Impacts of Plant Invasions in Native Plant–Pollinator Networks

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The disruption of mutualisms by invasive species has consequences for biodiversity loss and ecosystem function. Although invasive plant effects on the pollination of individual native species has been the subject of much study, their impacts on entire plant–pollinator communities are less understood. Community-level studies on plant invasion have mainly focused on two fronts: understanding the mechanisms that mediate their integration; and their effects on plant–pollinator network structure. Here we briefly review current knowledge and propose a more unified framework for evaluating invasive species integration and their effects on plant–pollinator communities. We further outline gaps in our understanding and propose ways to advance knowledge in this field. Specifically, modeling approaches have so far yielded important predictions regarding the outcome and drivers of invasive species effects on plant communities. However, experimental studies that test these predictions in the field are lacking. We further emphasize the need to understand the link between invasive plant effects on pollination network structure and their consequences for native plant population dynamics (population growth). Integrating demographic studies with those on pollination networks is thus key in order to achieve a more predictive understanding of pollinator-mediated effects of invasive species on the persistence of native plant biodiversity.