Juliana Pille Arnold
Thesis: Plant-pollinator networks and the spatial energetics of pollination failure in degraded landscapes
I’m a PhD candidate with the School of Biological Sciences at UWA and CSIRO Land and Water. My PhD research project is investigating the impact of environmental change on plant-pollinator interaction networks, insect pollinator diversity and floral resources for pollinators in the southwest of Western Australia – the nation’s only global biodiversity hotspot. My research aims to assess the processes limiting pollinator visitation in modified landscapes at a landscape scale, as well as to determine the management requirements of pollinator insects in a degraded landscape context. More specifically, the aims of my PhD project are:
(1) to test the influence of changing landscape structure on plant-pollinator networks,
(2) to test the impact of a gradient of landscape degradation on the diversity of insect pollinators, and
(3) to test whether flower resource availability in the landscape limits the movement and dispersal of insect pollinators and, therefore, the provision of pollination services in ecologically valuable landscapes threatened by human-modification.
This project will produce knowledge to inform mitigation strategies for restoration and conservation of plants, pollinators, and pollination services in modified landscapes.
Why my research is important
By addressing crucial knowledge gaps in the study of impacts of environmental change on plant-pollinator interaction networks and on diversity of insect pollinators, my project will enable a broader understanding of the importance of fauna-mediated ecosystem services, and the role of plant communities in supporting pollinators through the provision of floral resources in Australia’s native ecosystems. Secondly, in an applied context, my project will make a significant contribution towards understanding the relationship between landscape disturbance and pollinator movement in response to resources. Such insight is needed to underpin sustainable urban development and the implementation of effective conservation and habitat restoration programs in Australia and worldwide. Through characterising the processes limiting pollinator visitation, my project will provide critical management requirement insight for pollinator insects and plants in a degraded landscape context.