Pollinators in the botanical garden
The diverse collection of the botanical garden presents a wide variety of flowering plants that are not only valuable due to their beauty, but host a diverse insect community. The flowers are visited by butterflies, hoverflies, honey bees and wild bee species that can find excellent nesting sites and foraging resources in the botanical garden. In 2018 a postdoctoral researcher, Mohamed A. Shebl, from Egypt studied the wild bee community of the garden during his 5 months long stay, and found almost 200 wild bee species. Among others he discovered Dasypoda morawitzi Radchenko, 2016 that was a new species in the wild bee checklist in Hungary. Based on his flower observation data Anikó Kovács-Hostyánszki and Imre Sándor Piross study the flower-visitation network between the wild bee and plant species. Their results show that both native and non-native plant species can play a key position in such a plant-pollinator network. They also study the effects of flower colour, flower morphology, and the nationwide distribution of the plant species on the flower visitation network and its key player species.
Soil seed bank research
Soil seed bank is composed by buried germinable seeds forming a hidden component of biological diversity. Even invisible for our eyes, hidden seeds may germinate and increase biodiversity years or decades after leaving their mother plants. Because of its hidden nature, there are a lot of open questions regarding the composition and ecological role of soil seed bank. The aim of the MTA-ÖK Lendület Seed Ecology Research Group is to reveal the importance of soil seed bank in creating and sustaining plant diversity in grasslands. After collecting soil samples from different soil layers, we germinate seeds from each layer to evaluate seed bank composition. Seed bank studies are unique tools to predict the regeneration potential of ecosystems under the increasing pressure of anthropogenic disturbance, land use changes and climate change.
More information: Orsolya Valkó
valko.orsolya [at] ecolres.hu
Outdoor experiment in the Botanical Garden
At the Institute of Ecology and Botany, the “Lendület” Landscape and Conservation Ecology Research Group in collaboration with the Botanical Garden, planed an outdoor experiment in the research area of the garden. In the experiment, the relationship between flowering invasive plants and pollinating insects will be investigated. Invasive plants (e.g. goldenrod, daisy fleabane) can cause a serious conservation problem if, transferred from their natural habitat, they find suitable habitat and expropriate it. The invasive plants sometimes attract insects that pollinate native plants (e.g., butterflies, bees, flies) so the native plants are unable to reproduce. The aim of the experiment is to investigate this phenomenon under controlled conditions. Invasive and native plant pairs with similar flowers will be planted next to each other to examine the pollinators choose.
More information: Ágota Réka Szabó, Assistant research fellow
szabo.agota [at] ecolres.hu