Proposed Symposium Title: PARADIGM SHIFTS IN FLOWER COLOR
Abstract: The dogma of plant reproductive biology is that flower color functions primarily to attract pollinators leading to successful fertilization. Flower color is mainly caused by the accumulation of different pigments in the floral tissues. Flower color may also serve other important functions in flowers, and therefore it may provide an alternative or complementary role to that of pollinator attraction. The main group of secondary pigments in plants, the flavonoids, function as antioxidants and provide protection against extreme temperatures, drought, UV-radiation, pathogens, herbivores and other selective agents. All these functions have been extensively demonstrated in photosynthetic tissues, but it has been recently shown that these pigments have similar functions in flowers. This fact may explain the current distribution of flower colors across environmental gradients and may have important consequences when interpreting plant adaptations to pollinators and their environment, especially in with regard to climate change. However, carotenoids and betalains, the other main groups of flower pigments, also have antioxidant activity, but their protective role in flowers is almost unknown. We expect this symposium will be interesting to a uniquely diverse range of IBC participants including plant ecologists, plant biochemists, plant geneticists, pollination biologists, and plant evolutionary biologists.
Speaker 1: Casper Van der Kooi
Department of Plant Ecophysiology, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
Tentative talk title: Flavonoid content explains geographic variations in the UV reflecting flower colors
Speaker 2: Matt Koski
Department of Biological Sciences, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA
Tentative talk title: The effects of climate change on floral color
Speaker 3: Justen B. Whittall.
Santa Clara University, Ca, USA.
Tentative talk title: Flower Color: A Landscape Approach
Topics (Up to three): Reproductive Biology
Topic 2: Ecology and Plant Communities
Topic 3: Macroevolution
Justification: We invite researchers to participate in this symposium if their studies represent paradigm shifts in how we think about flower color from the field, greenhouse, cellular, biochemical and/or genetic scales. We are particularly interested in studies that relate to the properties of floral pigments not directly related to pollinator attraction, such as: the effects on floral temperature, herbivore deterrents, UV protection, or floral colors at macroecological environmental scales. We encourage participants to share new ecological, cellular, biochemical or genetic data. We have tentatively assembled a panel of speakers that includes both males and females representing diverse stages in their careers.