Abstract Detail


Brazeau, Hannah [1], Caruso, Christina [1].

Selection on floral traits in Mimulus guttatus under simulated pollinator decline.

Plants and pollinators have been intimately linked for millions of years, with more than 80% of flowering plants relying on insects for pollination in exchange for nutrition. This relationship has received increasing attention in recent years due to declines in pollinator abundance that threaten to disrupt plant-pollinator mutualisms. To investigate how flowering plants adapt to pollinator decline, we conducted a field experiment using Mimulus guttatus and bridal veil bags to simulate pollinator decline. We measured selection on floral traits associated with pollinator attraction (flower size) and propensity for self-pollination (stigma-anther separation) to determine if selection on pollinator attraction or selfing traits is altered when access to pollinators is reduced. If simulated pollinator decline intensifies selection for larger flowers, then plants have the potential to adapt to pollinator decline by evolving traits that reinforce interactions with pollinators through increased pollinator attraction. Contrastingly, if simulated pollinator decline intensifies selection for smaller flowers with decreased stigma-anther separation, then plants have the potential to decrease reliance on pollinators by evolving traits that increase autonomous self-pollination. Both of these adaptive pathways have the potential to alter the quantity and genetic diversity of offspring, and as such, could influence ecological processes, such as plant population growth and persistence. These altered ecological processes may then trigger an eco-evolutionary feedback loop, in which floral adaptations to pollinator decline exacerbate further pollinator decline.

1 - University Of Guelph, Department Of Integrative Biology, Summerlee Science Complex, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada

plant-pollinator interactions
floral evolution
pollinator decline.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Abstract ID:438
Candidate for Awards:Ecological Section Best Graduate Student Paper


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