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Pollinator-driven speciation in sexually deceptive Orchids


Xu, Shuqing; Schlüter, Philipp M; Schiestl, Florian P (2012). Pollinator-driven speciation in sexually deceptive Orchids. International Journal of Ecology, 2012:285081.

Abstract

Pollinator-mediated selection has been suggested to play a major role for the origin and maintenance of the species diversity in orchids. Sexually deceptive orchids are one of the prime examples for rapid, pollinator-mediated plant radiations, with many species showing little genetic differentiation, lack of postzygotic barriers, but strong prezygotic reproductive isolation. These orchids mimic mating signals of female insects and employ male insects as pollinators. This kind of sexual mimicry leads to highly specialised pollination and provides a good system for investigating the process of pollinator-driven speciation. Here, we summarise the knowledge of key processes of speciation in this group of orchids and conduct a meta-analysis on traits that contribute to species differentiation, and thus potentially to speciation. Our study suggests that pollinator shift through changes in floral scent is predominant among closely related species in sexually deceptive orchids. Such shifts can provide a mechanism for pollinator-driven speciation in plants, if the resulting floral isolation is strong. Furthermore, changes in floral scent in these orchids are likely controlled by few genes. Together these factors suggest speciation in sexually deceptive orchids may happen rapidly and even in sympatry, which may explain the remarkable species diversity observed in this plant group.

Pollinator-mediated selection has been suggested to play a major role for the origin and maintenance of the species diversity in orchids. Sexually deceptive orchids are one of the prime examples for rapid, pollinator-mediated plant radiations, with many species showing little genetic differentiation, lack of postzygotic barriers, but strong prezygotic reproductive isolation. These orchids mimic mating signals of female insects and employ male insects as pollinators. This kind of sexual mimicry leads to highly specialised pollination and provides a good system for investigating the process of pollinator-driven speciation. Here, we summarise the knowledge of key processes of speciation in this group of orchids and conduct a meta-analysis on traits that contribute to species differentiation, and thus potentially to speciation. Our study suggests that pollinator shift through changes in floral scent is predominant among closely related species in sexually deceptive orchids. Such shifts can provide a mechanism for pollinator-driven speciation in plants, if the resulting floral isolation is strong. Furthermore, changes in floral scent in these orchids are likely controlled by few genes. Together these factors suggest speciation in sexually deceptive orchids may happen rapidly and even in sympatry, which may explain the remarkable species diversity observed in this plant group.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Systematic Botany and Botanical Gardens
07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
Dewey Decimal Classification:580 Plants (Botany)
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:07 Jun 2012 06:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:50
Publisher:Hindawi
ISSN:1687-9708
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/285081
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-62777

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