Navigation Links
Novel type of bird pollination mechanism discovered in South America
Date:7/10/2014

The genus Axinaea belongs to the large, mainly tropical flowering plant family Melastomataceae (Meadow Beauty Family). Most of the ca. 5000 species in the family rely on bees for their pollination. Only about 100 are known to be pollinated by other insects or vertebrates. The flowers of Axinaea appear in clusters of few to more than twenty flowers and the petals of the different species are pink, yellow, orange or red. The stamens (male reproductive organs) stand out based on the contrasting colours of their bulbous appendages. The pollination mechanism of Axinaea had never been studied before and the researchers (Agnes Dellinger, Yannick Staedler, Jrg Schnenberger (Department of Botany and Biodiversity Research), Lena Fragner, Wolfram Weckwerth (Department of Ecogenomics and Systems Biology) from the University of Vienna, and the California Academy of Sciences (Darin Penneys) were very surprised to find that the flowers of this genus are visited by birds (mainly tanagers).

Complex "bellows" organ

Even more surprising was the finding that the birds do not feed on nectar as in most other bird-pollinated plants but consume the male reproductive organs (the stamens) while visiting the flowers. It turns out that the birds are attracted to the flowers by the conspicuous and sugar-rich stamen-appendages of Axinaea. As the birds seize a stamen, they are blasted with pollen by the stamen's complex "bellows" organ. And as the birds forage on, they deposit some of the pollen on a female floral organ (the stigma) and thus pollinate the flower.

Nutritious, sugar-rich food bodies as reward

Combining video monitoring and pollination experiments in the field with lab-based analyses of stamen structure and chemical composition, the researchers could describe the unique and highly complex pollination mechanism of Axinaea in detail. What they found is completely new to science and differs distinctly from known bird pollination systems. While the majority of bird-pollinated flowers offer nectar as reward, Axinaea attracts the birds with its nutritious, sugar-rich food bodies. In the rare known cases involving food bodies in bird pollinated systems, these rewards are restricted to the sterile outer floral organs. Also, there is no other known case of bird-pollinated plants that involves anatomically distinct bellows-organ for pollen dispersal.

At the more general level of the evolutionary history of flowering plant pollination, this study on the pollination biology of Axinaea provides another example for an evolutionary pollinator shift from bees to birds that is accompanied by conspicuous changes in floral morphology. Such evolutionary shifts from bees to birds or other vertebrates are often correlated with growth at higher altitudes and apparently support an earlier hypothesis postulating that vertebrates may be more reliable and more efficient pollinators at higher elevations than bees.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jürg Schönenberger
juerg.schoenenberger@univie.ac.at
43-142-775-4080
University of Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Study identifies novel genomic changes in the most common type of lung cancer
2. SDSC assists researchers in novel wildlife tracking project
3. Novel intravaginal ring shows promise for HIV prevention
4. Novel dark matter searches, identifying muzzle flashes, and more at 2014 APS DAMOP annual meeting
5. A novel disease-preventing antioxidant pathway
6. Novel drug target linked to insulin secretion and type 2 diabetes treatment
7. Illinois researchers combine weak chemical forces to strengthen novel imaging technology
8. Novel RNAi therapy silences mutated Huntingtons disease gene and reduces symptoms
9. Sanford-Burnham and Daiichi Sankyo form alliance to study novel drug targets
10. Novel ORNL technique enables air-stable water droplet networks
11. High-efficiency water treatment using light using a novel UV-light system
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Novel type of bird pollination mechanism discovered in South America
(Date:12/15/2016)... 15, 2016  There is much more to innovative ... the engine. Continental will demonstrate the intelligence of today,s ... . Through the combination of the keyless entry ... biometric elements, the international technology company is opening up ... authentication. "The integration of biometric elements brings ...
(Date:12/12/2016)... Dec. 12, 2016  Researchers at Trinity College, ... graphene by combining the material with Silly Putty. The ... pressure detector able to sense pulse, blood pressure, ... spider.  The research team,s findings ... read here:  http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6317/1257 ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Calif. , Dec. 8, 2016  Singulex, Inc., ... Molecule Counting technology, entered into a license and supply ... serving science. The agreement provides Singulex access to Thermo ... Europe is used to diagnose systemic ... United States to aid in assessing the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... The two newest companies ... options for patients. Vironika, a spin out from The Wistar Institute, and Sanguis, launched ... space at 3624 Market Street. , Vironika is developing a treatment for a ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... Cancer Type, Application - Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2014-2022" ... ... market is projected to reach $15,737 million by 2022 from $6,521 ... 2022. Omic technologies segment accounted for more than ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... Basel, Switzerland (PRWEB) , ... ... ... leading provider of advanced software solutions for pharmaceutical research and development (R&D), ... project-based expertise in omic data analysis and interpretation for the rapidly evolving ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) today ... Policy. Specifically, the nation’s leading informatics experts, said data sharing plans should be ... recommended that NIH earmark funding for researchers to produce and execute data sharing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: