Buzz pollination in invasive plant populations
ID: 613 / 439
Proposed Symposium Title: Buzz pollination in invasive plant populations
Affiliations: 1 Plant Ecology and Evolution, Department of Ecology and Genetics. Uppsala University, Sweden.
Plant populations that colonise and spread beyond their native range might face reproductive challenges arising from the scarcity of con-specific mates and suitable pollinators. For this reason, it could be expected that outcrossing plants with specialised pollination syndromes should be at a particular disadvantage compared to similar species with generalised pollination or capable of shifting to autonomous self-pollination. Here, I will discuss the case of species that have managed to successfully colonise and spread beyond their native range despite having a functionally specialised pollination system that relies on vibration-producing bees to release pollen, i.e., buzz pollination. Buzz pollinated plants usually have tubular-shaped anthers that open only through small apical gaps or pores (poricidal anthers). Reducing pollen limitation in successful invasions of buzz pollinated plants could be facilitated by modification of poricidal anthers to release pollen in the absence of pollinators, thus promoting autonomous selfing. Alternatively, buzz-pollinated plants may be able to recruit taxonomically different, but functionally similar types of buzz pollinating bees in the introduced range. Buzz pollinating bees are geographically widespread and can adapt behaviourally to deploy vibrations in many types of flowers. Thus, we expect that invasions of buzz pollinated plants often occur by recruiting non-native buzz pollinators rather than by transitions to increased autonomous selfing.