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Pembroke, VA, United States

Fenster C.B.,University of Maryland University College | Reynolds R.J.,University of Maryland University College | Reynolds R.J.,University of Alabama at Birmingham | Williams C.W.,Mountain Lake Biological Station | And 3 more authors.
Evolution | Year: 2015

Darwin recognized the flower's importance for the study of adaptation and emphasized that the flower's functionality reflects the coordinated action of multiple traits. Here we use a multitrait manipulative approach to quantify the potential role of selection acting on floral trait combinations underlying the divergence and maintenance of three related North American species of Silene (Caryophyllaceae). We artificially generated 48 plant phenotypes corresponding to all combinations of key attractive traits differing among the three Silene species (color, height, inflorescence architecture, flower orientation, and corolla-tube width). We quantified main and interaction effects of trait manipulation on hummingbird visitation preference using experimental arrays. The main effects of floral display height and floral orientation strongly influenced hummingbird visitation, with hummingbirds preferring flowers held high above the ground and vertically to the sky. Hummingbirds also prefer traits in a nonadditive manner as multiple two-way and higher order interaction effects were important predictors of hummingbird visitation. Contemporary trait combinations found in hummingbird pollinated S. virginica are mostly preferred. Our study demonstrates the likelihood of pollination syndromes evolving due to selection on trait combinations and highlights the importance of trait interactions in understanding the evolution of complex adaptations. © 2015 The Author(s). Source

Castillo D.M.,Indiana University Bloomington | Kula A.A.R.,Mountain Lake Biological Station | Kula A.A.R.,University of Maryland University College | Dotterl S.,University of Bayreuth | And 5 more authors.
International Journal of Plant Sciences | Year: 2014

The acquisition of new mutualists and escape from enemies are often essential for the establishment of invasive species. With its introduction to North America, Silene latifolia successfully escaped a number of generalist and specialist enemies, including the seed predator/specialist pollinator Hadena bicruris, but information regarding the acquisition of new mutualists in a community context has not been examined. We used field observations of mixed species arrays and laboratory feeding trials and compared floral scent and plant/ pollinator morphological match to explore the interaction in North America of the invasive S. latifolia with the native pollinating seed predator, Hadena ectypa, in order to understand mechanisms of enemy release and mutualist facilitation underlying the successful invasion of S. latifolia. In mixed arrays, H. ectypa visited S. latifolia at a low frequency similar to the combined visitation of other non-Hadena nocturnal moth species. Differences in the floral scent profiles of S. latifolia and Silene stellata, a native coflowering congener and natural host of H. ectypa, combined with the lack of morphological match between H. ectypa and S. latifolia, likely contribute to these results. In the field study, only one H. ectypa egg was oviposited on S. latifolia, and this did not result in a successful fruit attack. Larvae feeding trials in the lab showed no initial feeding preference for pistils of either Silene species. Therefore, our study suggests that S. latifolia has escaped the cost of seed predation typically associated with visitation and oviposition by Hadena pollinators, a potential natural enemy, while taking advantage of pollination services provided by both H. ectypa and other native North American nocturnal moth pollinators. © 2013 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. Source

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