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Data from: Pollination context alters female advantage in gynodioecious Silene vulgaris

Cite this dataset

Stone, James D.; Olson, Matthew S. (2017). Data from: Pollination context alters female advantage in gynodioecious Silene vulgaris [Dataset]. Dryad.


Gynodioecy, the co-occurrence of females and hermaphrodites, is arguably the most common angiosperm gender polymorphism in many florae. Females’ ability to invade and persist among hermaphrodites depends, in part, on pollinators providing adequate pollination to females. We directly measured diurnal and nocturnal pollinators’ contributions to female and hermaphrodite seed production in artificial populations of gynodioecious Silene vulgaris by experimentally restricting pollinator access. We found that female relative seed production in this system depended strongly on pollination context: females produced more than twice as many seeds as hermaphrodites in the context of abundant, nectar-collecting moths. Conversely, females showed no seed production advantage in the context of pollen-collecting syrphid flies and bees due to acutely hermaphrodite-biased visitation. We infer that variation in pollinator type, behavior, and abundance may be important for achieving the female relative fitness thresholds necessary for the maintenance of gynodioecy. Generally, our study illustrates how pollinator-mediated mechanisms may influence the evolution of breeding systems and associated suites of floral traits. Segments of a pollinator community may facilitate gynodioecy by selecting for plant characteristics that increase the attractiveness of both sexes to pollinators, such as nectar rewards. Conversely, discriminating visitors in search of pollen may restrict gynodioecy in associated plant lineages by reducing male-steriles’ fitness below threshold levels.

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