light pollution ; interconnectedness; pollen-transport networks; network robustness; network structure; nocturnal pollinator communities; night-time plant-pollinator networks
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Interactions among species drive the ecological and evolutionary processes in ecological communities, and networks provide a systematic way of describing these interactions. Over the last decade, research on plant-pollinator interaction networks has increased exponentially. However, this research has focused only on diurnal pollinators and has excluded nocturnal pollinators. Consequently, our current understanding of plant-pollinator interaction networks is very incomplete. Additionally, artificial lighting is known to affect nocturnal organisms and is rapidly increasing worldwide (approximately 6% more illuminated area a year globally), but almost nothing is known about how it affects nocturnal pollinator communities and the related ecosystem services. Here, we propose to investigate for the first time the structure of full plant-pollinator networks, by including day-time and night-time networks, and to analyse how the day-time and night-time networks are interconnected. Further, we will experimentally test how these networks respond to artificial lighting (LED-street lamps), which is an increasing anthropogenic perturbation worldwide. Finally, by simulating extinction scenarios we will go beyond observational and experimental evidence and analyse the robustness of day-time, night-time and full networks to species extinctions, and how the robustness changes given artificial lighting.The plant-pollinator networks will be sampled at a total of 20 sites during both day and night, using night-vision equipment and torches for the night observations. The impact of artificial lighting will be investigated by installing mobile street lamps on 10 experimental field sites. Our proposed project will run over three years, with two large field experiments in the first two years and simulations in the third year. Exploring full networks, i.e. day-time and night-time networks together and their interconnectedness will be an important step towards a more accurate picture of the structure and functioning of mutualistic plant-pollinator interactions. In particular, the robustness of plant-pollination networks to species extinctions might be altered when nocturnal pollinators are also considered. Further, our artificial light treatment and simulations will demonstrate how plant-pollinator communities respond to increased light pollution. This is particularly important in the context of the global pollinator crisis.