Article (Online ahead of print)
The recent focus on the importance of native plants and their pollinators has highlighted the critical role of local species in their natural environment. As urban encroachment, climate change, and invasive species continues to threaten native habitats, it is increasingly important to promote the use of local green spaces as refugia for native plants and their pollinators. The aim of this project, therefore, was to identify and assess the visitation frequency of insect pollinators associated with an urban setting within the Piedmont region of Virginia, and compare their association with native versus closely-related but non-native summer-flowering plants. Several modes of insect examination were used to assess these metrics in the Brian Wesley Moores Native Plant Garden on the campus of Randolph-Macon College. We observed an overall preference for the native species on a total of four native:non-native pair comparisons, including a higher number of total insect visitors and a more diverse assortment of pollinator types. Our data supports the notion that native plant species should be prioritized in urban green spaces, as it provides the appropriate flora to support ecosystem balance in a setting threatened by human activities.
Ruppel, N. J., Riley, S. M., Mumford, E. D., & Swedo, B. L. (2019). Pollinator visitation frequency associated with native and non-native plants in a Mid-Atlantic Piedmont (USA) urban garden. Virginia Journal of Science, 70(1-2), 15 pp. Online ahead of print. doi:10.25776/