Modularity increases rate of floral evolution and adaptive success for functionally specialized pollination systems

Author(s)
Agnes S. Dellinger, Silvia Artuso, Susanne Pamperl, Fabián A. Michelangeli, Darin S. Penneys, Diana M. Fernández-Fernández, Marcela Alvear, Frank Almeda, W. Scott Armbruster, Yannick Städler, Jürg Schönenberger
Abstract

Angiosperm flowers have diversified in adaptation to pollinators, but are also shaped by developmental and genetic histories. The relative importance of these factors in structuring floral diversity remains unknown. We assess the effects of development, function and evolutionary history by testing competing hypotheses on floral modularity and shape evolution in Merianieae (Melastomataceae). Merianieae are characterized by different pollinator selection regimes and a developmental constraint: tubular anthers adapted to specialized buzz-pollination. Our analyses of tomography-based 3-dimensional flower models show that pollinators selected for functional modules across developmental units and that patterns of floral modularity changed during pollinator shifts. Further, we show that modularity was crucial for Merianieae to overcome the constraint of their tubular anthers through increased rates of evolution in other flower parts. We conclude that modularity may be key to the adaptive success of functionally specialized pollination systems by making flowers flexible (evolvable) for adaptation to changing selection regimes.

Organisation(s)
Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research
External organisation(s)
Paris-Lodron Universität Salzburg, New York Bot Garden, University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Inst Nacl Biodiversidad, Herbario Nacl QCNE, Secc Bot, Museo Ecuatoriano Ciencias Nat, California Academy of Sciences, University of Portsmouth
Journal
Communications Biology
Volume
2
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-019-0697-7
Publication date
12-2019
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106008 Botany, 106042 Systematic botany, 106012 Evolutionary research
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/modularity-increases-rate-of-floralevolution-and-adaptive-success-for-functionally-specialized-pollination-systems(b63a0d15-cf63-4e71-9063-4b1fb80ebd06).html