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Does pollination efficiency depend on the morphological fit between pollen flowers and bumblebees in a legume species?

Grant number: 20/09090-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2021
Effective date (End): January 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany
Principal Investigator:Anselmo Nogueira
Grantee:Bruna Campos Barbosa
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Naturais e Humanas (CCNH). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/19544-7 - Synergistic effect of multiple mutualists on plants: how bacteria, ants and bees contribute to the evolution of a hyper-diverse lineage of legumes, AP.BTA.JP


There are about 20,000 species of angiosperms that offer pollen as the only floral resource to pollinators. These plants have "pollen flowers with pollen grains enclosed in poricidal anthers only released when female bees vibrate the androecium of flowers. Occasionally the buzz pollination occurs when female bees touch the stigma during flower vibration. The relative position between the sexual organs of the flower and the behavioral and physical features of pollinator, such as its body size, are decisive for the success of pollination. More than that, the role of the body size variation within species acting as pollinators are much less explored in the literature. Bees of the genus Bombus vary in size up to 10 times, with a division of labor within the colony related to the size of the bees, and consequently with variation in the pollination service. This work aims to investigate the morphological coupling between the bumblebee Bombus morio and pollen flowers of Chamaecrista desvauxii var. latistipula (Fabaceae). More specifically, we will explore the role of the intraspecific variation of the body size of bumblebees to the pollination efficiency of pollen flowers, considering the quantitative (e.g., pollen deposited in stigma) and qualitative (e.g., fruit formation) components of pollination efficiency. To do this, we will conduct experiments of the single visit of bumblebees on flowers of C. desvauxii. Also, to obtain the morphological coupling measurement between bees and flowers, we will use a coupling index proposed by Solís-Montero & Vallejo-Marín (2017).

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