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Floral scent dynamics of Schiedea kaalae and Schiedea hookeri

Cite this dataset

Powers, John et al. (2020). Floral scent dynamics of Schiedea kaalae and Schiedea hookeri [Dataset]. Dryad.


Floral scent often intensifies during periods of pollinator activity, but the degree of this synchrony may vary among scent compounds depending on their function. Related plant species with the same pollinator may exhibit similar timing and composition of floral scent. We compared timing and composition of floral volatiles for two endemic Hawaiian plant species, Schiedea kaalae and S. hookeri (Caryophyllaceae). For S. kaalae, we also compared the daily timing of emission of floral volatiles to evening visits of their shared pollinator, an endemic Hawaiian moth (Pseudoschrankia brevipalpis; Erebidae). The identity and amount of floral volatiles were measured in the greenhouse during day and evening periods with dynamic headspace sampling and GC-MS (gas chromatography – mass spectrometry). The timing of emissions (daily rise, peak, and fall) was measured by sampling continuously for multiple days in a growth chamber with PTR-MS (proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry). Nearly all volatiles detected underwent strong daily cycles in emission. Timings of floral volatile emissions were similar for S. kaalae and S. hookeri, as expected for two species sharing the same pollinator. For S. kaalae, many volatiles known to attract moths, including several linalool oxides and 2-phenylacetaldehyde, peaked within 2 h of the peak visitation time of the moth which pollinates both species. Floral volatiles of both species that peaked in the evening were also emitted several hours before and after the brief window of pollinator activity. Few volatiles followed a daytime emission pattern, consistent with increased apparency to visitors only at night. The scent blends of the two species differed in their major components and were most distinct from each other in the evening. The qualitative difference in evening scent composition between the two Schiedea species may reflect their distinct evolutionary history and may indicate that the moth species uses several different floral cues to locate rewards.

Usage notes

An included readme file describes the format of the GC-MS and PTR-MS datasets.


University of California, Irvine

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB 175366