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Warming of experimental plant–pollinator communities advances phenologies, alters traits, reduces interactions and depresses reproduction

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Climate change may disrupt plant-pollinator mutualisms by generating phenological asynchronies and by altering traits that shape interaction costs and benefits. Our knowledge is limited to studies that manipulate only one partner or focus on either phenological or trait-based mismatches. We assembled communities of three annual plants and a solitary bee prior to flowering and emergence to test how springtime warming affects phenologies, traits, interactions and reproductive output. Warming advanced community-level flowering onset, peak and end but did not alter bee emergence. Warmed plant communities produced fewer and smaller flowers with less, more-concentrated nectar, reducing attractiveness, and warmed bees were more generalized in their foraging, reducing their effectiveness. Plant-bee interactions were less frequent, shorter and peaked earlier under warming. As a result, warmed plants produced fewer, lighter seeds, indicating pollinator-mediated fitness costs. Climate change will perturb plant-pollinator mutualisms, causing wide-ranging effects on partner species and diminishing the ecosystem service they provide.

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