I just read this paper by Hanoteaux et al. (2012), describing the effects of spatial patterns on the pollination success of competing species. They show by using a model that when abundant plant species with attractive flower resources are aggregated, they tend to compete with other less attractive plants, but when they are more uniformly distributed the less attractive plants survive better. The model makes sense from a the pollinator perspective, and is in line with the Circe principle, suggested by Lander et al.
Why I am so happy about that? Well, during my PhD I did a very cool paper showing “Contrasting effects” of two invasive plants (yes, abundant and with attractive flowers, bear with me) on the local plant community. While one invasive species competes with the natives for pollinators, the other one has a facilitation effect. The main problem is that I couldn’t really explain why. But now I can! The invasive plant competing with natives (Opuntia stricta) is clustered, while the one facilitating (Carpobrotus aff. acinaciformis) is uniformly distributed! I would love to be able to update my discussion to add this 2012 reference in my 2008 paper. Would be like citing the future! Would be even better to have actual data on the spatial pattern of each species and test the models. But anyway, science works. I’ve spent 5 years showing a pattern I couldn’t fully explain. Now I have a hint on why this pattern occurs. We are moving forward!