FUNCTIONAL ASPECTS OF NECTAR-MEDIATED PLANT-POLLINATOR INTERACTIONS
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Proposed Symposium Title: FUNCTIONAL ASPECTS OF NECTAR-MEDIATED PLANT-POLLINATOR INTERACTIONS
Abstract: Pollination is an essential process in the sexual reproduction of seed plants since it allows the transport of pollen grains, i.e. the male gametophyte containing the male gametes, on the female reproductive structures . It is a prerequisite for fertilization and thus the production of seeds and new individuals. Today zoophilous pollination is responsible for the maintenance of a large part of plant biodiversity. Almost 90% of today known flowering plants (a little bit less than 300,000 species) are pollinated by animals, mostly insects. Insects also contribute to pollination in at least two clades of gymnosperms, i.e. cycadophytes and gnetophytes. Entomophily is important also for human food security: the crop of more than 1500 worldwide cultivated plants depends on insect pollination and it is estimated that more than 1/3 of our food derives from animal-pollinated crops.
Although animal pollination is a fundamental ecosystem service, knowledge gaps concerning the intimate relationships linking plants and pollinators do still exist. These relationships are frequently mediated by nectar, whose chemistry is tailored for such complex interactions also including nectar-dwelling microorganisms. The effects of this type of relationships at the single plant, population and community levels and how these effects influence landscape structure and crop production are largely unknown. This symposium is organized to stimulate the debate of the scientific community providing the most updated contribution on these themes that are of particular interest in a period characterized by global loss of biodiversity.
Speaker 1: Marcin Zych
University of Warsaw (PL), Botanical Garden
Tentaive title "Geographic variation of nectar properties in generalist plants: adaptive wandering or something more?"
Speaker 2: Geraldine Wright
University of Oxford (UK), Department of Biology
Tentative title "‘Where the bee sips: the perception of nectar by eusocial bees"
Speaker 3: Theodora Petanidou
University of the Aegean (GR), Department of Geography
Tentative title "Mediterranean nectarscape at the end of the 21st century"
Topics (Up to three): Ecology and Plant Communities
Topic 2: Plant, Animal and Microbe interactions
Topic 3: Reproductive biology
Justification: The potential scientific interest and audience is ensured by the broad themes of the symposium and by their particular significance in a period characterized by global biodiversity loss. Due to the complexity of the plant-pollinator relationships and of their effects from single individual up to communities and landscapes, this symposium bridges at least 7 main topics such as conservation biology, ecology and plant communities, ecophysiology, plant animal and microbe interactions, restoration ecology, reproductive biology, macroevolution. Gender equality was considered for the co-organizers and the three potential speakers with renown expertise in the topic, that have declared their participation.