Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pollination: with small rewards come bad results

Date:
August 24, 2012
Source:
NCCR Plant Survival
Summary:
The hawkmoth, a natural petunia pollinator, spends less time on Petunia lines that offer less nectar as a reward.

The hawkmoth, a natural petunia pollinator, spends less time on Petunia lines that offer less nectar as a reward. That is the main result of a study carried out by Anna Brandenburg, a biologist at the universities of Berne and Neuchβtel with the support of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Plant Survival.

Published in the journal Current Biology, this study will be mentioned during the SOL 2012 -- Solanaceae conference, taking place from August 26 to 30 at the University of Neuchβtel.

Nectar plays a central role in most plant-pollinator relationships. It serves as a reward for services rendered by visitors that transport the plant's pollen. In nature, certain orchid species do not honour this tacit agreement. Instead, the plant economises these energy resources which it might be able to relocate to other plant structures for its own advantage: vigorous growth, greater seed production or improve on its pest defence mechanisms.

However, can this pollination with a reduced reward work for cultivated plants in terms of increased yield? Anna Brandenburg decided to test this hypothesis on petunia, an ideal model plant for garden vegetables since it belongs to the same family as the potato or tomato, the Solanaceae family.

After performing multiple crosses for this research, the biologist was able to create petunia lines that produced a volume of nectar three times less than that of the standard Petunia axillaris. At first glance, it seems that the plant comes out ahead, since Anna Brandenburg observed that manual pollination resulted in an increased seed production (20% to 30% more) in the low nectar plants compared to P. axillaris.

However, everything changes once the natural pollinators come into play. The hawkmoth (Manduca sexta) clearly spends less time visiting flowers offering a smaller reward, which consequently results in a considerable reduction in seed production. Thus, a simple self-serving action of the hawkmoth, namely the reduction of drinking time per flower, is sufficient to prevent the spread of cheating Petunias.

This situation, however, is reversible. By adding nectar to the flower varieties that produce less nectar, Anna Brandenburg was able to attract the pollinators' attention. Hence, with the hawkmoth staying longer on the plant, the quantity of seeds produced corresponds to the one that the biologist obtained with manual pollination.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NCCR Plant Survival. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anna Brandenburg, Cris Kuhlemeier, Redouan Bshary. Hawkmoth Pollinators Decrease Seed Set of a Low-Nectar Petunia axillaris Line through Reduced Probing Time. Current Biology, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.06.058

Cite This Page:

NCCR Plant Survival. "Pollination: with small rewards come bad results." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120824082430.htm>.
NCCR Plant Survival. (2012, August 24). Pollination: with small rewards come bad results. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120824082430.htm
NCCR Plant Survival. "Pollination: with small rewards come bad results." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120824082430.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) — We all know that it is important to eat our fruits and vegetables but do you know which ones are the best for you? Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) — It took Houston firefighters more than an hour to free a puppy who got its head stuck in a tire. (Aug. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) — A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Activists Urge NYC Mayor to Ban Carriage Horses

Activists Urge NYC Mayor to Ban Carriage Horses

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) — A group of New Yorkers are putting Mayor Bill de Blasio on notice for what they say is reneging on his campaign promise to ban carriage horses. They rallied Tuesday near the mayor's Gracie Mansion home. (Aug. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins