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Community Ecology

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 187–193 | Cite as

Information retrieved from specimens at Natural History Collections can improve the quality of field-based ecological networks

  • R. A. González-VaqueroEmail author
  • A. I. Gravel
  • M. Devoto
Article

Abstract

Numerous studies analyze the interactions between plants and their pollinators in ecological communities using a network approach. However, field studies rarely record all the interactions occurring in the field. In this sense Natural History Collections (NHCs) can provide information on interactions that may have been missed by field sampling. In this study we compare a network based on field sampling with a network based on data retrieved from specimens at NHCs, and we assess the degree to which these two sources of data are complementary. For this we used data available from a bee biodiversity study conducted in Southern Argentina for the South American bee genus Corynura (Halictidae: Augochlorini). Data on the floral associations of the specimens at NHCs were retrieved from the specimens’ labels, as the name of the plant species on which a given bee was captured is often recorded for many specimens at NHCs. Although field sampling recorded an unusually high number of insect-plant interactions, it misses some unique interactions present in the NHCs networks. Some structural properties of these networks are briefly analyzed, and usefulness and limitations of using NHCs data are discussed. We conclude that the information about insect-plant interactions extracted from NHCs could complement field-based data, especially in poorly sampled communities.

Keywords

Museum collections Mutualistic networks Plant-pollinator Pollination 

Abbreviations

AIG

Anne-Isabelle Gravel

CONICET

Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas

FAUBA

Facultad de Agronomía of the Universidad de Buenos Aires

INTA

Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria

MACN

Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales ‘Bernardino Rivadavia’

NHCs

Natural History Collections

RAGV

Rocío Ana González-Vaquero

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© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest 2014

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. González-Vaquero
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. I. Gravel
    • 2
  • M. Devoto
    • 3
  1. 1.Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales ‘Bernardino Rivadavia’CONICETBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.York UniversityTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Cátedra de Botánica, Facultad de AgronomíaUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina

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