Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Floral biology and pollination in Brazil: history and possibilities.

Abstract

Pollination research in Brazil virtually started with Fritz Muller, whose insights supported Darwin's evolutionary theory. Pollination systems of Brazilian plants were studied mainly by travelling researchers until early last century when native or resident geneticists began to use floral biology information to deal with crop acclimatization and breeding, later applying similar experiments and techniques to investigate native plants. Bee geneticists studied common pollinators of crops, such as coffee and Citrus, and even the introduction of feral African honeybees, despite their associated problems, stimulated pollination research. Geneticists attracted Dobzhansky to Brazil, where his research on tree distribution in the Brazilian Amazon represented a turning point for tropical pollination research by prompting the discovery of long-distance pollinating bees, thus bringing pollination back to mainstream evolutionary research. Tropical pollination studies stimulated the emergence of research groups in the Amazon and São Paulo states. In 1998, a seminal conference held in São Paulo called for the need to conserve pollinators and pollination systems. Subsequent research has been integrated under the Brazilian Pollinators Initiative, with research groups established throughout the country. A revived International Pollination Course, a National Pollination Symposium, and cooperative efforts to tackle complex interaction networks may direct future pollination research in Brazil.