This study examines patterns and causes of variation in the reproductive success of the desert annual Stipa capensis. Three nested scales of variation were analyzed: variation between individuals of the same plot, variation between different plots of the same habitat, and variation between different habitats in the same region. Perturbation experiments (irrigation and neighbors removal) were performed to test the effects of heterogeneity in soil water and neighborhood competition on the magnitud
e of variation in each scale. The results demonstrate that variation of reproductive success was highest within plots, lowest between plots, and moderate between habitats. Soil water heterogeneity contributed to spatial variation in all scales but was most important for differences between habitats. Neighborhood competition increased the variation within plots, but decreased the variation between habitats. The results further demonstrate that water limitation was negatively correlated with the position of the habitat along the run-off/run-on gradient. An opposite trend was obtained for the effect of competition.
Long-tongued Anthophora spp. bees collecting nectar from flowers of Anchusa strigosa (Boraginaceae) exhibit systematic foraging. Successive forager arrivals at individual flowers are not independent, and the time elapsed between successive arrivals at a particular flower is distributed more uniformly than be expected on the basis of a random arrival process. Distributions of inter-arrival time for individual flowers show standard deviation/mean ratios of 0.44–0.79, a range which is consistent wi
th results obtained for two other plant-pollinator systems. The rate at which nectar is renewed between successive forager arrivals is independent of the amount of nectar in the flower, and the renewal process is strongly linear. Practical and theoretical implications of these results are discussed.