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Effective long-distance pollen dispersal in Centaurea jacea


Albrecht, M; Duelli, P; Obrist, M K; Kleijn, D; Schmid, B (2009). Effective long-distance pollen dispersal in Centaurea jacea. PLoS ONE, 4(8):e6751.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Agri-environment schemes play an increasingly important role for the conservation of rare plants in intensively managed agricultural landscapes. However, little is known about their effects on gene flow via pollen dispersal between populations of these species. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In a 2-year experiment, we observed effective pollen dispersal from source populations of Centaurea jacea in restored meadows, the most widespread Swiss agri-environment scheme, to potted plants in adjacent intensively managed meadows without other individuals of this species. Potted plants were put in replicated source populations at 25, 50, 100 m and where possible 200 m distance from these source populations. Pollen transfer among isolated plants was prevented by temporary bagging, such that only one isolated plant was accessible for flower visitors at any one time. Because C. jacea is self-incompatible, seed set in single-plant isolates indicated insect mediated effective pollen dispersal from the source population. Seed set was higher in source populations (35.7+/-4.4) than in isolates (4.8+/-1.0). Seed set declined from 18.9% of that in source populations at a distance of 25 m to 7.4% at 200 m. At a distance of 200 m seed set was still significantly higher in selfed plants, indicating long-distance effective pollen dispersal up to 200 m. Analyses of covariance suggested that bees contributed more than flies to this long-distance pollen dispersal. We found evidence that pollen dispersal to single-plant isolates was positively affected by the diversity and flower abundance of neighboring plant species in the intensively managed meadow. Furthermore, the decline of the dispersal was less steep when the source population of C. jacea was large. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that insect pollinators can effectively transfer pollen from source populations of C. jacea over at least 200 m, even when "recipient populations" consisted of single-plant isolates, suggesting that gene flow by pollen over this distance is very likely. Source population size and flowering environment surrounding recipient plants appear to be important factors affecting pollen dispersal in C. jacea. It is conceivable that most insect-pollinated plants in a network of restored sites within intensively managed grassland can form metapopulations, if distances between sites are of similar magnitude as tested here.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Agri-environment schemes play an increasingly important role for the conservation of rare plants in intensively managed agricultural landscapes. However, little is known about their effects on gene flow via pollen dispersal between populations of these species. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In a 2-year experiment, we observed effective pollen dispersal from source populations of Centaurea jacea in restored meadows, the most widespread Swiss agri-environment scheme, to potted plants in adjacent intensively managed meadows without other individuals of this species. Potted plants were put in replicated source populations at 25, 50, 100 m and where possible 200 m distance from these source populations. Pollen transfer among isolated plants was prevented by temporary bagging, such that only one isolated plant was accessible for flower visitors at any one time. Because C. jacea is self-incompatible, seed set in single-plant isolates indicated insect mediated effective pollen dispersal from the source population. Seed set was higher in source populations (35.7+/-4.4) than in isolates (4.8+/-1.0). Seed set declined from 18.9% of that in source populations at a distance of 25 m to 7.4% at 200 m. At a distance of 200 m seed set was still significantly higher in selfed plants, indicating long-distance effective pollen dispersal up to 200 m. Analyses of covariance suggested that bees contributed more than flies to this long-distance pollen dispersal. We found evidence that pollen dispersal to single-plant isolates was positively affected by the diversity and flower abundance of neighboring plant species in the intensively managed meadow. Furthermore, the decline of the dispersal was less steep when the source population of C. jacea was large. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that insect pollinators can effectively transfer pollen from source populations of C. jacea over at least 200 m, even when "recipient populations" consisted of single-plant isolates, suggesting that gene flow by pollen over this distance is very likely. Source population size and flowering environment surrounding recipient plants appear to be important factors affecting pollen dispersal in C. jacea. It is conceivable that most insect-pollinated plants in a network of restored sites within intensively managed grassland can form metapopulations, if distances between sites are of similar magnitude as tested here.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:25 August 2009
Deposited On:26 Aug 2009 14:37
Last Modified:03 Aug 2017 15:05
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0006751
PubMed ID:19707542

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