08 August, 2015

The pollination syndromes: how much do we really understand?

by Jeff Ollerton and Nick Waser

Ecologists and evolutionary biologists seek to document repeated patterns that they see in nature and to understand the processes that determine these patterns.   One example is the idea of “pollination syndromes”, sets of flower characteristics that appear to have repeatedly evolved in different plant families due to the convergent selection applied by specific types of pollinators.  Thus, red, scentless flowers are typical of many bird-pollinated plants whilst white, night-scented flowers often signify moth pollination.  Plant species that display such archetypical flower traits are used as textbook examples to emphasize a view that plant-pollinator interactions tend to be predictable and specialised.  

Read the whole summary in: English!
Read the scientific publication in JPE.

03 August, 2015

Flies and Flowers III: Ecology of Foraging and Pollination

by Inouye et al.

This bumble bee mimic is a Syrphid fly
Flies (the Diptera) are important flower visitors and pollinators for many plant species and in a variety of habitats.  Diptera are not as well studied as other groups of pollinators, and not nearly as much is known about their foraging and effectiveness as pollinators as is known for bees, butterflies, moths, and bird pollinators. This paper reviews the available information about how fly foraging is influenced by environmental variables, their foraging behaviour, and interactions with other flower visitors.  We conclude that Diptera exhibit many of the same foraging behaviours as other flower visitors and that they are effective pollinators in both natural and agricultural ecosystems. 

Read the scientific publication in JPE.