Ecology Letters (2011) 14: 896–904
Temporal patterns of flower opening and closure within a day are known as Linné’s floral clock. Time of flower closure has been explained mainly by light in the traditional botanical literature. We show with a set of experiments that Asteraceae flower heads can close within three hours after pollination, whereas un-pollinated flower heads stay open until the late afternoon. This suggests that closing time strongly depends on pollinators. Using plant-pollinator interaction webs we further demonstrate that the daily pattern of flower opening and the rapid response to pollination can impose strong temporal dynamics on interspecific interactions within a single day. We observed pollinator species turnover and changes in facilitation vs. competition among plants. Our results show for the first time that pollination induces rapid flower closure on the community level. This causes imprecision in Linné’s floral clock with far-reaching consequences for plant-pollinator interactions.
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