Reduced precipitation frequency increases pollinator floral resources in an Australian old-field grassland
This project is designed to examine changes in grassland phenology for floral resources in the context of altered amount and timing of precipitation and remnant/old-field systems that provide provisioning for pollinators within agricultural landscapes. The DRIGrass experimental platform was established at the Hawkesbury Forest Experiment of Western Sydney University in 2013, and detailed shelter design and construction information can be found in Power et al (2016). All ambient precipitation is intercepted by sloped clear shelters that cover a plot area of 1.8 m by 2 m. Water treatments are applied using an irrigation system that regulate water application amounts to individual plots. Irrigation is applied to mirror ambient rainfall patterns, with the amount of water distributed proportionate to the amount of precipitation in the previous 24 hours. For our experiment, four water treatments were examined, including an ambient including an ambient precipitation pattern applied under shelters (Ambient; all precipitation in the prior 24 hours), a 50% reduction in individual precipitation events (Drought), a reduced frequency treatment (Frequency) where daily precipitation is summed over 22-day intervals and applied in a single event. The final water treatment includes equivalent size plots without a shelter in place, providing shelter effect contrasts. Initial site installation was supported by Sally Power (WSU), and funding for this particular project was coordinated by Amy-Marie Gilpin. Phenocam analyses are driven by Jinyan Yang, and early results were presented at #ESA2021 by Amy Churchill- with more available here soon!