Gavin Ballantyne

Gavin Ballantyne

Dr Gavin Ballantyne

Lecturer

Biography

As an ecologist I study the interactions between different species and I’m especially fascinated by pollination. My research investigates the outcome of these interactions between animals and flowering plants. Thousands of species of bees and other insects benefit from pollen and nectar produced by flowers and the plants benefit from the pollination service these visitors provide. However, the outcome of these interactions isn’t always easy to predict. The likelihood of successful pollination can depend on the species of visitor and the composition of the surrounding plant community. So a certain species of bee might be an excellent pollinator of one plant species, but a terrible pollinator of another. Similarly, a species of hoverfly may be a great pollinator of a plant species in one habitat, but not very effective in another. Understanding this variation in pollination ability involves studying the outcomes of flower visits by many different species in many different contexts, including urban environments which are becoming increasingly important worldwide.

I’m passionate about the work for two main reasons. Firstly, it gives me the chance to familiarise myself with a wide variety of different plant and insect species in Scotland and around the world. My research touches on such a wide range of topics, from the learning abilities of bees, to the evolution of flowering plants. Secondly, we are totally dependent on pollination ecosystem services that these plants and animals provide for us. Understanding how vulnerable these interactions are to change and how they can adapt to the human modified environments is essential for our own security and wellbeing. Ideally we need to support a wide variety of potential pollinators, from many different bee species, to hoverfly and butterfly species and to do this we need as much information as possible about their ecology and the ecology of the plants that support them.

Research Gate: www.researchgate.net/profile/Gavin_Ballantyne
twitter: @GavBecology

Date


8 results

Environmental sustainability and biodiversity within the dental practice.

Journal Article
Duane, B., Ramasubbu, D., Harford, S., Steinbach, I., Stancliffe, R., & Ballantyne, G. (2019)
Environmental sustainability and biodiversity within the dental practice. British Dental Journal, 226(9), 701-705. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-019-0208-8
This paper forms part of a series of papers, seven in total, which have been requested by colleagues to help them as clinicians understand sustainability as it relates to dent...

Estimating pollinator performance of visitors to the self-incompatible crop-plant Brassica rapa by single visit deposition and pollen germination: a comparison of methods

Journal Article
Patchett, R., Ballantyne, G., & Willmer, P. (2017)
Estimating pollinator performance of visitors to the self-incompatible crop-plant Brassica rapa by single visit deposition and pollen germination: a comparison of methods. Journal of Pollination Ecology, 21(3), 78-85
Estimating the pollen-deposition effectiveness of flower visitors is fundamental to understanding their performance as pollinators. While estimates of visitation rates, pollen...

Pollinator importance networks illustrate the crucial value of bees in a highly speciose plant community

Journal Article
Ballantyne, G., Baldock, K. C. R., Rendell, L., & Willmer, P. (2017)
Pollinator importance networks illustrate the crucial value of bees in a highly speciose plant community. Scientific Reports, 7(1), https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-08798-x
Accurate predictions of pollination service delivery require a comprehensive understanding of the interactions between plants and flower visitors. To improve measurements of p...

Insights from measuring pollen deposition: quantifying the pre-eminence of bees as flower visitors and effective pollinators

Journal Article
Willmer, P. G., Cunnold, H., & Ballantyne, G. (2017)
Insights from measuring pollen deposition: quantifying the pre-eminence of bees as flower visitors and effective pollinators. Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 11(3), 411-425. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11829-017-9528-2
Using our accumulated datasets from Kenyan savanna, Mediterranean garigue, UK gardens and heathland, involving 76 plants from 30 families, we present detailed data to quantify...

Constructing more informative plant–pollinator networks: visitation and pollen deposition networks in a heathland plant community

Journal Article
Ballantyne, G., Baldock, K. C. R., & Willmer, P. G. (2015)
Constructing more informative plant–pollinator networks: visitation and pollen deposition networks in a heathland plant community. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282(1814), 20151130. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.1130
Interaction networks are widely used as tools to understand plant–pollinator communities, and to examine potential threats to plant diversity and food security if the ecosyste...

Why flower visitation is a poor proxy for pollination: measuring single-visit pollen deposition, with implications for pollination networks and conservation

Journal Article
King, C., Ballantyne, G., & Willmer, P. G. (2013)
Why flower visitation is a poor proxy for pollination: measuring single-visit pollen deposition, with implications for pollination networks and conservation. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 4(9), 811-818. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210x.12074
Summary The relative importance of specialized and generalized plant-pollinator relationships is contentious, yet analyses usually avoid direct measures of pollinator quality ...

Floral visitors and ant scent marks: noticed but not used?

Journal Article
Ballantyne, G., & Willmer, P. (2012)
Floral visitors and ant scent marks: noticed but not used?. Ecological Entomology, 37(5), 402-409. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2311.2012.01378.x
1. Bee behaviour when visiting flowers is mediated by diverse chemical cues and signals, from the flower itself and from previous visitors to the flower. Flowers recently visi...

Nectar Theft and Floral Ant-Repellence: A Link between Nectar Volume and Ant-Repellent Traits?

Journal Article
Ballantyne, G., & Willmer, P. (2012)
Nectar Theft and Floral Ant-Repellence: A Link between Nectar Volume and Ant-Repellent Traits?. PLOS ONE, 7(8), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0043869
As flower visitors, ants rarely benefit a plant. They are poor pollinators, and can also disrupt pollination by deterring other flower visitors, or by stealing nectar. Some pl...

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