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Abstract Detail

Pollination Biology

Higuera-Díaz, Mónica [1], Manson, Jessamyn S. [1], Hall, Jocelyn C. [2].

Pollination biology of Cleomella serrulata and Polanisia dodecandra, two native prairie plants in Southern Alberta.

Plants can attract a diverse range of pollinators using floral traits that are not exclusionary, including open flowers, showy inflorescences and ample nectar; this is called a generalist pollination system. Studying these species provides valuable information about the availability of floral resources to pollinators, which is particularly important in ecosystems where the scarcity of flowers could limit resource for pollinators. In this study, we investigated the flowering phenology, reproductive biology and pollinator community of Cleomella serrulata and Polanisia dodecandra (Cleomaceae), two related species native to North America with limited distribution in Alberta. Although the flowers exhibit a generalist pollination system and have similar symmetry, they differ in floral cues related to pollinator attraction such as petal color, inflorescence size and nectar traits. Both plant species are facultatively cross-pollinated and start flowering in late June or early July with the flowering period lasting until late August or early September. Total nectar sugar content was high in both species, but nectar volume was higher in C. serrulata flowers. Over two years of observations we recorded 2206 visitor insects corresponding to 150 species visiting both plant species. For C. serrulata, Hymenoptera had the highest richness and frequency followed by Diptera and Lepidoptera, while in P. dodecandra, Diptera had the highest richness followed by Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera. We also reported the first nocturnal visitors for C. serrulata and we collected Synnervus plagiatus (sand wasp), which is a new record for Alberta. Our results suggest that both plant species represent an important nectar and pollen resource and could be useful in the maintenance of native pollinator populations. Promoting the conservation of natural prairies and native plants will support biodiversity of pollinators and ensure they continue to provide pollination services to natural and agricultural ecosystems. This project is part of ongoing work on Cleomaceae species that examines the genetic basis of variation in floral traits associated with pollinator attraction and rewards. We are currently developing transcriptomic resources and performing functional genomics studies to answer questions related with pollination processes in these rare native plant species.

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1 - University of Alberta, Biological Sciences, CW 405 Biological Sciences Building, Edmonton, AB, T6G 2E9, Canada
2 - University of Alberta, Biological Sciences, CW 405 Biological Sciences Building, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E9, Canada

Generalist pollination system
Native plants

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 8
Location: Salon 6/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Time: 8:45 AM
Number: 8003
Abstract ID:1135
Candidate for Awards:None

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