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:
(Date:4/20/2015)... Huntington Memorial Hospital is the first facility ... miniaturized, wireless monitoring sensor to manage heart failure (HF). ... FDA-approved heart failure monitoring device that has been proven ... to manage heart failure. The CardioMEMS HF ... pulmonary artery (PA) during a non-surgical procedure to directly ...
(Date:4/14/2015)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... the growing mobile commerce market, announces that its Wocket® ... York Design Awards under the category  ,Product Design – ... Awards are part of a global multi-disciplinary awards program. ... the marketplace, industry and judging panel. Winners will be ...
(Date:4/9/2015)... , April 9, 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... solutions, announced today that it will report financial results ... April 23, 2015, after the close of market. The ... and investors at 2:00 p.m. PT (5:00 p.m. ET), ... To participate on the live call, analysts and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Huntington Memorial Hospital Becomes First in the San Gabriel Valley to Offer Patients a New Heart Failure Monitoring Solution 2Huntington Memorial Hospital Becomes First in the San Gabriel Valley to Offer Patients a New Heart Failure Monitoring Solution 3NXT-ID's Wocket Smart Wallet Nominated for 2015 New York Design Awards in 'Product Design- Technology' 2NXT-ID's Wocket Smart Wallet Nominated for 2015 New York Design Awards in 'Product Design- Technology' 3Synaptics to Report Third Quarter Results on April 23 2
(Date:4/28/2015)... April 28, 2015  US-Australian drug discovery company, Novogen ... it received a letter from NASDAQ informing it that ... 5550(b) (Listing Rule). In November 2014, ... the Company to submit a plan to regain compliance ... minimum of $2,500,000 in stockholders, equity as of June ...
(Date:4/28/2015)... 28, 2015 IMS is releasing ... it to the web and provide greater accessibility ... friendly reporting metrics increase data warehouse’s utility; plus, ... recall and access “on-the-go” makes data analysis even ... client feedback to assist in repository analytics and ...
(Date:4/28/2015)... 2015 Spartan Bioscience today announced that ... selected by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce as one ... was selected from over 240 applicants based on his ... to Spartan, Dr. Lem founded Plexagen Diagnostics, and also ... holds a Medical Degree from the University of Ottawa, ...
(Date:4/27/2015)... - iCo Therapeutics ("iCo" or "the Company") (TSX-V: ICO) ... year ended December 31, 2014. Amounts, unless specified ... under International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"). ... provide the outcome management and investors had hoped ... Therapeutics", said Andrew Rae , President & ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Novogen Regains Full Compliance with NASDAQ Listing Rule 2Novogen Regains Full Compliance with NASDAQ Listing Rule 3Spartan Bioscience Announces Paul Lem Named Ottawa’s Top 40 Under 40 2iCo Therapeutics Announces Year End 2014 Financial Results 2iCo Therapeutics Announces Year End 2014 Financial Results 3iCo Therapeutics Announces Year End 2014 Financial Results 4
Cached News: