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Simulated pollinator decline has similar effects on seed production of female and hermaphrodite Lobelia siphilitica, but different effects on selection on floral traits

Citation

Hossack, Gavin; Caruso, Christina (2022), Simulated pollinator decline has similar effects on seed production of female and hermaphrodite Lobelia siphilitica, but different effects on selection on floral traits, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.rjdfn2zfw

Abstract

PREMISE: Pollinator decline, by reducing seed production, is predicted to strengthen natural selection on floral traits. However, the effect of pollinator decline on gender dimorphic species (such as gynodioecious species, where plants produce female or hermaphrodite flowers) may differ between the sex morphs: if pollinator decline reduces the seed production of females more than hermaphrodites, then it should also have a larger effect on selection on floral traits in females than in hermaphrodites.

RESULTS: Experimentally reducing pollination decreased seed production of both females and hermaphrodites by ~21%. Reducing pollination also strengthened selection on floral traits, but this effect was not larger in females than in hermaphrodites. Instead, reducing pollination intensified selection for taller inflorescences in hermaphrodites, but did not intensify selection on any floral trait in females.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that pollinator decline will not have a larger effect on either seed production or selection on floral traits of female plants. As such, any effect of pollinator decline on seed production may be similar for gender dimorphic and monomorphic species. However, the potential for floral traits of females (and thus of gender dimorphic species) to evolve in response to pollinator decline could be limited.

Methods

To simulate pollinator decline, we experimentally reduced pollinator access to female and hermaphrodite Lobelia siphilitica plants. We compared the seed production of plants in the reduced pollination treatment to plants that were exposed to ambient pollination conditions. Within each treatment we also measured directional selection on four floral traits of females and hermaphrodites.

Funding

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada