No evidence of flowering synchronization upon floral volatiles for a short lived annual plant species: Revisiting an appealing hypothesis

Ute Fricke, Dani Lucas-Barbosa, Jacob C. Douma*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Self-incompatible plants require simultaneous flowering mates for crosspollination and reproduction. Though the presence of flowering conspecifics and pollination agents are important for reproductive success, so far no cues that signal the flowering state of potential mates have been identified. Here, we empirically tested the hypothesis that plant floral volatiles induce flowering synchrony among self-incompatible conspecifics by acceleration of flowering and flower opening rate of non-flowering conspecifics. We exposed Brassica rapa Maarssen, a self-incompatible, in rather dense patches growing annual, to (1) flowering or non-flowering conspecifics or to (2) floral volatiles of conspecifics by isolating plants in separate containers with a directional airflow. In the latter, odors emitted by non-flowering conspecifics were used as control. Results: Date of first bud, duration of first flower bud, date of first flower, maximum number of open flowers and flower opening rate were not affected by the presence of conspecific flowering neighbors nor by floral volatiles directly. Conclusions: This study presents a compelling approach to empirically test the role of flower synchronization by floral volatiles and challenges the premises that are underlying this hypothesis. We argue that the life history of the plant as well as its interaction with pollinators and insect herbivores, as well as the distance over which volatiles may serve as synchronization cue, set constraints on the fitness benefits of synchronized flowering which needs to be taken into account when testing the role of floral volatiles in synchronized flowering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
JournalBMC Ecology
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2019

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annual plant
flowering
flower
flowers
bud
buds
plant species
Brassica rapa
synchrony
pollinator
air flow
pollination
pollinators
odor
airflow
reproductive success
containers
herbivore
life history
fitness

Keywords

  • Flowering onset
  • Flowering synchronization
  • Phenology
  • Plant-plant communication

Cite this

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title = "No evidence of flowering synchronization upon floral volatiles for a short lived annual plant species: Revisiting an appealing hypothesis",
abstract = "Background: Self-incompatible plants require simultaneous flowering mates for crosspollination and reproduction. Though the presence of flowering conspecifics and pollination agents are important for reproductive success, so far no cues that signal the flowering state of potential mates have been identified. Here, we empirically tested the hypothesis that plant floral volatiles induce flowering synchrony among self-incompatible conspecifics by acceleration of flowering and flower opening rate of non-flowering conspecifics. We exposed Brassica rapa Maarssen, a self-incompatible, in rather dense patches growing annual, to (1) flowering or non-flowering conspecifics or to (2) floral volatiles of conspecifics by isolating plants in separate containers with a directional airflow. In the latter, odors emitted by non-flowering conspecifics were used as control. Results: Date of first bud, duration of first flower bud, date of first flower, maximum number of open flowers and flower opening rate were not affected by the presence of conspecific flowering neighbors nor by floral volatiles directly. Conclusions: This study presents a compelling approach to empirically test the role of flower synchronization by floral volatiles and challenges the premises that are underlying this hypothesis. We argue that the life history of the plant as well as its interaction with pollinators and insect herbivores, as well as the distance over which volatiles may serve as synchronization cue, set constraints on the fitness benefits of synchronized flowering which needs to be taken into account when testing the role of floral volatiles in synchronized flowering.",
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author = "Ute Fricke and Dani Lucas-Barbosa and Douma, {Jacob C.}",
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No evidence of flowering synchronization upon floral volatiles for a short lived annual plant species: Revisiting an appealing hypothesis. / Fricke, Ute; Lucas-Barbosa, Dani; Douma, Jacob C.

In: BMC Ecology, Vol. 19, No. 1, 29, 07.08.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - No evidence of flowering synchronization upon floral volatiles for a short lived annual plant species: Revisiting an appealing hypothesis

AU - Fricke, Ute

AU - Lucas-Barbosa, Dani

AU - Douma, Jacob C.

PY - 2019/8/7

Y1 - 2019/8/7

N2 - Background: Self-incompatible plants require simultaneous flowering mates for crosspollination and reproduction. Though the presence of flowering conspecifics and pollination agents are important for reproductive success, so far no cues that signal the flowering state of potential mates have been identified. Here, we empirically tested the hypothesis that plant floral volatiles induce flowering synchrony among self-incompatible conspecifics by acceleration of flowering and flower opening rate of non-flowering conspecifics. We exposed Brassica rapa Maarssen, a self-incompatible, in rather dense patches growing annual, to (1) flowering or non-flowering conspecifics or to (2) floral volatiles of conspecifics by isolating plants in separate containers with a directional airflow. In the latter, odors emitted by non-flowering conspecifics were used as control. Results: Date of first bud, duration of first flower bud, date of first flower, maximum number of open flowers and flower opening rate were not affected by the presence of conspecific flowering neighbors nor by floral volatiles directly. Conclusions: This study presents a compelling approach to empirically test the role of flower synchronization by floral volatiles and challenges the premises that are underlying this hypothesis. We argue that the life history of the plant as well as its interaction with pollinators and insect herbivores, as well as the distance over which volatiles may serve as synchronization cue, set constraints on the fitness benefits of synchronized flowering which needs to be taken into account when testing the role of floral volatiles in synchronized flowering.

AB - Background: Self-incompatible plants require simultaneous flowering mates for crosspollination and reproduction. Though the presence of flowering conspecifics and pollination agents are important for reproductive success, so far no cues that signal the flowering state of potential mates have been identified. Here, we empirically tested the hypothesis that plant floral volatiles induce flowering synchrony among self-incompatible conspecifics by acceleration of flowering and flower opening rate of non-flowering conspecifics. We exposed Brassica rapa Maarssen, a self-incompatible, in rather dense patches growing annual, to (1) flowering or non-flowering conspecifics or to (2) floral volatiles of conspecifics by isolating plants in separate containers with a directional airflow. In the latter, odors emitted by non-flowering conspecifics were used as control. Results: Date of first bud, duration of first flower bud, date of first flower, maximum number of open flowers and flower opening rate were not affected by the presence of conspecific flowering neighbors nor by floral volatiles directly. Conclusions: This study presents a compelling approach to empirically test the role of flower synchronization by floral volatiles and challenges the premises that are underlying this hypothesis. We argue that the life history of the plant as well as its interaction with pollinators and insect herbivores, as well as the distance over which volatiles may serve as synchronization cue, set constraints on the fitness benefits of synchronized flowering which needs to be taken into account when testing the role of floral volatiles in synchronized flowering.

KW - Flowering onset

KW - Flowering synchronization

KW - Phenology

KW - Plant-plant communication

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SN - 1472-6785

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