• Lush vegetation on the top of Spectacle Island's North drumlin dominates the foreground. Boston's skyline can be seen in the distance.  The park's logo with tag line minutes away, worlds apart empashises the stark contrast between the city and islands.

    Boston Harbor Islands

    National Recreation Area Massachusetts

Plant-pollinator Interaction Networks of Boston Harbor Islands

Sean Kent
Sean Kent
Northeastern University
Department of Biology
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
e-mail author
 
Delivered at 2008 Boston Harbor Islands Science Symposium.


Little is known about the effect of temporal and spatial dynamics on the topology and structure of pollination networks. The project seeks to investigate the pollination networks at mainland and island sites within Boston Harbor Islands. The research will produce a detailed pollination network, which will provide reliable estimates of the strength of specific pairwise interactions between flowering plants and pollinators. The main objectives will be to:
  1. Conduct biodiversity surveys of wild bees and other pollinators,
  2. Estimate the number of interactions per species (plant-pollinator) and the identity of interacting species, and
  3. Test if temporal and spatial variation in species assemblages and interaction partners affect the structural properties of BHI plant-pollinator networks.
Beginning in fall 2008, sampling will occur in old-field and scrub habitat at Worlds End, Spectacle Island, and Thompson Island. A pilot study is currently being conducted to determine the appropriate number and size of sampling units (quadrants and/or line transects). Conservation and management programs within the park will benefit from information pertaining to species that are highly and sparsely connected. This project will strengthen our comprehension of the stability and dynamics of pollination networks and lead to experiments that will investigate potential mechanisms responsible for observed topological and structural patterns.

Did You Know?

Bembidion nigrpiceum

Scientists have recently identified a beach-dwelling ground beetle at Boston Harbor Islands that has not been seen in North America for over 100 years. It is believed the beetle, Bembmidion nigropiceum, was brought to Boston from Europe in the 1800s via ship ballasts.