Data from: Pollinator-mediated interactions between cultivated papaya and co-flowering plant species
Cite this dataset
Badillo-Montana, Raúl; Aguirre, Armando; Munguía‐Rosas, Miguel A. (2018). Data from: Pollinator-mediated interactions between cultivated papaya and co-flowering plant species [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4rs855v
Many modern crop varieties rely on animal pollination to set fruit and seeds. Intensive crop plantations usually do not provide suitable habitats for pollinators so crop yield may depend on the surrounding vegetation to maintain pollination services. However, little is known about the effect of pollinator-mediated interactions among co-flowering plants on crop yield or the underlying mechanisms. Plant reproductive success is complex, involving several pre- and post-pollination events; however, the current literature has mainly focused on pre-pollination events in natural plant communities. We assessed pollinator sharing and the contribution to pollinator diet in a community of wild and cultivated plants that co-flower with a focal papaya plantation. In addition, we assessed heterospecific pollen transfer to the stigmatic loads of papaya and its effect on fruit and seed production. We found that papaya shared at least one pollinator species with the majority of the co-flowering plants. Despite this, heterospecific pollen transfer in cultivated papaya was low in open-pollinated flowers. Hand pollination experiments suggest that heterospecific pollen transfer has no negative effect on fruit production or weight, but does reduce seed production. These results suggest that co-flowering plants offer valuable floral resources to pollinators that are shared with cultivated papaya with little or no cost in terms of heterospecific pollen transfer. Although HP reduced seed production, a reduced number of seeds per se is not negative, given that from an agronomic perspective the number of seeds does not affect the monetary value of the papaya fruit.