Mating patterns and pollinator mobility are critical traits in forest fragmentation genetics

Martin F. Breed, Kym Ottewell, Michael Gardner, Maria Marklund, Eleanor Dormontt, Andrew Lowe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    80 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Most woody plants are animal-pollinated, but the global problem of habitat fragmentation is changing the pollination dynamics. Consequently, the genetic diversity and fitness of the progeny of animal-pollinated woody plants sired in fragmented landscapes tend to decline due to shifts in plant-mating patterns (for example, reduced outcrossing rate, pollen diversity). However, the magnitude of this mating-pattern shift should theoretically be a function of pollinator mobility. We first test this hypothesis by exploring the mating patterns of three ecologically divergent eucalypts sampled across a habitat fragmentation gradient in southern Australia. We demonstrate increased selfing and decreased pollen diversity with increased fragmentation for two small-insect-pollinated eucalypts, but no such relationship for the mobile-bird-pollinated eucalypt. In a meta-analysis, we then show that fragmentation generally does increase selfing rates and decrease pollen diversity, and that more mobile pollinators tended to dampen these mating-pattern shifts. Together, our findings support the premise that variation in pollinator form contributes to the diversity of mating-pattern responses to habitat fragmentation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)108-114
    Number of pages7
    JournalHeredity
    Volume115
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015

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