Mutualisms are one of the most influential of all biological interactions for the generation and maintenance of biodiversity. Plant-pollinator mutualisms are particularly ubiquitous, with animal pollination positively influencing the reproduction of 87% of all flowering plant species and 75% of all crop species. Pollination systems, however, are under increasing anthropogenic threats from land-use change, habitat fragmentation, pesticide use, and invasions of non-native plants and animals. Understanding how pollinator populations respond toenvironmental impacts and how plant-pollinator communities assemble over evolutionary time or in response to disturbance will prove critical to managing and restoring biodiversity.
I hope to contribute to the understanding of mechanisms underlying the maintenance of species and interaction diversity in plant-pollinator communities and their assembly through time and space. Using theoretical and empirical approaches I will examine how plant-pollinator communities assemble 1) evolutionarily in a simulation-based approach, 2) though time by examining succession after fire in the Sierras, 3) though space in the island-like system of Madrean sky islands, and 4) in response to restoration in an intensely managed agricultural landscape in the Central Valley of California.