Transition from wind pollination to insect pollination in sedges: experimental evidence and functional traits
Article first published online: 17 MAY 2011
© 2011 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2011 New Phytologist Trust
Volume 191, Issue 4, pages 1128–1140, September 2011
How to Cite
Wragg, P. D. and Johnson, S. D. (2011), Transition from wind pollination to insect pollination in sedges: experimental evidence and functional traits. New Phytologist, 191: 1128–1140. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03762.x
- Issue published online: 11 AUG 2011
- Article first published online: 17 MAY 2011
- Received: 1 February 2011, Accepted: 6 April 2011
- evolutionary shift;
- evolutionary transition;
- floral color;
- floral scent;
- floral traits;
- insect pollination;
- pollen motility;
- wind pollination
- •Transitions from wind pollination to insect pollination were pivotal to the radiation of land plants, yet only a handful are known and the trait shifts required are poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that a transition to insect pollination took place in the ancestrally wind-pollinated sedges (Cyperaceae) and that floral traits modified during this transition have functional significance.
- •We paired putatively insect-pollinated Cyperus obtusiflorus and Cyperus sphaerocephalus with related, co-flowering, co-occurring wind-pollinated species, and compared pairs in terms of pollination mode and functional roles of floral traits.
- •Experimentally excluding insects reduced seed set by 56–89% in putatively insect-pollinated species but not in intermingled wind-pollinated species. The pollen of putatively insect-pollinated species was less motile in a wind tunnel than that of wind-pollinated species. Bees, beetles and flies preferred inflorescences, and color-matched white or yellow models, of putatively insect-pollinated species over inflorescences, or color-matched brown models, of wind-pollinated species. Floral scents of putatively insect-pollinated species were chemically consistent with those of other insect-pollinated plants, and attracted pollinators; wind-pollinated species were unscented.
- •These results show that a transition from wind pollination to insect pollination occurred in sedges and shed new light on the function of traits involved in this important transition.