Simulated pollinator declines intensify selection on floral traits that facilitate selfing and outcrossing in Impatiens capensis
Caruso, Christina; Panique, Hazel (2020), Simulated pollinator declines intensify selection on floral traits that facilitate selfing and outcrossing in Impatiens capensis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.hhmgqnkcg
PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Anthropogenic environmental change is causing pollinator populations to decline. These declines should intensify selection for floral traits that facilitate outcrossing by making plants more attractive to pollinators and/or for floral traits that facilitate selfing in the absence of pollinators. However, the effect of pollinator declines on selection on floral traits could be modified by other environmental factors such as herbivores.
METHODS: We studied the effect of simulated pollinator declines on selection on floral traits of Impatiens capensis, a mixed-mating species that produces both obligately selfing cleistogamous flowers and primarily outcrossing chasmogamous flowers. We measured directional selection differentials via seeds per plant on two traits that facilitate outcrossing (chasmogamous flower size and number) and one trait that facilitates selfing (cleistogamous flower number) in ambient, reduced pollinator access, and reduced pollinator access + increased foliar herbivory treatments.
RESULTS: Reduced pollinator access intensified selection for larger chasmogamous flowers and more cleistogamous flowers. In contrast, increased herbivory did not affect selection on any floral trait.
CONCLUSIONS: Reduced pollinator access intensified selection for a trait that facilitates outcrossing, suggesting that even species such as I. capensis that can autonomously self-pollinate have the potential to respond to pollinator declines by evolving floral traits that reinforce interactions between plants and pollinators. However, reduced pollinator access also intensified selection for a trait that facilitates selfing, suggesting that I. capensis could adapt to pollinator declines by evolving floral traits that maintain the production of both selfed and outcrossed seeds.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada