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|Title:||Evidence of Pollinator-Mediated Selection for Floral Display Height|
|Keywords:||pollinator-mediated selection, floral display height, autogamously, mating, plants, behaviour and reproduction,|
|Abstract:||<p> Many floral characters have can affect plant fitness by altering the frequency or efficiency of pollinator visits. More frequent pollinator visitation may lead to larger pollen loads and greater outcrossing rates, which in tern may lead to greater numbers of offspring, with higher genetic variability and less inbreeding depression. Mating systems may moderate the strength of natural selection on traits that attract pollinators through its effects on inbreeding depression, and the ability to self-pollinate autogamously. Natural selection is expected to be stronger in largely outcrossing systems where inbreeding depression is high, but reduced in largely selfing systems where deleterious alleles have been purged.</p> <p> Here I investigate the role of floral display height in attracting pollinators, and its consequences for plant fitness in two closely related monocarpic herbs (Hesperis matronalis and Alliaria petiolata) with different mating systems. Though others have looked at height as a potential trait attracting pollinators, no one has yet clearly separated the effects of floral display height from that of plant size. I experimentally altered plant height independently of plant size by placing potted plants into either elevated or non-elevated treatments and observed pollinator foraging behaviour and reproduction.</p> <p> Pollinators preferred taller floral displays in the predominant outcrosser Hesperis matronalis. Elevated plants produced more seeds than control plants although their seeds were smaller, reflecting a strong seed size-number trade-off. Path analysis showed seed number was affected directly by plant height, presumably though greater pollinator visitation, and indirectly by plant mass through increased fruit number.</p> <p> In Alliaria petiolata, a predominant self-pollinating species, pollinators visited taller displays in field observations and experimentally elevated plants had significantly greater seed per fruit. Experimentally outcrossed and self-pollinated plants showed no difference in seed production, but offspring quality was significantly higher in outcrossed plants for early traits. Measures of maternal fitness increased significantly with both maternal and seed mass. For individual seeds, seed mass was the most important factor in seed fitness, where larger seeds germinated sooner, more frequently, and had higher survivorship than smaller seeds, regardless of pollination treatment. Competition strongly affected all seedling traits, with increased density having a significant negative effect on seedling mass, total leaf area, and maximum leaf length; and, a positive effect on hypocotyl length and petiole length. Seedling mass at harvest was not significantly affected by elevation treatment, seed mass, or maternal mass, however, this may have been due to lower competition brought about by low germination and survival; thus, competition did not accentuate the effect of maternal size or elevation treatment on seedling. Taken together, the results of these two studies suggest the importance of height, in attracting pollinators, independent of size in both species. The consequences of pollinator attraction were highly significant in the predominant outcrosser Hesperis matronalis, while maternal size and seed size played more important roles in the fitness of the predominant selfer Alliaria petiolata.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Digitized Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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