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Abstract Detail


Austen, Emily [1], Kierstead, Roisin [1], McConnell, Sara [1].

Within-plant variation in nectar spur length and the reproductive ecology of Halenia deflexa (Gentianaceae).

Plants grow by the repeated production of organs, but one flower or leaf is not a perfect copy of the next.  The resulting variation among repeated structures within a plant (“within-plant variation”) is of potential, and under-studied, ecological and evolutionary significance. We sought to quantitatively describe within-plant variation in nectar spur length in Halenia deflexa (Gentianaceae), and to determine whether within-plant changes in spur length coincide with changes in pollinator visitation or probability of self-fertilization. Nectar spur length scaled with overall flower size for flowers produced during an individual’s first two weeks of flowering. After this isometric period, plants produced flowers with increasingly small spurs relative to flower size. The transition from isometric to allometric flower scaling coincided with a marked reduction in the probability of visitation by Bombus spp. We did not, however, detect an increased reliance on autogamy in the later-produced, short-spurred flowers. Our study suggests that within-plant variation in flower shape can translate to temporal variation in pollinator visitation to a population, and illuminates the previously undescribed pollination ecology of H. deflexa.

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1 - Mount Allison University, 65 York St, Sackville, NEW BRUNSWICK, E4L 1E4, Canada

mating system
nectar spur.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ECO7, Ecology: Reproductive Biology
Location: /
Date: Thursday, July 22nd, 2021
Time: 4:15 PM(EDT)
Number: ECO7006
Abstract ID:1057
Candidate for Awards:None

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