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:3/24/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle ... around 15.1% over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million ... estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on global as ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 21, 2017   Neurotechnology , a ... technologies, today announced the release of the ... provides improved facial recognition using up to 10 ... single computer. The new version uses deep neural-network-based ... and it utilizes a Graphing Processing Unit (GPU) ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... -- At this year,s CeBIT Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel ... Chancellor came to the DERMALOG stand together with the Japanese Prime Minster ... country. At the largest German biometrics company the two government leaders could ... recognition as well as DERMALOG´s multi-biometrics system.   ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... Leaders of Quorum ... will be featured in multiple sessions at this week’s Association of Clinical Research ... to best practices in clinical research. , "We are excited to present subject matter ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... YORK , April 24, 2017  Dante Labs announced ... at only EUR 850 (ca. $900). While American individuals have ... the first time Europeans can access WGS below EUR 1,000. ... are crucial to leveraging genetic information to make informed decisions ... ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... TX (PRWEB) , ... April 21, 2017 , ... Having ... than a year, Formaspace is pleased to introduce it to top lab design architects ... Formaspace CEO Jeff Turk and VP of Industrial Design and Engineering Greg Casey will ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 21, 2017 , ... ... and related applications were the focus of researchers, engineers, product developers, and industry ... in Anaheim. , Sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: