It’s been a busy few days of science, eating great Norwegian food, catching up with old friends, and meeting new ones: The Scandinavian Association for Pollination Ecology’s 31st annual meeting is over. As I’ve reported in previous years – for example here and here and here – it’s been a whirlwind of great presentations and interesting discussions, far too much to summarise in a single blog post. But here’s my top 5 personal list of things that I discovered during SCAPE 2017:
- The hills are alive with microclimatic heterogeneity! Lisa-Maria Ohler introduced us to how variable ground temperature can be on a very local scale and how this might influence plant-pollinator diversity. Especially impressive was the fact that this was based on Lisa’s BSc thesis!
- Removal of abundant and well connected plant species (“hubs”) from a plant-pollinator network can affect insect visitation rates and pollen deposition (Paolo Biella). It was particularly good to catch up with this project as I’m one of the collaborators on it!
- Several very interesting talks discussed scent variation between Lithophragma populations and how this does not seem to correlate with flower shape and with the moth and bee pollinators, including this one by Mia Waters:
- Some invasive plants have much higher levels of pollen protein content than native plants which may be a reason why they are so successful – they attract more pollen-collecting visitors (Laura Russo).
- Old ideas of why heteranthery (flowers with two different types of anthers) have evolved may not be correct (Kathleen Kay). This is a question that vexed Darwin and still seems to be vexing pollination ecologists!
I also got some really useful ideas and feedback on my own presentation, which is one of the best things about small conferences such as SCAPE: just over 70 people took part. Next year will mark a break in tradition for SCAPE when, for the first time in its history, the 32nd meeting will take place outside of Scandinavia, in Ireland. Watch this space for more details next year!
Thanks to our Norwegian hosts for making the conference so welcoming; I’ll finish with some general photos of the conference and of the lovely town of Drøbak, where the meeting took place, and its aquarium: