Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/19502
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Variability in bumblebee pollination buzzes affects the quantity of pollen released from flowers
Authors: De, Luca Paul A
Bussiere, Luc
Souto-Vilaros, Daniel
Goulson, Dave
Mason, Andrew C
Vallejo-Marin, Mario
Contact Email: luc.bussiere@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: Bombus terrestris
Solanum rostratum
Pollinator mass
Poricidal anthers
Buzz-pollination
Issue Date: Jul-2013
Publisher: Springer
Citation: De Luca PA, Bussiere L, Souto-Vilaros D, Goulson D, Mason AC & Vallejo-Marin M (2013) Variability in bumblebee pollination buzzes affects the quantity of pollen released from flowers, Oecologia, 172 (3), pp. 805-816.
Abstract: Buzz-pollination is a plant strategy that promotes gamete transfer by requiring a pollinator, typically bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea), to vibrate a flower's anthers in order to extract pollen. Although buzz-pollination is widespread in angiosperms with over 20,000 species using it, little is known about the functional connection between natural variation in buzzing vibrations and the amount of pollen that can be extracted from anthers. We characterized variability in the vibrations produced by Bombus terrestris bumblebees while collecting pollen from Solanum rostratum (Solanaceae), a buzz-pollinated plant. We found substantial variation in several buzzing properties both within and among workers from a single colony. As expected, some of this variation was predicted by the physical attributes of individual bumblebees: heavier workers produced buzzes of greater amplitude. We then constructed artificial "pollination buzzes" that varied in three parameters (peak frequency, peak amplitude, and duration), and stimulated S. rostratum flowers with these synthetic buzzes to quantify the relationship between buzz properties and pollen removal. We found that greater amplitude and longer duration buzzes ejected substantially more pollen, while frequency had no directional effect and only a weak quadratic effect on the amount of pollen removed. These findings suggest that foraging bumblebees may improve pollen collection by increasing the duration or amplitude of their buzzes. Moreover, given that amplitude is positively correlated with mass, preferential foraging by heavier workers is likely to result in the largest pollen yields per bee, and this could have significant consequences for the success of a colony foraging on buzz-pollinated flowers.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/19502
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-012-2535-1
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: College of The Bahamas
Biological and Environmental Sciences
University of Stirling
Biological and Environmental Sciences
University of Toronto
Biological and Environmental Sciences

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