Ashley, MV .
DNA microsatellites, Parentage, and Pollination Patterns.
Beginning about 15 years ago, DNA microsatellites began providing plant ecologists with molecular markers precise enough to assign parentage to seeds and seedlings. This in turn has allowed the exact distance and trajectory of successful pollen to be traced to characterize pollination patterns. I conducted a thorough review of over 40 studies of molecular parentage assignment used for pollination studies of native plants. The literature review revealed several limitations to this approach. For example, most studies to date have been conducted on forest trees that occur at relatively low densities, allowing the neighboring pool of candidate pollen donors to be sampled extensively. Despite such limitations, studies have been conducted on at least 36 different species in many different habitats, ranging from temperate agricultural landscapes to intact tropical forests. Wind and animal-pollinated systems are represented relatively evenly. Together, these molecular parentage studies overturn many common assumptions regarding pollination. They show that long-distance pollen dispersal is common in both wind and animal dispersed systems, with average pollination distances typically being hundreds of meters. Pollen immigration from outside the study stand or site is commonly over 50%. Rather than hindering gene flow, fragmentation and isolation has been shown in several studies to increase pollination distances. Although distance is associated with pollination success, distance explains only a portion of the variation in plant mating patterns, often a relatively modest portion. Simple dispersal functions based on distance alone will often fail to make accurate predictions of pollination. While parentage studies have complicated the dispersal landscape, the emerging paradigm of pollen dispersal is much richer and multifaceted. Important and underappreciated ecological processes are influencing pollination patterns, processes that should be examined more carefully. Possibilities include flowering phenology, wind column dynamics, pollen properties, pollinator behaviors, and even mate choice to help explain complex mating patterns in plants.
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1 - University of Illinois at Chicago, Biological Sciences, 845 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL, 60607, USA
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Location: 553A/Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Time: 1:45 PM