Okay, so it’s the beginning of the first round of Application Time here, and because of teaching crazziness I’m quite late with regard to paper writing, so I fear I’ll have to let Seeds Aside further swamped into the slowing down spiral. Meanwhile, I’m happy to learn my latest paper is available on the interthing so I tell you as well… (Though if I want to get more now, I’m left with writing, and I do):
Florivory increases selfing: an experimental study in the wild strawberry, Fragaria virginiana
L. Penet, C. L. Collin, T.-L. Ashman
Plant Biology 11(1), 38-45.
KEYWORDS Autogamy • floral display • florivory • geitonogamy • herbivory • plant mating system • selfing rates
Florivores are antagonists that damage flowers, and have direct negative effects on flowering and pollination of the attacked plants. While florivory has mainly been studied for its consequences on seed production or siring success, little is known about its impact on mating systems. Damage to flowers can alter pollinator attraction to the plant and may therefore modify patterns of pollen transfer. However, the consequences of damage for mating systems can take two forms: a decrease in flower number reduces opportunities for intra-inflorescence pollen deposition (geitonogamy), which, in turn, may lead to a decrease in selfing; whereas a decrease in floral display may also reduce overall visitation and thus increase the chances of self-pollination via facilitated or autonomous autogamy. We investigated the effects of damage by a bud-clipping weevil (Anthonomus signatus) in Fragaria virginiana in an experimental setting mimicking natural conditions. We found that increased damage led to an increase in selfing, a result consistent with the increased autogamy pathway. We discuss the implications of this finding and evaluate the generality of florivore-mediated mating system expression.
This is probably something that might turn into a real post someday, since it’s a flipping side of this other aspect of the question, whenever I get time…