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Abstract Detail

Botany 2015 Colloquium: Integrated perspectives on the ecology, genetics and coevolution of intimate mutualisms

Raguso, Robert Andrew [1].

Geographic variation in Yucca-Yucca moth interactions: volatile handshakes and footprints.

Obligate mutualisms are thought to be stabilized by a combination of partner choice and sanction mechanisms. Sanctions are well documented in yucca plants that abort flowers in which yucca moths have laid too many eggs. Partner choice is less well documented, mostly from fig-fig wasp mutualisms mediated by specific volatile compounds or blends thereof. Yucca flowers emit novel scent compounds derived from a ubiquitous precursor. The observations that 1) yucca moth antennae show sensitive responses to these compounds, 2) that the moths choose to orient towards Yucca scent in Y-tube assays, and 3) that the moths require scent to orient to and land on Yucca flowers, suggest that partner choice is chemically mediated in the Yucca-yucca moth mutualism. Several Yucca species (e.g. Y. filamentosa, Y. elata, Y. glauca) occupy large geographical ranges, across which their scent chemistry does not vary markedly, suggesting canalizing selection by pollinators. However, Yucca floral scent composition varies markedly in zones of sympatry or parapatry, for reasons that may include reproductive character displacement (in the Mohave Desert), ecological sorting (in the Chihuahuan Desert) and a combination of genetic drift and sensory bias (across the Edwards Plateau). I discuss these possibilities in phylogenetic and geographic contexts.

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1 - Cornell University, Neurobiology and Behavior, W355 Mudd Hall, 215 Tower Road, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA

partner choice
private channels
chemical ecology

Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: C4
Location: Hall C/The Shaw Conference Centre
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015
Time: 2:00 PM
Number: C4003
Abstract ID:343
Candidate for Awards:None

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