by Staff Writers
Hanover NH (SPX) Feb 10, 2016
Climate change may harm early-flowering plants not through plant-pollinator mismatch but through frost damage, a Dartmouth College-led study shows. The findings appear in the journal Global Change Biology. A PDF is available on request.
Climate change has many ecological effects, such as altering flowering phenology, or the blooming time of wildflowers, across the world. Altering blooming time often affects plant reproduction and survival, but the mechanisms behind these changes are not well understood.
The researchers used two large-scale field experiments to assess how altering the phenology of the western spring beauty affects plant-pollinator interactions and plant reproduction. The iconic white and pink mountain wildflower is visited primarily by native bees collecting nectar and/or pollen.
The researchers found that altering blooming time caused low plant reproduction, but the cause of the reduction depended on the direction that the blooming time was altered. Contrary to their predictions, advanced blooming time did not reduce pollinator visits but caused low plant reproduction due to frost damage. Low reproduction due to disrupted plant-pollinator interactions was only achieved by delaying blooming time.
Thus, plants face trade-offs with advanced flowering time: while early-flowering plants can reap the benefits of enhanced pollination, they do so at the cost of increased susceptibility to frost damage that can overwhelm any benefit of flowering early. In contrast, delayed flowering results in dramatic reductions in plant reproduction through reduced pollination.
"As phenology is advancing around the globe, there are concerns that plant-pollinator interactions may be disrupted through phenological mismatches, or mismatches in the timing of when flowers bloom and their pollinators emerge, leading to reduced plant reproduction," says lead author Zak Gezon, who conducted the research as a doctoral student at Dartmouth and who is now a conservation biologist with Disney's Animal Programs.
"Our results suggest, however, that climate change may constrain reproduction of early-flowering plants mostly through the direct impacts of extreme environmental conditions rather than disrupted plant-pollinator interactions."
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|