Pollination syndromes in the 21st century: where do we stand and where may we go?

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed

Abstract

Summary Pollination syndromes, recurring suites of floral traits appearing in connection with specific functional pollinator groups, have served for decades to organise floral diversity under a functional?ecological perspective. Some potential caveats, such as over-simplification of complex plant?animal interactions or lack of empirical observations, have been identified and discussed in recent years. Which of these caveats do indeed cause problems, which have been solved and where do future possibilities lie? I address these questions in a review of the pollination-syndrome literature of 2010 to 2019. I show that the majority of studies was based on detailed empirical pollinator observations and could reliably predict pollinators based on a few floral traits such as colour, shape or reward. Some traits (i.e. colour) were less reliable in predicting pollinators than others (i.e. reward, corolla width), however. I stress that future studies should consider floral traits beyond those traditionally recorded to expand our understanding of mechanisms of floral evolution. I discuss statistical methods suitable for objectively analysing the interplay of system-specific evolutionary constraints, pollinator-mediated selection and adaptive trade-offs at microecological and macroecological scales. I exemplify my arguments on an empirical dataset of floral traits of a neotropical plant radiation in the family Melastomataceae.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1193-1213
Number of pages21
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume228
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 106008 Botany
  • 106012 Evolutionary research
  • 106042 Systematic botany

Keywords

  • flower evolution
  • functional pollinator group
  • multivariate statistics
  • phylogenetic comparative methods
  • pollinator shift
  • COROLLA
  • HUMMINGBIRD POLLINATION
  • TRANSITION
  • EVOLUTION
  • FLORAL TRAITS
  • POLLEN TRANSFER
  • SYSTEMS
  • FLOWER
  • SPECIALIZATION
  • MORPHOLOGY

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