Pollination Aters Floral lLngevity of Arctic Lupine

Date

2019-04-27

Authors

Reid, Clara

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Abstract

This is a pollination ecology study conducted in the boreal forest of southern Yukon. Insect pollination is a mutualistic relationship in which the plant receives pollen necessary to produce seeds, while the pollinator receives a reward such as nectar. Floral longevity is the length of time a flower blooms for, from when it first opens to when the petals wilt or fall off. My study focused on Arctic lupine (Lupinus arcticus) and examined floral longevity in relation to methods of pollination. Flowers that were insect-pollinated or cross-pollinated by hand bloomed for less time and produced more seeds than flowers isolated from pollinators. This shows that insect-pollination is associated with higher pollination success (indicated by higher seed production), and that hand-pollination has a similar effect. Therefore, high pollination success was associated with shorter floral longevities. Pollination-induced shortening of floral longevity is likely an adaptation to increase the efficiency of plant-pollinator interactions. For plants, the main purpose of a flower is to be pollinated, so once pollination has occurred it is energetically unfavourable for the flower to maintain its blooming state. For pollinators, the senescence of flowers soon after they are pollinated discourages insects from visiting flowers whose rewards (ex. nectar) have been depleted by previous visitors. These processes suggest that plants and pollinators are energy-limited. Understanding such aspects of pollination ecology are meaningful in the face of declines of native pollinator and plant populations, as they can better inform conservation efforts.

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Keywords

pollination, floral longevity, Lupinus arcticus

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