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Pollination biology of cantharophilous and melittophilous Annonaceae and Cyclanthaceae in French Guiana

Source: OAI

ABSTRACT Due to human impact tropical forests become fragmented and their preservation and sustainable management receive more attention. Functioning plant-animal interactions are crucial for long-term preservation of biodiversity in every rainforest. Therefore, understanding the plant-animal interactions is the key to sustainable management of this ecosystem. In undisturbed ecosystems, these interactions exist in their most preserved state and provide the true account on the ecology of the species concerned. The relationship between plants and their insect pollinators is one of the most important interactions in the evolutionary history of angiosperms. Most tropical plants are pollinated by insects, but only a fraction has been investigated and information is completely missing for many evolutionary important taxonomical groups. The aim of the present study was to estimate pollination mechanisms of selected species belonging to the families Annonaceae and Cyclanthaceae in their original and undisturbed habitat. Annonaceae are an evolutionary old family, and their members form an important component of tropical rainforests because of their species richness and high abundance. The Cyclanthaceae occur only in the Neotropics. Their live form include mostly terrestrial herbs or (hemi)-epiphytes.

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    ABSTRACT: The pollination biology of Annonaceae has received considerable attention, with data now available for > 45% of the genera (or genus-equivalent clades) included in recent molecular phylogenetic analyses. This provides a basis for understanding evolutionary shifts in the pollination system within the family. The present study focuses on subfamilies Anaxagoreoideae, Ambavioideae and Annonoideae, for which robust, well-resolved phylogenetic trees are available. Information is summarized on the pollination biology of individual clades and the evolutionary adaptations favouring different pollinator guilds evaluated. Although the majority of species of Annonaceae are pollinated by small beetles, five other pollinator groups are known: large beetles, thrips, flies, bees and cockroaches. Small-beetle pollination is inferred as the ancestral pollination system, with all other systems being derived. Evolutionary shifts to pollination by large beetles, thrips and flies are unlikely to have been significantly constrained by previous adaptations favouring pollination by small beetles, as many of the adaptations to these different pollinator guilds are similar (including protogyny, partially enclosed floral chambers and olfactory cues). In contrast, however, the evolutionary shift to bee pollination has presumably been constrained by both protogyny (as pollen-collecting bees are unlikely to visit pistillate-phase flowers) and the presence of floral chambers.
    Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 05/2012; 169:222-244. · 2.59 Impact Factor

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