Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Toward a predictive understanding of the fitness costs of heterospecific pollen receipt and its importance in co-flowering communities.

Abstract

Premise of the study: While we have a good understanding of how co-flowering plants interact via pollinator foraging, we still know very little about how plants interact via heterospecific pollen (HP) receipt. To fill this gap, we sought to illuminate the extent of HP receipt and quantitatively evaluate the fitness consequences of HP receipt. We consider plant traits that could mediate the fitness costs of HP receipt in an effort to better understand the potential consequences of pollinator sharing in natural communities. Methods: We survey the literature for occurrence of HP receipt and assess variation in the fitness effects of a standard HP treatment. We develop a conceptual framework for understanding variation in fitness consequences of HP receipt. Key results: We find evidence for variation in HP receipt and its costs. Our framework predicts that certain traits (self-incompatibility, small, highly aperaturate or allelopathic pollen) will lead to detrimental HP donors, whereas others (self-compatibility, small or wet stigmas, short styles) will lead to vulnerable HP recipients. We also predict that detrimental effects of HP receipt will increase with decreasing phylogenetic distance between donor and recipient. Conclusions: Our framework can guide much needed additional work so that we can evaluate whether and which plant traits contribute to the variation in the effects of HP receipt. This will be a step toward predicting the consequences of HP receipt in natural communities, and ultimately transform our understanding of the role of postpollination interactions in floral trait evolution and pollinator sharing.