Direct and indirect influences of climate on pollination and floral morphology

January 3 – Febuary 28, 2021

Meeting Abstract

P38-7  Sat Jan 2  Direct and indirect influences of climate on pollination and floral morphology Miladin, JR*; Steven, JC; Collar, DC; Christopher Newport University; Christopher Newport University; Christopher Newport University

Diversification of pollinator syndromes in plant lineages potentially involves the influence of both climate and pollinators. Colonization of new habitats during lineage evolution may result in shifts in pollinator community that drive adaptive changes in floral morphology. Habitat shifts may also lead to changes in climatic niche, and floral traits may change in response to new abiotic conditions. To evaluate these influences on flower evolution, we tested associations between environmental niche variables and vegetative and floral morphology in the genus Silene using phylogenetic comparative methods. We collected DNA sequence and morphological data for 70 Silene species; 17 species were collected from the field in Greece, and 53 species from the same taxonomic sections were added with data from Genbank and morphological measurements of herbarium specimens. We estimated phylogeny based on Bayesian analysis and used GBIF occurrence records to determine climatic niche for each species. Flower color—white or pink—was used as a proxy for pollinator. We found that species with white flowers tend to experience a narrower temperature range during the day and exhibit longer internodes and larger flowers. These results suggest that abiotic conditions restrict nocturnal pollination. In addition, we found links between leaf morphology and climate; smaller leaves are associated with habitats that have greater mean temperatures and less precipitation in the summer. But these associations were not apparent for floral morphology. Altogether, our results suggest that abiotic habitat directly influences vegetative morphology, but its effects on flower morphology are likely mediated through shifts in pollinator community.

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