Feb 26, 2016

Pollinator specialization imposes stronger evolutionary constraints on flower shape

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Simon JolyJohn Clark


Flowers show an unrivalled diversity as reproductive organs but the evolutionary forces underlying this diversity are still poorly understood. In animal-pollinated species, flower shape is fashioned by selection imposed by pollinators, which is expected to vary according to specific guilds of effective pollinators. Using the Antillean subtribe Gesneriinae (Gesneriaceae), we tested the hypothesis that the corolla shapes of specialists effectively pollinated by one functional type of pollinator have maintained more similar shapes through time due to stronger selection constraints than those of species effectively pollinated by more than one functional type of pollinator. Using geometric morphometrics, we show that corolla shape can differentiate hummingbird specialists, bat specialists, and species with a mixed-pollination strategy (pollinated by hummingbirds, bats, and occasionally insects). Then, using evolutionary models, we show that the corolla shape of hummingbird specialists has been evolving under balancing selection, whereas a neutral model of evolution was favoured for mixed-pollination species. This suggests that the corolla shape of pollination specialists remains more similar over macro-evolutionary periods of time t...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

SPP2 dioxygenase
Morphometric Analysis
Specialty Physician
Corolla (plant part)
Corolla (genus)

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