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Phenological shifts alter the seasonal structure of pollinator assemblages in Europe

Pollinators play an important role in terrestrial ecosystems by providing key ecosystem functions and services to wild plants and crops, respectively. The sustainable provision of such ecosystem functions and services requires diverse pollinator communities over the seasons. Despite evidence that climate warming shifts pollinator phenology, a general assessment of these shifts and their consequences on pollinator assemblages is still lacking. By analysing phenological shifts of over 2,000 species, we show that, on average, the mean flight date of European pollinators shifted to be 6 d earlier over the last 60 yr, while their flight period length decreased by 2 d. Our analysis further reveals that these shifts have probably altered the seasonal distribution of pollination function and services by decreasing the overlap among pollinators’ phenologies within European assemblages, except in the most northeastern part of Europe. Such changes are expected to decrease the functional redundancy and complementarity of pollinator assemblages and, therefore, might alter the performance of pollination function and services and their robustness to ongoing pollinator extinctions.

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