The structure of plant-pollinator networks may have large consequences for the way in which pollinator communities respond to increasingly harsh conditions. Mathematical models, examining the consequences of this network structure for the stability of pollinator communities, suggest that the specific way in which plant-pollinator networks are organized minimizes competition between pollinators and may even lead to strong indirect facilitation between pollinators when conditions are harsh. This allows pollinator species to survive together under harsh conditions. But it also means that pollinator species collapse simultaneously when conditions pass a critical point. This simultaneous collapse occurs because pollinator species depend on each other when surviving under difficult conditions.
Such a community-wide collapse, involving many pollinator species, can occur suddenly when increasingly harsh conditions pass a critical point and recovery from such a collapse might not be easy. The improvement in conditions needed for pollinators to recover could be substantially larger than the improvement needed to return to conditions at which the pollinator community collapsed.
# TBD 2020 "Against the Hierarchy of Despair" solo project at Pina, Vienna