Interaction webs, or networks, define how the members of two or more trophic levels interact. However, the traits that mediate network structure have not been widely investigated. Generally, the mechanism that determines plant-pollinator partnerships is thought to involve the matching of a suite of species traits (such as abundance, phenology, morphology) between trophic levels. These traits are often unknown or hard to measure, but may reflect phylogenetic history. We asked whether morphological traits or phylogenetic history were more important in mediating network structure in mutualistic plant-pollinator interaction networks from Western Canada. At the plant species level, sexual system, growth form, and flower symmetry were the most important traits. For example species with radially symmetrical flowers had more connections within their modules (a subset of species that interact more among one another than outside of the module) than species with bilaterally symmetrical flowers. At the pollinator species level, social species had more connections within and among modules. In addition, larger pollinators tended to be more specialized. As traits mediate interactions and have a phylogenetic signal, we found that phylogenetically close species tend to interact with a similar set of species. At the network level, patterns were weak, but we found increasing functional trait and phylogenetic diversity of plants associated with increased weighted nestedness. These results provide evidence that both specific traits and phylogenetic history can contribute to the nature of mutualistic interactions within networks, but they explain less variation between networks.
Bees provide essential pollination services that are potentially affected both by local farm management and the surrounding landscape. To better understand these different factors, we modelled the relative effects of landscape composition (nesting and floral resources within foraging distances), landscape configuration (patch shape, interpatch connectivity and habitat aggregation) and farm management (organic vs. conventional and local-scale field diversity), and their interactions, on wild bee abundance and richness for 39 crop systems globally. Bee abundance and richness were higher in diversified and organic fields and in landscapes comprising more high-quality habitats; bee richness on conventional fields with low diversity benefited most from high-quality surrounding land cover. Landscape configuration effects were weak. Bee responses varied slightly by biome. Our synthesis reveals that pollinator persistence will depend on both the maintenance of high-quality habitats around farms and on local management practices that may offset impacts of intensive monoculture agriculture.
Hermaphroditic individuals can produce both selfed and outcrossed progeny, termed mixed mating. General theory predicts that mixed-mating populations should evolve quickly toward high rates of selfing, driven by rapid purging of genetic load and loss of inbreeding depression (ID), but the substantial number of mixed-mating species observed in nature calls this prediction into question. Lower average ID reported for selfing than for outcrossing populations is consistent with purging and suggests that mixed-mating taxa in evolutionary transition will have intermediate ID. We compared the magnitude of ID from published estimates for highly selfing (r > 0.8), mixed-mating (0.2 ? r ? 0.8), and highly outcrossing (r < 0.2) plant populations across 58 species. We found that mixed-mating and outcrossing taxa have equally high average lifetime ID (?= 0.58 and 0.54, respectively) and similar ID at each of four life-cycle stages. These results are not consistent with evolution toward selfing in most mixed-mating taxa. We suggest that prevention of purging by selective interference could explain stable mixed mating in many natural populations. We identify critical gaps in the empirical data on ID and outline key approaches to filling them.
• Premise of the study: Early reproductive maturity is common in dry and ephemeral habitats and often associated with smaller flowers with increased potential for within-flower (autonomous) self-pollination. We investigated whether populations from locations that differ in moisture availability, known to vary for whole-plant development rate, also varied in the timing of autonomous selfing. This timing is of interest because the modes of selfing (prior, competing, and delayed) have different fitness consequences. • Methods: We measured timing of anther dehiscence, stigma receptivity, and herkogamy under pollinator-free conditions for plants from three populations of Collinsia parviflora that differed in annual precipitation, flower size, and time to sexual maturity. Using a manipulative experiment, we determined potential seed production via prior, competing, and delayed autonomous selfing for each population. • Key results: Stigma receptivity, anther dehiscence, and selfing ability covaried with whole-plant development and climate. Plants from the driest site, which reached sexual maturity earliest, had receptive stigmas and dehiscent anthers in bud. Most seeds were produced via prior selfing. The population from the wettest site with slowest development was not receptive until after flowers opened. Although competing selfing was possible, all selfing was delayed. The intermediate population was between these extremes, with significant contributions from both competing and delayed selfing. • Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that within-species variation in the timing of selfing occurs and is related to both environmental conditions and whole-plant development rates. We suggest that, if these results can be generalized to other species, mating systems may evolve in response to ongoing climatic change.
Understanding species decline and conserving endangered species requires demographic information, and variation in the environment may affect demography. Actaea elata is a globally rare, perennial herb found in a range of Pacific Northwest forest stand types that differ in canopy openness. Canopy openness increases reproductive output in this species and so was expected to have demographic impact. We performed a demographic analysis of A. elata in contrasting forest stands (broadleaved vs. coniferous) over two annual intervals, and predicted that population growth rate would be higher in the open-canopy broadleaved stand. Population growth was determined using stage-based matrix models, and the most influential transitions were identified using elasticity analyses. The finite rate of population increase (?) was lower for the two transition periods at the broadleaved stand than at the coniferous stand (? = 0.86 and 0.87 vs. 0.94 and 0.98), even though the former population was more fecund. The decline in the broadleaved stand reflects greater mortality and retrogression to previous stages, partly as a consequence of herbivory. In contrast, lower recruitment occurred in the coniferous stand, but there was also less mortality and retrogression. Our results suggest that management decisions for conservation of A. elata should be tailored to differing habitats, with a focus on preventing mortality in some populations and increasing recruitment in others.
Reduced allocation to structures for pollinator attraction is predicted in selfing species. We explored the association between outcrossing and floral display in a broad sample of angiosperms. We used the demonstrated relationship to test for bias against selfing species in the outcrossing rate distribution, the shape of which has relevance for the stability of mixed mating. Relationships between outcrossing rate, flower size, flower number and floral display, measured as the product of flower size and number, were examined using phylogenetically independent contrasts. The distribution of floral displays among species in the outcrossing rate database was compared with that of a random sample of the same flora. The outcrossing rate was positively associated with the product of flower size and number; individually, components of display were less strongly related to outcrossing. Compared with a random sample, species in the outcrossing rate database showed a deficit of small floral display sizes. We found broad support for reduced allocation to attraction in selfing species. We suggest that covariation between mating systems and total allocation to attraction can explain the deviation from expected trade-offs between flower size and number. Our results suggest a bias against estimating outcrossing rates in the lower half of the distribution, but not specifically against highly selfing species.
There is increasing evidence that human disturbance can negatively impact plant-pollinator interactions such as outcross pollination. We present a meta-analysis of 22 studies involving 27 plant species showing a significant reduction in the proportion of seeds outcrossed in response to anthropogenic habitat modifications. We discuss the evolutionary consequences of disturbance on plant mating systems, and in particular whether reproductive assurance through selfing effectively compensates for reduced outcrossing. The extent to which disturbance reduces pollinator versus mate availability could generate diverse selective forces on reproductive traits. Investigating how anthropogenic change influences plant mating will lead to new opportunities for better understanding of how mating systems evolve, as well as of the ecological and evolutionary consequences of human activities and how to mitigate them.
Classical models studying the evolution of self-fertilization in plants conclude that only complete selfing and complete outcrossing are evolutionarily stable. In contrast with this prediction, 42% of seed-plant species are reported to have rates of self-fertilization between 0.2 and 0.8. We propose that many previous models fail to predict intermediate selfing rates because they do not allow for functional relationships among three components of reproductive fitness: self-fertilized ovules, outcrossed ovules, and ovules sired by successful pollen export. Because the optimal design for fertility components may differ, conflicts among the alternative pathways to fitness are possible, and the greatest fertility may be achieved with some self-fertilization. Here we develop and analyze a model to predict optimal selfing rates that includes a range of possible relationships among the three components of reproductive fitness, as well as the effects of evolving inbreeding depression caused by deleterious mutations and of selection on total seed number. We demonstrate that intermediate selfing is optimal for a wide variety of relationships among fitness components and that inbreeding depression is not a good predictor of selfing-rate evolution. Functional relationships subsume the myriad effects of individual plant traits and thus offer a more general and simpler perspective on mating system evolution.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.