Pollen as the link between floral phenotype and fitness

Øystein H. Opedal (Corresponding author), Rocío Pérez-Barrales, Vinícius L. G. Brito, Nathan Muchhala, Miquel Capó, Agnes Dellinger

Publications: Contribution to journalEditorialPeer Reviewed


Abstract Pollen plays a key role in plant reproductive biology. Despite the long history of research on pollen and pollination, recent advances in pollen-tracking methods and statistical approaches to linking plant phenotype, pollination performance, and reproductive fitness yield a steady flow of exciting new insights. In this introduction to the Special Issue ?Pollen as the Link Between Phenotype and Fitness,? we start by describing a general conceptual model linking functional classes of floral phenotypic traits to pollination-related performance metrics and reproductive fitness. We use this model as a framework for synthesizing the relevant literature, highlighting the studies included in the Special Issue, and identifying gaps in our understanding and opportunities for further development of the field. The papers that follow in this Special Issue provide new insights into the relationships between pollen production, presentation, flower morphology, and pollination performance (e.g., pollen deposition onto stigmas), the role of pollinators in pollen transfer, and the consequences of heterospecific pollen deposition. Several of the studies demonstrate exciting experimental and analytical approaches that should pave the way for continued work addressing the intriguing role of pollen in linking plant phenotypes to reproductive fitness.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16200
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 106008 Botany
  • 106012 Evolutionary research
  • 106042 Systematic botany


  • fitness function
  • flower–pollinator fit
  • heterospecific pollen transfer
  • path analysis
  • plant–pollinator interactions
  • pollen performance
  • pollen presentation
  • pollen production
  • pollen transfer
  • pollinator-mediated selection

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