Submitted to: Botanical Society of America Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/3/2006
Publication Date: 8/15/2006
Citation: Brunet, J. 2006. Impact of insect pollinator group on outcrossing rate [Abstract]. Botanical Society of America Abstracts. Available: http://www.2006.botanyconference.org/.
Technical Abstract: Despite the strong influence of pollination ecology on the evolution of selfing, we have little information on how distinct groups of insect pollinators influence outcrossing rate. However, differences in behavior between pollinator groups could easily influence how each group affects outcrossing rate. We examined the influence of distinct insect pollinator groups on outcrossing rate using the rocky mountain columbine, Aquilegia coerulea, as a model system. The impact of population size, plant density, size of floral display and herkogamy (spatial separation between anthers and stigmas) on outcrossing rate was also considered as these variables were previously found to affect outcrossing rate in some plant species. We quantified correlations between all independent variables and used simple and two-factor regressions to determine direct and indirect impact of each independent variable on outcrossing rate. Outcrossing rate increased significantly with hawkmoth abundance but not with the abundance of any of the other groups of floral visitors which included bumble bees, solitary bees, syrphid flies and muscidae. Outcrossing rate was also significantly affected by floral display size and together, hawkmoth abundance and floral display size explained 87 % of the variation in outcrossing rate. None of the other independent variables directly affected the outcrossing rate. This is the first report of a significant impact of pollinator type on outcrossing rate. Hawkmoths did not visit fewer flowers per plant relative to other pollinator groups but preferred visiting female-phase flowers first on a plant. Both the behavior of pollinators and floral display size affected outcrossing rate via their impact on the level of geitonogamous (among flower) selfing. Given geitonogamous selfing is never advantageous the variation in outcrossing rate and maintenance of mixed mating systems in populations of A. coerulea may not require an adaptive explanation.