New research shows how different species of plants evolve unique floral adaptations in order to transfer pollen on different regions of bats’ bodies, thus allowing multiple plant species to share bats as pollinators.
The study, titled “Character displacement among bat-pollinated flowers of the genus Burmeistera: analysis of the mechanism, process and pattern”, was published in this week’s journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. A pattern of character displacement has only rarely been shown for plants, and this is the first study to examine the competitive mechanism and process driving this pattern.
When multiple plant species occur in the same habitat and share the same pollinator, large amounts of pollen may be transferred between different species. This form of plant-plant competition can reduce the fitness of all species by interfering with successful pollination. Dr. Nathan Muchhala, a post-doctorate researcher, and Dr. Matthew D. Potts, assistant professor in the University of Miami Department of Biology, studied such competition in remote cloud forests of the Ecuadorian Andes.
They found that co-occurring bat-pollinated species of the genus Burmeistera reduce competition by evolving differences in flower shape. This serves to place pollen in different regions of the bats bodies, and thus greatly reduces “incorrect” (between-species) pollen transfer. Experiments with bats and flowers showed that greater differences in flower shape between two species decreases “incorrect” pollen transfer and thus maximizes successful pollination.
“This research study clearly demonstrates that these plants are competing and the competition is strong enough for them to evolve unique characteristics in order to reduce competition for pollination,” says Nathan Muchhala, Ph.D., researcher in the University of Miami Department of Biology.
Along with the experimental work, the research team also analyzed Burmeistera in 18 field sites, and found that differences in flower morphology between co-occurring species were much greater than what would be expected by chance.
Annie Reisewitz | EurekAlert!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy