The role of pollinators in flower evolution: Stylar polymorphisms and phenotypic integration.

MEC-DGCYT CGL2006-13847-CO2-02

The general aim of this project is to study the effect of pollinator shifts on morphological variations of flowers, at population and species levels, taking into account phylogenetic effects. From all possible flower variations, two types are selected which represent a wide array of cases: a discrete and sex polymorphism (heterostyly and related cases), and another continuous and affecting perianth (variation in phenotypic integration). To address these aims, two study cases are selected: Lithodora (heterostyly) and Petrocoptis (flower integration). An ongoing study on the fitting of reproductive biology of Lithodora (Boraginaceae) to Lloyd & Webb's hypothesis of the evolution of heterostyly will be continued to have a comprehensive survey of all taxa in the genus, and phylogenetic relationships will be resolved in order to reconstruct evolutionary transitions of stylar polymorphism and related traits. Also, we will take advantage of available information on the reproductive biology of Petrocoptis (Caryophyllaceae) species and we will record new information to test if patterns of phenotypic flower integration are relaxed as a consequence of the effect of differently specialized insects acting in different species, or even due to the virtual lack of pollinators.

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