Claire Gay

Understanding of the role of pollinators in agricultural landscapes in different management contexts

My research work is based on data collected on the Zone Atelier Plaine & Val de Sèvre. Each year, plant-pollinator interactions are sampled in this study area, i.e. the insect seen in foraging behavior on a flower, in different cultures and at different periods. These interactions contribute to the ecosystem service of pollination. The latter is provided by both managed pollinators including honeybees and various guilds of wild pollinators, such as wild bees, hoverflies and butterflies.
Thanks to its wide food spectrum, its social behavior and its easy management, the honeybee is very abundant in agricultural lands. This overabundance of one species compared to the others is also found on the other side of the interaction. Essentially, in plants, oilseed rapes and sunflowers are superabundant in agricultural landscapes during their flowering blooms compared to wild flowers. All this creates fluctuations in the presence and abundance of pollinators but also in their use of the floral resource. Thus, there is a variation in the quantity and diversity of available flowers depending on seasons or on crops. In this context of very strong spatio-temporal heterogeneity, the first part of my research consists in better characterizing these patterns of mutualistic interactions carried out in the Zone Atelier through the study of interaction networks, and in evaluating their structural variability at different levels (depending on crops, periods, pollinators functional groups, and so on).

PhD student – AGRIPOP team (2020-2023)
Supervisors: Sabrina Gaba (INRAE-AGRIPOP) and Vincent Bretagnolle (CNRS-AGRIPOP)
Funding: SHOWCASE project (H2020)
Doctoral school: Euclide (La Rochelle Université)