Data from: Pollination along an elevational gradient mediated both by floral scent and pollinator compatibility in the fig and fig‐wasp mutualism
Souto-Vilarós, Daniel et al. (2019), Data from: Pollination along an elevational gradient mediated both by floral scent and pollinator compatibility in the fig and fig‐wasp mutualism, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.hm83f7t
In the fig (Moraceae) and fig‐wasp (Agaonidae) mutualism, scent is believed to be of primary importance in pollinator attraction and maintenance of species specificity. Scent divergence between closely related Ficus species seems sufficient in promoting reproductive isolation through pollinator behaviour, starting the process of speciation. We investigated volatile organic compound (VOC) variation from figs in several Ficus species endemic to Papua New Guinea. Sister species of section Papuacyse and subspecies of Ficus trichocerasa substitute each other along the continuously forested Mt. Wilhelm elevational gradient. We placed these species in a phylogenetic context to draw conclusions of scent divergence between close relatives. In addition, pollinator response to VOCs emitted by figs of different species was tested. Volatile profiles differed significantly between focal species, although with a varying degree of overlap between (sub)species and elevations. Pollinators were generally attracted to VOCs emitted only by their hosts except in one case where pollinating fig wasps were also attracted to the sister species of its host. Wasp morphological traits, however, indicate that it is mechanically impossible for this species to oviposit in figs of this atypical encounter. Synthesis. This study demonstrates that while scent is an effective signal for partner recognition, there are multiple barriers which help maintain prepollination isolation in fig and pollinating fig‐wasp interactions. Speciation along this elevational gradient is reinforced by divergence in key reproductive isolation mechanisms on both sides of the mutualism.