Hulting, K. A., L. R. Kemmerling, S. R. Griffin, J. Webb, A. K. Brown, and N. M. Haddad. 2024. Seed mix design and floral resources drive multitrophic interactions in prairie restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.14605

Citable PDF link:

  1. Ecological restoration often targets plant community recovery, but restoration success may depend on the recovery of a complex web of biotic interactions to maintain biodiversity and promote ecosystem services. Specifically, management that drives resource availability, such as seeding richness and provenance, may alter species interactions across multiple trophic levels. Using experimentally seeded prairies, we examine three key groups – plants, pollinators, and goldenrod crab spiders (Misumena vatia, predators of pollinators) – to understand the effects of species richness and admixture seed sourcing of restoration seed mixtures on multi-trophic interactions.
  2. Working with prairie plants, we experimentally manipulated seed mix richness and the number of seed source regions (single-source region or admixture seed sourcing). In each experimental prairie, we surveyed floral abundance and richness, pollinator visitation, and plant-M. vatia interactions.
  3. A high-richness seed mix increased floral abundance when seeds were sourced from a single geographic region, and floral abundance strongly increased pollinator visitation, M. vatia abundance, and prey capture. Seeding richness and admixture seed sourcing of the seed mixture did not affect floral species richness, but floral species richness increased pollinator visitation.
  4. Pollinators interacted with different floral communities across seeding treatments, indicating a shift in visited floral species with restoration practices.
  5. Synthesis and applications. Long-term success in prairie restoration requires the restoration of plant-arthropod interactions. We provide evidence that seed mix richness and admixture seed sourcing affect arthropod floral associations, but effective restoration of plant-arthropod interactions should consider total floral resource availability. Incorporating a food web perspective in restoration will strengthen approaches to whole ecosystem restoration.

DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.14605

Data URL:

Associated Treatment Areas:

LTER Research Context

Download citation to endnote bibtex

Get PDF back to index
Sign In