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Open Access item Geographical context of floral evolution: towards an improved research programme in floral diversification

Authors:Herrera, Carlos M.
Castellanos, María Clara
Medrano, Mónica
Issue Date:2006
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Citation:Harder, Lawrence D Barrett, Spencer C.H (2006).Ecology and Evolution of Flowers, pages 278-294. Oxford University press
Abstract:The diversification of animal-pollinated angiosperms is related to divergence in floral characteristics promoted by adaptations to different pollinators. According to prevailing evolutionary theory, this mac- roevolutionary pattern results from adaptive local or regional differentiation of pollination-related features in response to spatial divergence in pollinators. This crucial process links the micro- and macroevolution of floral adaptation, yet it has received much less attention than either floral diversification of species in a phylogenetic context, or pollinator-mediated phenotypic selection on pollination-related traits within populations. This chapter includes two components. We first use a literature survey to demonstrate that the study of plant–pollinator interaction in a geographical context is a relatively neglected element of research on floral diversification. In addition, the few studies that explicitly assess intraspecific variation in pollinators and pollination-related traits generally do not provide unequivocal evidence for a causal role of divergent selection from pollinators in intraspecific differentiation in floral traits. We then describe an analysis of regional variation in pollinators and corolla traits (upper lip and corolla tube length) of Lavandula latifolia, a Mediterranean evergreen shrub, which illustrates a five-step protocol for identifying geographical differentiation in floral traits driven by spatially variable selection from pollinators. Corolla traits, pollinator composition, and phenotypic selection on the upper corolla lip all vary geographically, and the morphological and pollination-related selection clines are closely congruent. Our results for this species implicate adaptive intraspecific floral differentiation in response to a cline in pollinator-mediated selection on pollination success, although confirmation of this conclusion awaits experiments to determine the genetic basis of floral variation.
Publisher version (URL):http://site.ebrary.com/lib/redcsic/docDetail.action?docID=10271532
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