In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (1)

Articles by Teresa M. Stoepler in JoVE

Other articles by Teresa M. Stoepler on PubMed

Differential Pollinator Effectiveness and Importance in a Milkweed (Asclepias, Apocynaceae) Hybrid Zone

American Journal of Botany. Mar, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22358041

• Premise of the study: Exceptions to the ideal of complete reproductive isolation between species are commonly encountered in diverse plant, animal, and fungal groups, but often the causative ecological processes are poorly understood. In flowering plants, the outcome of hybridization depends in part on the effectiveness of pollinators in interspecific pollen transport. In the Asclepias exaltata and A. syriaca (Apocynaceae) hybrid zone in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, extensive introgression has been documented. The objectives of this study were to (1) determine the extent of pollinator overlap among A. exaltata, A. syriaca, and their hybrids and (2) identify the insect taxa responsible for hybridization and introgression. • Methods: We observed focal plants of parental species and hybrids to measure visitation rate, visit duration, and per-visit pollinia removal and deposition, and we calculated pollinator effectiveness and importance. • Key results: Visitation rates varied significantly between the 2 yr of the study. Overall, Apis mellifera, Bombus sp., and Epargyreus clarus were the most important pollinators. However, Bombus sp. was the only visitor that was observed to both remove and insert pollinia for both parent species as well as hybrids. • Conclusions: We conclude that Bombus may be a key agent of hybridization and introgression in these sympatric milkweed populations, and hybrids are neither preferred nor selected against by pollinators. Thus, we have identified a potential mechanism for how hybrids act as bridges to gene flow between A. exaltata and A. syriaca. These results provide insights into the breakdown of prezygotic isolating mechanisms.

simple hit counter