Recent Topics Posters
Hill, Laura M. , Brody, Alison K. , Tedesco, Connie L. .
Mating strategies & pollen limitation in a globally threatened perennial Polemonium vanbruntiae.
Knowledge of the factors that limit reproduction is critical to an understanding of plant ecology, and is particularly important to predicting population viability for threatened species. Here, we investigated the pollination biology of a globally threatened plant, Polemonium vanbruntiae, using hand-pollination experiments in four natural populations to determine the degree of pollen limitation. In addition, we investigated the mating system and extent to which plants can self-fertilize by comparing geitonogamously and autonomously self-fertilized plants with purely outcrossed and open-pollinated plants. In contrast to several of the more common species of Polemonium, we found no pollen limitation in any of the four populations of P. vanbruntiae over two years. The lack of pollen limitation was best explained by the capacity for P. vanbruntiae to both geitonogamously and autonomously self-fertilize, unlike some of its more common congeners. Geitonogamously selfed flowers set equivalent numbers of seeds when compared to purely outcrossed and open-pollinated flowers. However, autonomously selfed flowers produced significantly fewer seeds, demonstrating that pollinators play an important role as inter- and intra-plant pollen vectors in this system. Our results support the reproductive assurance hypothesis, whereby the ability to self assures fertilization for plants in small populations. Self-compatibility in Polemonium vanbruntiae may decrease extinction risk of isolated populations experiencing a stochastic pollinator pool within a restricted geographic range. In addition, a mixed-mating strategy, including the ability for clonal reproduction, may explain the ability for this rare species to persist in small, fragmented populations.
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1 - University of Vermont, Biology, 120A Marsh Life Science, Burlington, VT, 05405, USA
2 - State College of New York at Oneonta, Biology, Oneonta, NY, 13820, USA
mixed mating system
Presentation Type: Recent Topics Poster
Location: Ball Room & Party Room/SUB
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2008
Time: 12:30 PM