Highlighted Young PPE Member of the Month
Dr. Gerardo Arceo Gomez
Arceo-Gomez, G. and T-L. Ashman. 2014. Coflowering Community Context Influences Female Fitness and Alters the Adaptive Value of Flower Longevity in Mimulus guttatus. American Naturalist 183(2): E50-E63.
A major goal in evolutionary biology is to incorporate the complexity of multispecies interactions into our understanding of microevolutionary processes within populations. Interactions among co-flowering species, in particular, have the potential to influence pollinator foraging decisions and hence plant reproductive success and floral evolution. However, how co-flowering community composition influences selection process within natural populations is still unclear. In this study, we evaluate how co-flowering species richness affects key aspects of pollination of Mimulus guttatus and assessed the importance of co-flowering diversity in mediating floral evolution, in this case flower longevity. We found lower visitation rates and higher heterospecific pollen transfer to M. guttatus growing in high compared to low diversity co-flowering communities. We found a positive correlation between flower longevity and co-flowering species richness and showed that extended flower longevity was advantageous only in high diversity sites. Our study suggests that co-flowering diversity can be a strong selective agent promoting floral trait differentiation among populations and in doing so advances our understanding of the community properties shaping the evolutionary dynamics of constituent populations.
More on Gerardo’s research can be found here.