Are Pollination Services Limited to Sungold Cherry Tomato Plants in Urban Agricultural Landscapes in Detroit, Michigan?
Tardiff, Emma J.
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Most crops in global food production benefit from pollination services. Agricultural intensification has resulted in commercial agriculture fields relying heavily on the non-native European honeybee for pollination needs. However, the urban agriculture movement depends on wild bees for pollination services and it has been found that they are more effective at pollinating most crops compared to honeybees. We investigated pollination services using crop fitness of a sungold cherry tomato variety at six urban farms or community gardens in Detroit, Michigan. Pollen service indicators (fruit set, seed set and average total mass yield) were measured using four pollination treatments (open, self, cross, and exclusion control). We tested local and landscape variables (floral diversity, floral abundance, percent green space, site age and site size) as predictors of pollen service. Open pollination treatments had significantly higher fruit set compared to self-pollination treatments. We found trends in seed set being higher for open pollination treatments. We also saw that open pollination treatments had significantly higher total average mass yields than cross-pollination, self-pollination, and control treatments. Floral diversity was marginally significant in predicting fruit set. With a better understanding of pollination services in urban areas we can improve urban agriculture food production. This shift in urban land use can also be utilized for conservation of wild bee communities in urban areas.