Secondary pollen presentation and the temporal dynamics of stylar hair retraction and style elongation in Campanula trachelium (Campanulaceae)

Authors

  • S. Vranken,

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Plant Ecology and Systematics, Biology Department, University of Leuven, Heverlee, Belgium
    2. Terrestrial Ecology Unit, Department of Biology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
    • Correspondence

      S. Vranken, Division of Plant Ecology and Systematics, Biology Department, University of Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 31 bus 2435, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium.

      E-mail: vranken_sofie@hotmail.com

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  • R. Brys,

    1. Division of Plant Ecology and Systematics, Biology Department, University of Leuven, Heverlee, Belgium
    2. Research Institute for Nature and Forest, Brussels, Belgium
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  • M. Hoffmann,

    1. Terrestrial Ecology Unit, Department of Biology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
    2. Research Institute for Nature and Forest, Brussels, Belgium
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  • H. Jacquemyn

    1. Division of Plant Ecology and Systematics, Biology Department, University of Leuven, Heverlee, Belgium
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Abstract

To increase the accuracy of pollen capture and transfer by pollinators some plant species have developed secondary pollen presentation structures. Because the presence of secondary pollen presentation structures at the pistil may reduce the spatial separation between the sexual functions and increase the risk of self-interference and selfing, temporal segregation of the sexual organs, triggered by visiting insects, can be expected to occur. We investigated secondary pollen presentation and the temporal dynamics of the sexual phases in combination with the physiological self-incompatibility system in Campanula trachelium, a protandrous insect-pollinated herb. Stylar hair retraction (male function) and curling of the stigmatic lobes (female function) were modelled using Gompertz growth functions. Finally, we performed pollination experiments in the lab and field to assess seed set and pollen limitation under natural conditions. About 68% of the total pollen load was captured by stylar hairs. Manual manipulation of the stylar hairs, mimicking pollinator visitation, significantly shortened the male phase and accelerated the female phase, resulting in a significant decline in temporal overlap between the two sexual functions. Conversely, when pollinators and/or manual manipulations were lacking, the male phase was substantially prolonged and sexual overlap was maximal. This suggests that spreading of the sexual phases and thus the risk of sexual interference are largely determined by the interaction between stylar hairs and visiting pollinators. Natural seed set was high and not pollinator limited. Overall, these results indicate that secondary pollen presentation and partial protandry resulted in efficient pollen capture, transfer and deposition.

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