Modularity facilitates rapid adaptation of single floral organs to different pollinators
Flowering plants are characterized by an astonishing diversity of flowers of different shapes and sizes.
This is a flower of the bee-pollinated species Meriania hernandoi from the Ecuadorian cloud forest.
Credit: Agnes Dellinger
This diversity has arisen in adaptation to selection imposed by different pollinators including among others bees, flies, butterflies, hummingbirds, bats or rodents.
Although several studies have documented that pollinators can impose strong selection pressures on flowers, our understanding of how flowers diversify remains fragmentary.
For example, does the entire flower adapt to a pollinator, or do only some flower parts evolve to fit a pollinator while other flower parts may remain unchanged?
In a recent study, scientists around Agnes Dellinger from the Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research from the University of Vienna investigated flowers of 30 species of a tropical plant group (Merianieae) from the Andes.
"Each of these plant species has adapted to pollination by either bees, birds, bats or rodents", says Dellinger. Using High-Resolution X-ray computed tomography, the research team produced 3D-models of these flowers and used geometric-morphometric methods to analyse differences in flower shape among species with different pollinators.
The researchers could show that flower shapes have evolved in adaptation to the distinct pollinators, but that flower shape evolution was not homogeneous across the flower.
In particular, the showy sterile organs of flowers (petals) adapted to the different pollinators more quickly than the rest of the flower: the reproductive organs have evolved more slowly.
"This study is among the first to analyse the entire 3-dimensional flower shape, and it will be exciting to see whether similar evolutionary floral modularity exists in other plant groups", concludes Dellinger.
Publication in Communications Biology:
Modularity increases rate of floral evolution and adaptive success for functionally specialized pollination systems; Agnes S. Dellinger, Silvia Artuso, Susanne Pamperl, Fabián A. Michelangeli, Darin S. Penneys, Diana M. Fernández-Fernández, Marcela Alvear, Frank Almeda, W. Scott Armbruster, Yannick Staeder, Jürg Schönenberger; in Communications Biology.
Agnes Dellinger | EurekAlert!
How decisions unfold in a zebrafish brain
16.01.2020 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH
Neuromuscular organoid: It’s contracting!
16.01.2020 | Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft
In order to advance the transfer of research developments from the field of quantum sensor technology into industrial applications, an application laboratory is being established at Fraunhofer IAF. This will enable interested companies and especially regional SMEs and start-ups to evaluate the innovation potential of quantum sensors for their specific requirements. Both the state of Baden-Württemberg and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are supporting the four-year project with one million euros each.
The application laboratory is being set up as part of the Fraunhofer lighthouse project »QMag«, short for quantum magnetometry. In this project, researchers...
Microtubules, filamentous structures within the cell, are required for many important processes, including cell division and intracellular transport. A...
Researchers from the University Hospital Zurich, ETH Zurich, Wyss Zurich and the University of Zurich have developed a machine that repairs injured human livers and keep them alive outside the body for one week. This breakthrough may increase the number of available organs for transplantation saving many lives of patients with severe liver diseases or cancer.
Until now, livers could be stored safely outside the body for only a few hours. With the novel perfusion technology, livers - and even injured livers - can now...
A balloon-borne scientific instrument designed to study the origin of cosmic rays is taking its second turn high above the continent of Antarctica three and a half weeks after its launch.
SuperTIGER (Super Trans-Iron Galactic Element Recorder) is designed to measure the rare, heavy elements in cosmic rays that hold clues about their origins...
One last time on Earth it has been turned on in France in December 2019. The next time the MOMA laser developed by the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) is going into operation will be on Mars. The ExoMars rover into which the laser is integrated has now successfully passed the thermal vacuum tests at Airbus in Toulouse, France.
For 18 days the ExoMars rover Rosalind Franklin was subjected to thermal vacuum tests at Airbus. There, it had to withstand strong changes in temperature and...
16.01.2020 | Event News
15.01.2020 | Event News
07.01.2020 | Event News
16.01.2020 | Event News
16.01.2020 | Process Engineering
16.01.2020 | Physics and Astronomy