Apr 13, 2010

Pollen limitation and reproductive assurance in Antillean Gesnerieae: a specialists vs. generalist comparison

Silvana Martén-Rodríguez, Charles B Fenster


Pollen limitation of female fecundity is widespread among angiosperms, a signal that pollinators frequently fail to transfer pollen to fertilize all ovules. Recent surveys have suggested that pollen limitation is associated with floral specialization. This study uses a group of Antillean Gesneriaceae with contrasting pollination systems (bat, hummingbird, and generalist) to assess the premise that plants with specialized pollination systems and infrequent pollinator visitation experience greater pollen limitation of fruit and seed set than their generalist congeners. Alternatively, specialists may possess mechanisms that reduce pollen limitation, such as autonomous self-pollination. A survey of autonomous self-pollination conducted on 13 Gesneria and Rhytidophyllum species during 2006-2008 revealed no significant association between reproductive assurance mechanisms and pollination system specialization. However, high levels of potential autonomous self-pollination were only found among specialized hummingbird-pollinated species. A comparison of fruit and seed set between emasculated and unmanipulated flowers provided evidence for autonomous selfing acting as a reproductive assurance mechanism in three out of four ornithophilou...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Plant Ovule
Gagea reticulata
Female Ovule
Contrast Used

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