Parallel declines in pollinators and insect-pollinated plants in Britain and the Netherlands

Science. 2006 Jul 21;313(5785):351-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1127863.


Despite widespread concern about declines in pollination services, little is known about the patterns of change in most pollinator assemblages. By studying bee and hoverfly assemblages in Britain and the Netherlands, we found evidence of declines (pre-versus post-1980) in local bee diversity in both countries; however, divergent trends were observed in hoverflies. Depending on the assemblage and location, pollinator declines were most frequent in habitat and flower specialists, in univoltine species, and/or in nonmigrants. In conjunction with this evidence, outcrossing plant species that are reliant on the declining pollinators have themselves declined relative to other plant species. Taken together, these findings strongly suggest a causal connection between local extinctions of functionally linked plant and pollinator species.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Migration
  • Animals
  • Bees*
  • Biodiversity*
  • Diptera*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Environment
  • Flowers
  • Netherlands
  • Plants*
  • Pollen*
  • Population Dynamics
  • United Kingdom