HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Columbine flowers develop long nectar spurs in response to pollinators

In flowers called columbines, evolution of the length of nectar spurs--the long tubes leading to plants' nectar--happens in a way that allows flowers to match the tongue lengths of the pollinators that drink their nectar, biologists have found.

The researchers were Justen Whittall of the University of California at Davis and Scott Hodges of the University of California at Santa Barbara. They were funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Their results appear in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Darwin once proposed a co-evolutionary "race" to explain how natural selection might account for the evolution of very long nectar spurs in flowers, said Hodges. "In Darwin's race, plants with the longest spurs and pollinators with the longest tongues [to tap the flowers' nectar] would be favored by natural selection, and--in a never-ending process--continually drive the plants' spurs and the pollinator tongues to exceptionally long lengths."

But it turns out, Whittall and Hodges found, that evolution acts in a more one-sided fashion in many plants: the plants evolve nectar spurs to match the tongue-lengths of the pollinators. Then the process stops, and only starts again when there is a change in pollinators.

Whittall and Hodges proved this idea by testing the columbine genus Aquilegia, which is pollinated by bumblebees, hummingbirds and hawkmoths.

They found that most of the columbines' nectar spur length evolution happened during shifts in pollinators from bumblebees to hummingbirds, and from hummingbirds to hawkmoths. In between these shifts, evolution of the columbines' nectar spurs came to a halt.

Whittall and Hodges' work provides evidence that evolution may occur in a stop-and-go pattern--one in which adaptation to specific pollinators occurs very rapidly, followed by periods of no further evolution until another pollinator shift occurs, according to William Zamer, deputy director of NSF's di
'"/>

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation
7-Jun-2007


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Plants with male and bisexual flowers on the same plant are better mothers
2. How did bilaterally symmetric flowers evolve from radially symmetric ones?
3. Genetic snooze button governs timing of spring flowers
4. Wild bees and the flowers they pollinate are disappearing together
5. How flowers changed the world a new book by Field Museum scientist
6. Lots of flowers and trees, not enough birds and bees
7. AIDS drug from sunflowers
8. A new angle on flowers: Fish are players in pollination
9. Bumblebees copy one another when contending with unfamiliar flowers
10. Teamwork between 2 key proteins necessary for normal development and regulation of red blood cells
11. New research identifies anti-viral protein that may predict who might be at risk to develop lupus

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/9/2019)... ... March 08, 2019 , ... Ace Laboratories, Inc. ... resveratrol + ribose hard candy lozenges ( http://www.well-mints.com ). , Well-Mints™ each contain ... hard candy base dusted with powdered sugar. , Well-Mints'™ patented technology delivers resveratrol ...
(Date:3/1/2019)... , ... February 28, 2019 , ... Teresa Krabbe, Ph.D., ... Isar of the Technical University Munich, has been awarded an xCELLigence Research Grant for ... improved oncolytic virus platform. , Oncolytic viruses represent an exciting new aspect ...
(Date:2/22/2019)... ... February 20, 2019 , ... RoosterBio, Inc, a privately held ... footprint in Frederick, MD after a year of rapid growth. , “Hundreds of ... cell (hMSCs) products to streamline their product development efforts in the regenerative medicine ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/19/2019)... Calif. (PRWEB) , ... March 19, 2019 , ... Bogey was nine years old when ... arthritis in his left hip. These ailments caused Bogey to experience problems with his ... vehicles, up stairs, and onto his special spot on the couch. , His owners, devastated ...
(Date:3/19/2019)... ... March 19, 2019 , ... ... hospital in Israel and the Middle East region, and Swiss-based CDMO Lonza ... manufacturing platform. The partnership will enable Sheba to vastly streamline its in-house ...
(Date:3/15/2019)... ... March 15, 2019 , ... ... Inc. and affiliate companies including AVAPCO LLC and API Intellectual Properties Holdings. ... Biorefinery and R&D center in Thomaston, Georgia, operations, research, and business development ...
(Date:3/14/2019)... , ... March 14, 2019 , ... ... Conference & Expo, themed “Navigating the Full Spectrum of Case Management,” continues as ... 10-14, 2019. This conference is the only case management industry conference serving the ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: