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Pollination by birds can be advantageous

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Why did some plant species change pollen maters in their evolution? An international team of researchers from the University of Bonn and the University of Liverpool, Suzhou (China), studied the reproductive system of a pair of three sister species. One species is contaminated by insects and the other by hummingbirds. A mechanism has been discovered that explains the switch from insects to ornithophily.The study is currently published in the journal Ecology and evolution..


Various strategies have evolved Pollination Of flowering plants. The frequency and efficiency of flower visitors play an important role. Here, there are major differences between different animal groups.Insects around the world, especially Bees, Is the most common pollen mater. Bees usually have a very small range of activity, while other pollen mating groups such as hummingbirds fly much longer distances. “Previously, plants were supposed to switch pollen mating groups from hummingbirds to hummingbirds when activity, and therefore honeybee pollination efficiency, was too low or unpredictable. A tall mountain“Dr. Stephen Abrahamchik of the Institute for Plant Biodiversity, University of Bonn, says. For example, in tropical alpine cloud forests, the humidity is often too high or too cold for many bees.

But why are there plants in areas of high diversity and abundance of bees, despite switching to hummingbirds, bats, and even smaller ground-dwelling mammals such as mice, lemuriformes, and honey possums? In a current study, Dr. Abrahamczyk and his colleagues have shown that the reasons for the evolutionary switchover of pollen mating groups are much more complex than previously expected. Two new times Race It arises from one original species in the process of evolution. For example, the two newly formed species are called sister species pairs because their distribution range is divided by mountain folds or ice ages.

Researchers analyzed three sister species pairs from different botanical families in terms of reproductive strategy.In each case, one sister group Hummingbird-Polline and bee pollinate the other. All species emerge from bee pollinated ancestors and occur in the North American region. High diversity And abundant bees. Using a series of pollination experiments, all of the honey pollinated species have a significantly higher seed set, and the seeds have a significantly higher germination rate when resulting from pollination by pollen from another individual plant of the same species. Was found.

“From these results, we can conclude that bee pollination has evolved in a population of bee pollinators that are particularly dependent on cross-pollination, that is, they cannot self-pollinate,” says Dr. Abrahmamczyk. Hummingbirds are particularly vulnerable to pollination because they have a wider range of activity than honeybees and move frequently between different plant individuals of the same species. plant It does not self-pollinate much more effectively than bees.

Bees often visit all the open flowers of one plant before flying to the next plant. Therefore, bees mainly promote self-pollination. Compared to hummingbirds, bees have another drawback. Bees are intensively cared for during flight, and combed pollen is placed in a pollen basket and fed to the larvae. As a result, only a small portion of the pollen can reach the stigma and fertilize the ovule. Hummingbirds, on the other hand, are not interested in pollen.

“These new insights can also be applied to the evolution of other pollination systems, such as pollination of bats and moths, in terms of frequency and efficiency,” says Dr. Abrahamchik. These results provide deeper insight into the evolution of plant-pollen mater interactions. They show that in understanding the evolution of pollination systems, the characteristics of plants and pollinators must be considered.


Flies and bees act like plant growers


For more information:
Stefan Abrahamczyk et al, Effect of plant reproductive system on evolution of hummingbird pollination, Ecology and evolution (2022). DOI: 10.1002 / ece3.8621

Provided by
University of Bonn

Quote: Bird pollinosis may be advantageous (February 18, 2022) Obtained February 18, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-02-pollination-birds-advantageous.html

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Pollination by birds can be advantageous

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