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Portrait of Henrik Smith. Photo.

Henrik Smith


Portrait of Henrik Smith. Photo.

Within-bloom shift in abundance of a wild pollinator mediates pollen deposition rates to blueberry


  • Ulrika Samnegård
  • Liam K. Kendall
  • Martin E. Brummell
  • Maurizio Rocchetti
  • Karen Cristine Bezerra da Silva Santos
  • Henrik G. Smith
  • Romina Rader

Summary, in English

Intra-seasonal variation in abiotic and biotic conditions can have profound consequences for pollinator community compositions and foraging movement, with flow-on effects upon pollination services. Yet, few studies have related such variations to pollination services in crop systems. In a cultivated highbush blueberry system with two primary pollinators — the managed European honey bee and a wild stingless bee species — we investigated how pollinator abundances, bee foraging behaviour, and con- and heterospecific stigmatic pollen loads changed over early, mid, and late blueberry blooming. Both con- and heterospecific stigmatic pollen loads declined following early bloom. This shift was associated with a decline in the abundance of stingless bees, whereas the abundance of honey bees only declined during late bloom. Simultaneously, honey bees were more likely to forage for blueberry pollen, and stigmatic pollen loads, relative to bee abundance, increased during late bloom. Although mixed pollen loads were common on pollinator bodies, especially on pollen foraging honey bees, heterospecific pollen deposition on blueberry stigmas was low. Given the similar effectiveness of honey bees and stingless bees as pollinators of blueberries, we contend that the observed seasonal variation in pollen deposition is likely caused by the decline in stingless bee abundances, as honey bees were not able to fully compensate for the loss of stingless bees during late bloom. Greater consideration of seasonal heterogeneity of pollinator abundance and behaviour, as part of pollination management plans, may aid in ensuring high pollination services throughout the entirety of crop bloom.


  • Biodiversity and Conservation Science
  • BECC: Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate
  • Biodiversity
  • Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC)
  • LU Profile Area: Nature-based future solutions

Publishing year







Basic and Applied Ecology



Document type

Journal article




  • Ecology
  • Agricultural Science


  • Floral constancy
  • Foraging behaviour
  • Heterospecific pollen
  • Honey bee
  • Phenology
  • Pollination
  • Stingless bee
  • Temporal changes
  • Tetragonula
  • Vaccinium



Research group

  • Biodiversity and Conservation Science


  • ISSN: 1439-1791