Krauss, Siegy .
A striking departure from near-neighbor mating in Australian plants pollinated by honeyeaters.
In plants, pollen dispersal is characteristically leptokurtic, with significant consequences for population genetic structure, genetic variation, inbreeding and nearest-neighbour mating dynamics. However, most studies have been on wind- or insect-pollinated plants from the northern hemisphere. Here, we quantify realised pollen dispersal, and examine its effect on fine scale spatial genetic structure and mating dynamics, within a Western Australian vertebrate-pollinated shrub, Banksia hookeriana (Proteaceae). We assigned paternity using AFLP markers to 274 seeds from 5 families within a natural population of 112 plants. Realized pollen dispersal showed a striking departure from typically nearest-neighbour pollination, with a distribution corresponding to the spatial distribution of plants. We found on average an equal probability of paternity for each of the 50 closest potential mates, at a distance of up to 50m, from a maternal plant. This panmixis is facilitated by highly mobile nectar feeding birds such as honeyeaters in the family Meliphagidae. With bird pollination a feature of temperate Australia, our results have broad and novel evolutionary significance for many species of Gondwanan lineages. We suggest that the negative genetic consequences of reduced pollen dispersal caused by environmental changes such as habitat fragmentation, declining pollinators, and non-native pollinators such as European honeybees, are of particular conservation concern for these promiscuous plants with native pollinators facilitating near random mating.
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1 - Kings Park And Botanic Garden, Fraser Ave, West Perth, Western Australia, 6005, Australia
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Date: Wednesday, July 30th, 2008
Time: 3:00 PM