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Title. Key factors for the persistence of fragmented populations of rare or declining plant species and their preferential pollinators: pollination patterns, inbreeding depression, gene flow and available resources.

Funding. FRFC 2.4540.09, FNRS (Belgian National Funds for Research), 2009-2013.

Partners. UCL (Prof. A.-L. Jacquemart), National Botanical Garden of Belgium (Dr. F. Van Rossum and Dr. O. Raspé) and UMons (Dr. D. Michez).

Contact. Denis Michez.

Abstract. The main goal of this project was to identify key-factors associated to the persistence of fragmented populations of four rare entomophilous plants sharing similar habitats and pollinators (Comarum palustre, Menyanthes trifoliata, Vaccinium oxycoccos and V. uliginosum). We considered various populations with different size, connectivity, habitat quality and landscape structure. We evaluated for each population: (i) pollinator community (species composition, abundance and host-plant specialization); (ii) plant reproductive success (seed set, fruit set, pollen flow,…) and plant genetic diversity.

Publications.
Somme L, Vanderplanck M, Michez D, Lombaerde I, Moerman R, Wathelet B, Wattiez R, Lognay G, Jacquemart A-L. Pollen and nectar quality drive major and minor floral choices of bumble bees. Apidologie, I.F. 2.3., in press.
Van Rossum F, Vereecken NJ, Bredat E, Michez D, 2013. Pollen dispersal and fruit production in Vaccinium oxycoccos and comparison with its sympatric congener V. uliginosum. Plant Biology, I.F. 2.4, 15: 344-352.
Mayer C, Michez D, Chyzy A, Brédat E, Jacquemart A-L, 2012. The abundance and pollen foraging behaviour of Bumble bees in relation to population size of Whortleberry (Vaccinium uliginosum). Plos One, I.F. 4.1, 7 (11): e50353.