Phenologically explicit models for studying plant-pollinator interactions under climate change

William F. Fagan, Sharon Bewick, Steve Cantrell, Chris Cosner, Isabela Galarda Varassin, David W. Inouye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Climate change is significantly influencing phenology. One potential effect is that historically interacting partners will respond to climate change at different rates, creating the potential for a phenological mismatch among previously synchronized interacting species, or even sexes of the same species. Focusing on plant demographics in a plant-pollinator interaction, we develop a hybrid dynamical model that uses a "non-autonomous" differential equation system (Zonneveld model) for within-season dynamics and discrete equations for season-to-season dynamics. Our model outlines how and when changes in the relative phenologies of an interacting species pair will alter the demographic outcome of the interaction. For our plant-pollinator system, we find that plant population growth rates are particularly sensitive to phenology mismatch when flowers are short-lived, when pollinators are short-lived, or when flowers and pollinators exhibit high levels of within-population synchrony in emergence or arrival dates. More generally, our aim is to introduce the use of hybrid dynamical models as a framework through which researchers can directly explore the demographic consequences of climatically driven phenological change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-297
Number of pages9
JournalTheoretical Ecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Allee effect
  • Flower senescence
  • Non-autonomous ordinary differential equation
  • Phenology
  • Pollinator emigration
  • Temporal match-mismatch hypothesis
  • Zonneveld equation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Ecological Modeling


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