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Data from: Can conflicting selection from pollinators and nectar-robbing antagonists drive adaptive pollen limitation? A conceptual model and empirical test

Citation

Fitch, Gordon; Vandermeer, John (2021), Data from: Can conflicting selection from pollinators and nectar-robbing antagonists drive adaptive pollen limitation? A conceptual model and empirical test, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.sn02v6x4c

Abstract

Pollen limitation is widespread, despite predictions that it shouldn’t be. We propose a novel mechanism generating pollen limitation: conflicting selection by pollinators and antagonists on pollinator attraction traits. We introduce a heuristic model demonstrating antagonist-induced adaptive pollen limitation, and present a field study illustrating its occurrence in a wild population. 

For antagonist-induced adaptive pollen limitation to occur, four criteria must be met: 1) correlated attraction of pollinators and antagonists, 2) greater response by antagonists than pollinators to altered investment in attraction traits, 3) reduced investment in pollinator attraction leading to pollen limitation, and 4) higher fitness for plants with reduced investment in pollinator attraction.

We surveyed nectar robbery and reproductive output for 109 Odontonema cuspidatum (Acanthaceae) plants in a pollen-limited population over two years and used experimental floral arrays to evaluate how flower number affects pollination and nectar robbery. Both pollinators and nectar robbers preferred larger floral displays, and nectar robbery reduced reproductive output, suggesting conflicting selection. Survey and experimental data agreed closely on the optimum flower number under antagonist-induced pollen limitation; this number was substantially overrepresented in the population. While criteria for antagonist-induced adaptive pollen limitation are restrictive, the necessary conditions may often be realized. Considering interactions beyond the plant-pollinator dyad illuminates previously overlooked mechanisms generating pollen limitation.