Article: article from journal or magazin.
Investigating the relationship between pollination strategies and the size-advantage model in zoophilous plants using the reproductive biology of Arum cylindraceum and other European Arum species as case studies
The size-advantage model (SAM) explains the temporal variation of energetic investment on reproductive structures (i.e. male and female gametes and reproductive organs) in long-lived hermaphroditic plants and animals. It proposes that an increase in the resources available to an organism induces a higher relative investment on the most energetically costly sexual structures. In plants, pollination interactions are known to play an important role in the evolution of floral features. Because the SAM directly concerns flower characters, pollinators are expected to have a strong influence on the application of the model. This hypothesis, however, has never been tested. Here, we investigate whether the identity and diversity of pollinators can be used as a proxy to predict the application of the SAM in exclusive zoophilous plants. We present a new approach to unravel the dynamics of the model and test it on several widespread Arum (Araceae) species. By identifying the species composition, abundance and spatial variation of arthropods trapped in inflorescences, we show that some species (i.e. A. cylindraceum and A. italicum) display a generalist reproductive strategy, relying on the exploitation of a low number of dipterans, in contrast to the pattern seen in the specialist A. maculatum (pollinated specifically by two fly species only). Based on the model presented here, the application of the SAM is predicted for the first two and not expected in the latter species, those predictions being further confirmed by allometric measures. We here demonstrate that while an increase in the female zone occurs in larger inflorescences of generalist species, this does not happen in species demonstrating specific pollinators. This is the first time that this theory is both proposed and empirically tested in zoophilous plants. Its overall biological importance is discussed through its application in other non-Arum systems.
Sex allocation, Plant-insect interactions, Araceae, Flower evolution, Reproductive strategy
Web of science
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