Olivia Bernauer: Understanding apple and cherry pollinators: comparing pollinator effectiveness

Pollinators facilitate the reproduction of many flowering plants, including a variety of crop plants. Apples and cherries are two economically-valuable, pollinator-dependent crops grown in NSW, meaning that the successful production of apple and cherry fruits depends on help from pollinators. Many of these important pollinators are insects like beetles, flies, moths, and wild and managed bees. To preserve apple and cherry production into the future, it is important to understand this pollination relationship. Examining pollination effectiveness can help us to better understand how different pollinator species are interacting with crop flowers and influencing fruit production. Pollination effectiveness is the average amount of pollen deposited per visit to the flower combined with the pollinator visitation rate. To study pollination effectiveness a single-visit study was conducted, and pollinator specimens were collected directly from crop flowers to evaluate the quantity and identity of the loose pollen grains on their bodies. From the results of this research, we can start to evaluate the quality of different pollinator species visiting apple and cherry flowers.