Navigation Links
Grazers and pollinators shape plant evolution
Date:10/21/2013

It has long been known that the characteristics of many plants with wide ranges can vary geographically, depending on differences in climate. But changes in grazing pressure and pollination can also affect the genetic composition of natural plant populations, according to a new study.

Researchers at Uppsala University and Stockholm University are presenting the new study this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS.

It is known that a prominent floral display increases attractiveness to pollinators, but also increases the risk of damage from grazing animals and seed-eating insects. To investigate how pollinators and grazing animals affect the characteristics of natural plant populations, these researchers studied bird's eye primrose populations in alvar grasslands on the Baltic island of land. Two distinct morphs of primrose occur there: a short morph that produces its flowers close to the ground and a tall morph that displays its flowers well above the ground. The tall morph is better at attracting pollinators, but, on the other hand, it is more frequently damaged by grazing animals and seed predators.

In field experiments the scientists have shown that grazing pressure and pollination intensity determine whether the short or the tall primrose morph reproduces more successfully. The difference in plant height has a genetic basis, and over time differences in reproductive success affect the genetic composition of plant populations. For a period of eight years, the researchers documented changes in the proportion of short plants in natural populations and field experiments. The results show that altered grazing pressure leads to rapid changes in the genetic composition of the primrose populations, specifically in the proportion of short plants.

The Agricultural Landscape of Southern land has been a World Heritage Site since 2000. The grazing pressure on the alvar grasslands of land has increased dramatically in the last fifteen years as a result of measures taken to keep the landscape open.

- The study shows that grazing pressure impacts not only which plants dominate but also the genetic composition of the plant populations. These findings help us understand how differences in environmental conditions influence the evolution of genetic differentiation among plant populations, says Professor Jon gren at the Evolutionary Biology Centre.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jon Ågren
jon.agren@ebc.uu.se
46-070-643-6364
Uppsala University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Tiny grazers play key role in marine ecosystem health
2. Wild pollinators increase crop fruit set regardless of honey bees
3. Wild pollinators support farm productivity and stabilize yield
4. New approach to protecting prion protein from altering shape
5. The genomes 3-D structure shapes how genes are expressed
6. How petals get their shape
7. The science of spring flowers -- how petals get their shape
8. Strange phallus-shaped creature provides crucial missing link
9. New research on migratory behavior of oceanic whitetip sharks can help shape conservation strategies
10. Epigenetics shapes fate of brain vs. brawn castes in carpenter ants
11. Scripps Research Institute study shows how brain cells shape temperature preferences
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016  A new ... make more accurate underwriting decisions in a fraction ... timely, competitively priced and high-value life insurance policies ... screenings. With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing ... lifestyle data readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... CHICAGO , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can ... weight, pulse and body mass index, and, when they ... quick and convenient visit to a local retail location ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... 2016 LegacyXChange, Inc. (OTC: ... SelectaDNA/CSI Protect are pleased to announce our successful effort ... variety of writing instruments, ensuring athletes signatures against counterfeiting ... from athletes on LegacyXChange will be assured of ongoing ... Bill Bollander , CEO states, "By ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university ... to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning ... New York City . ... showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the ... MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, the Industry Network for ... Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design Lab’s mission is to ... are designed, built and brought to market. , The Design Lab is Supplyframe’s ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report published today ... a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an ... paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated ... the medical community, has closed its Series A funding ... . "We have received a commitment from ... we need to meet our current goals," stated ... the runway to complete validation on the current projects ...
Breaking Biology Technology: