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Phylogenetic community context influences pollen delivery to Allium cernuum
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Few studies have examined how the number and identity of species in the neighbouring community influences the reproductive success of particular focal species. Pollen delivery, an important component of fitness of sexual plants, is a function of not just the floral traits of any particular individual, but of features of the population and community as it depends on pollinator abundance and preferences. Many pollinators in flowering communities will prefer patches with high floral abundance or diversity yet may exhibit lower floral constancy when more flowering species are present. Thus, pollination efficiency could increase or decrease with increased species richness and this will alter the selection pressures placed upon the floral traits (such as floral colour or reward) of any member of a particular community. Moreover, recent studies have indicated that plant-pollinator networks are phylogenetically structured (pollinators visit related plant species more than expected by chance) and this may be an important factor structuring flowering plant communities. Thus, the sheer number of species within a patch may be less important than the number of closely-related species. We investigate whether species richness or phylogenetic proximity of coflowering species influences the amount and proportion of conspecific pollen delivered to nodding onion, Allium cernuum, in fragment patches of Garry Oak meadows in South Western British Columbia, Canada. We find that pollen delivery depended upon the presence of close relatives far more than on species richness or population density, indicating a central role of the community structure on pollination in flowering plant communities. Insofar as pollen delivery relates to the relative number of seeds produced by members of the community, pollination may in turn determine the community structure of the next generation.
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 Record created 2010-04-08, last modified 2019-07-02

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