Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 545585
Title Flower movement balances pollinator needs and pollen protection
Author(s) Haverkamp, Alexander; Li, Xiang; Hansson, Bill S.; Baldwin, Ian T.; Knaden, Markus; Yon, Felipe
Source Ecology 100 (2019)1. - ISSN 0012-9658
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2553
Department(s) Laboratory of Entomology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019
Keyword(s) flower handling - flower orientation - Manduca - Nicotiana - pollen viability - pollination
Abstract

Flower signaling and orientation are key characteristics that determine a flower's pollinator guild. However, many flowers actively move during their daily cycle, changing both their detectability and accessibility to pollinators. The flowers of the wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata orientate their corolla upward at sunset and downward after sunrise. Here, we investigated the effect of different flower orientations on a major pollinator of N. attenuata, the hawkmoth Manduca sexta. We found that although flower orientation influenced the flight altitude of the moth in respect to the flower, it did not alter the moth's final flower choice. These behavioral observations were consistent with the finding that orientation did not systematically change the spatial distribution of floral volatiles, which are major attractants for the moths. Moreover, hawkmoths invested the same amount of time into probing flowers at different orientations, even though they were only able to feed and gather pollen from horizontally and upward-oriented flowers, but not from downward-facing flowers. The orientation of the flower was hence crucial for a successful interaction between N. attenuata and its hawkmoth pollinator. Additionally, we also investigated potential adverse effects of exposing flowers at different orientations to natural daylight levels, finding that anther temperature of upward-oriented flowers was more than 7°C higher than for downward-oriented flowers. This increase in temperature likely caused the significantly reduced germination success that was observed for pollen grains from upward-oriented flowers in comparison to those of downward and horizontally oriented flowers. These results highlight the importance of flower reorientation to balance pollen protection and a successful interaction of the plant with its insect pollinators by maintaining the association between flower volatiles and flower accessibility to the pollinator.

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