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Abstract Detail

Pollination Biology

Davis, Sandra [1], Dudle, Dana [2].

Changes in floral display of Saponaria officinalis (Bouncing bet) may cause pollinator discrimination.

Individual flowers of bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis) change color, from white to pink, as they develop. Accumulation of anthocyanin pigments in the petals accompanies a shift in sexual function of the flower from staminate phase, when the anthers release their pollen, to pistillate phase, when the stigma is receptive to pollen receipt. Our research group has shown previously that the degree of color change in bouncing bet is influenced by environmental conditions: flowers on plants growing in full sun accumulate more anthocyanins than flowers on shaded plants. Because insect pollinators often differentiate among visual cues, we hypothesized that floral color change in S. officinalis could contribute to variation in fitness in this insect-pollinated species. In 2012 we used a common garden and inflorescence arrays to test whether floral color, size, and/or shape influence reproductive fitness in S. officinalis, in terms of pollinator visitation rates and seed production. Our results show that female-phase flowers have greater biomass but smaller corolla diameters than male-phase flowers, in addition to being pinker. Furthermore, insect visitors discriminate against pink female-phase flowers when given a choice between arrays of white male-phase flowers and pink female-phase flowers. Insect preference for male-phase flowers dissipates when paler, shaded female-phase flowers are presented as the alternative to male-phase flowers. Thus, floral color, though not size or shape, influences visitation rates of daytime pollinators. Finally, our work demonstrates that pollinator attraction is crucial for in S. officinalis; in our common garden, seed set of open-pollinated flowers was severely pollinator-limited.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - University of Indianapolis, Department of Biology, 1400 E. HANNA AVE., Indianapolis, IN, 46227, USA
2 - DEPAUW UNIVERSITY, Department of Biology, 114 Olin Hall Of Biological Sciences, 1 E. Hanna Street, GREENCASTLE, IN, 46135, USA

floral color change
pollinator attraction
Saponaria officinalis.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 43
Location: Melrose/Riverside Hilton
Date: Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
Time: 10:45 AM
Number: 43002
Abstract ID:92
Candidate for Awards:None

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