Plant-flower visitor network from Avon Gorge, UK

  • Luisa Gigante Carvalheiro (Creator)
  • Debora Pignatari Drucker (Contributor)
  • José Augusto Salim (Contributor)
  • Jorrit Poelen (Contributor)
  • Filipi Miranda Soares (Contributor)



Abstract This dataset gathers information on interactions between plants and their flower visitors collected throughout 2004 (11 surveys covering local flowering season) the Avon Gorge (England), an iconic field site well known for its rare plant populations. The study area (1480 m2 ) included a broad range of flowering plants, and overall the dataset shows information for 260 species (81 plant species, 179 insect species and morphospecies). Classification System all taxa were identified by specialist taxonomists Sampling Description A total of 11 survey visits were carried out from 10 May to 27 September 2004, this covering the main period of insect activity. Flower and insect surveys took place approximately every 14 days under dry conditions. In each flower abundance survey, a stratified random design was used to select 1 m2 quadrats in the study area. The area was divided into nine sub-areas based on habitat type and accessibility. Each sub-area was divided into 1 m2 quadrats and 2·5% (37) of these were randomly selected per sampling occasion. In each quadrat, the number of floral units of each plant species was recorded, defined as the distance that a small bee (c.1 cm length) would fly, rather than walk (Saville 1993). For example, in the Asteraceae, a flower unit is the entire inflorescence while in the Rosaceae, a flower unit is a single flower. Thus, the floral unit is defined from the bee’s perspective rather than by flower anatomy. Rare flowers which were missed using this method were included in the food web data as rare species with an abundance of two flower units (which was the lowest number of units observed in the plot for any species). In the insect surveys, an observation point was chosen for each flowering plant species by randomly selecting one of the quadrats where the species was present. All the flowering units that could be surveyed by a single observer (approximately a semi-circle with 1-m radius) were observed for 20 min. On consecutive sampling occasions, plant species were rotated through three time slots, the morning (09.00–12.00 h), early afternoon (12.00–15.00 h) and late afternoon (15.00–18.00 h), to allow each species to be observed equally over time. At least two floral units were observed per plant species per sample. All flower–visitor interactions were recorded, and all visitors observed were collected for identification. To estimate the overall abundance of each plant species, the average number of flower units per 1 m 2 quadrat was multiplied by the total area of the study site. To estimate the interaction frequency for each visitor–plant species pair, we divided the total number of visits recorded by the number of flower units observed (per 20 min) and then multiplied by the total number of floral units in the study plot. By collecting the insects, we did not allow for repeated visits by the same individual; hence, some visitation frequencies may be underestimated. However, collecting specimens is essential for identification of most visitor species. Hymenoptera, Diptera, and Coleoptera were identified by taxonomists either to species or to morphospecies. Lepidoptera were identified to species by the authors and Heteroptera and parasitoids were morphotyped by the authors.
Date made available19 Feb 2024

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