mexico, on pollination by bats. It will quantify the socio-economic value that this provides to beneficiaries across spatial scales and management intensity gradients. The project is utilising both ecological fieldwork techniques such as mist-netting bat communities, conducting exclusion experiments, and filming of flower visitors; along with structured interviews and household surveys of beneficiaries along all parts of the chain from production to consumption to produce a value-chain analysis. The extent to which bat pollination services are vulnerable to environmental changes will then be explored using modelling.

Funding: SPITFIRE Doctoral Training Programme

Funding Dates: September 2015 – March 2019

 

Related research groups

Environmental Biosciences
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