Bimodal Pollination Systems in Andean Melastomataceae Involving Birds, Bats, and Rodents

Author(s)
Agnes S. Dellinger, Lisa M. Scheer, Silvia Artuso, Diana Fernández-Fernández, Francisco Sornoza, Darin S. Penneys, Raimund Tenhaken, Stefan Dötterl, Jürg Schönenberger
Abstract

Floral adaptation to a single most effective functional pollinator group leads to specialized pollination syndromes. However, adaptations allowing for pollination by two functional groups (bimodal pollination systems) remain a rarely investigated conundrum. We tested whether floral scent and nectar traits of species visited by two functional pollinator groups indicate specialization on either of the two pollinator groups or adaptations of both (bimodal systems). We studied pollination biology in four species of Meriania (Melastomataceae) in the Ecuadorian Andes. Pollinator observations and exclusion experiments showed that each species was effectively pollinated by two functional groups (hummingbirds/bats, hummingbirds/rodents, flowerpiercers/rodents), nectar composition followed known bird preferences, and scent profiles gave mixed support for specialization on bats and rodents. Our results suggest that nectar-rewarding Meriania species have evolved stable bimodal pollination strategies with parallel adaptations to two functional pollinator groups. The discovery of rodent pollination is particularly important given its rarity outside of South Africa.

Organisation(s)
Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research
External organisation(s)
Paris-Lodron Universität Salzburg, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad, Quito , University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Journal
The American Naturalist: a bi-monthly journal devoted to the advancement and correlation of the biological sciences
Volume
194
Pages
104-116
No. of pages
13
ISSN
0003-0147
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1086/703517
Publication date
04-2019
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106042 Systematic botany, 106008 Botany, 106012 Evolutionary research
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/bimodal-pollination-systems-in-andean-melastomataceae-involving-birds-bats-and-rodents(6bdda7e1-8f10-498b-9ba4-049633d9efe9).html