Is the magnitude of pollen limitation in a plant community affected by pollinator visitation and plant species specialisation levels?

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Pollen limitation on a plant community level has received little attention, although it might show which pollination-related traits may cause pollen limitation to vary among species. To address several central questions in plant reproductive biology, we investigated pollen limitation in 11 plant species, including visitation and specialisation levels of all species. The female reproductive success of most species within the studied plant community was not pollen limited, but a general tradeoff between seed production and seed weight occurred as a response to supplemental pollination. In contrast to general notion, we did not find that less visited species were most pollen limited. Instead, it appears that species with high visitation rates were most pollen limited. Our study provided conflicting evidence to whether specialisation levels may affect the degree of pollen limitation within the study community. We discuss these findings in the context of recent reviews on the occurrence, causes and consequences of pollen limitation in plants. In particular, we propose that, although pollen limitation is an important phenomenon, 1) the majority of species within a plant community may not experience pollen limitation at a given moment, 2) that common notions of which plant species should experience pollen limited reproductive success do not hold true in the studied plant community, and 3) that offspring quality is as likely affected by surplus pollen loads as is the number of offspring.

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