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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Breeding system, pollinator choice, and variation in pollen quality in British herbaceous plants
Author(s): Hanley, Michael E
Franco, Miguel
Pichon, Samuel
Darvill, Ben
Goulson, Dave
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Keywords: Bumblebee
Foraging behaviour
Pollinator reward
Pollination syndrome
Fertilization of plants
Plant ecology
Pollination by bees
Bumblebees Ecology
Insects Ecology
Bumblebees Ecology
Pollination by bees
Issue Date: Aug-2008
Date Deposited: 11-Mar-2009
Citation: Hanley ME, Franco M, Pichon S, Darvill B & Goulson D (2008) Breeding system, pollinator choice, and variation in pollen quality in British herbaceous plants. Functional Ecology, 22 (4), pp. 592-598.
Abstract: 1 Although it is well established that different plant species vary considerably in the quality of pollinator rewards they offer, it is unclear how plant reproductive systems, in particular an obligate dependence on insects for pollination, might influence the evolution of pollinator rewards. Moreover, unlike the interaction between nectar reward and pollinator visitation, we have a limited understanding of the way in which pollen quality influences pollinator behaviour. 2 We quantified the pollen protein and amino acid content for 23 N-W European plant species. Pollen quality was compared with breeding system (facultative-insect vs. obligate-insect pollinated). A subset of 18 plants was sampled from a single habitat. For these we compared the proportion of pollen collection visits made by bumblebees with the quality of pollen offered. 3 We found a significant association between pollen quality and reproductive system; pollen of obligate insect pollinated species contained higher protein content. We also found a significant relationship with pollinator use; plants most frequently visited by pollen-collecting bumblebees produced the highest quality pollen. 4 We discuss how the close relationship between pollen quality and bumblebee attraction may have important benefits for plant reproductive success. However we also show how the disruption of this mutualism can have detrimental consequences for plant and pollinator alike.
DOI Link: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2008.01415.x
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