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Phylogenetic and ecological correlates of pollen morphological diversity in a neotropical rainforest


Mander, Luke et al. (2020), Phylogenetic and ecological correlates of pollen morphological diversity in a neotropical rainforest, Dryad, Dataset,


Morphology varies enormously across clades, and the morphology of a trait may reflect ecological function or the retention of ancestral features. We examine the tension between ecological and phylogenetic correlates of morphological diversity through a case study of pollen grains produced by angiosperms in Barro Colorado Island, Panama (BCI). Using a molecular phylogeny of 730 taxa we demonstrate a statistically significant association between morphological and genetic distance for these plants. However, the relationship is non-linear, and while close relatives share more morphological features than distant relatives, above a genetic distance of ~0.7 increasingly distant relatives are not more divergent in phenotype. The pollen grains of biotically pollinated and abiotically pollinated plants overlap in morphological space, but certain pollen morphotypes and individual morphological traits are unique to these pollination ecologies. Our data show that the pollen grains of biotically pollinated plants are significantly more morphologically diverse than those of abiotically pollinated plants.


This dataset has been collected from published literature, with each reference cited in the manuscript. The data has been processed using a Python3 script, which has been uploaded here. 

Usage Notes

To use this dataset, someone would need an understanding of tropical angiosperm biology and knowledge of how to run a Python3 script. There are no missing values. The Python3 script that is central to our analyses has been uploaded here and the code is annotated with usage notes.


National Science Foundation, Award: FESD Type I Award 1338694