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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Department of Plant Systematics: Angiosperm Working Group - Prof. Dr. Sigrid Liede-Schumann

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Dötterl, S; Jürgens, A; Wolfe, Lorne W; Weißbecker, B; Schütz, S: Is a nursery pollinator influencing the flower scent of its main host plant?, Entomologentagung in Dresden der DGaaE (2005)
Floral scents are important signals for chemical communication between plants and animal pollinators. Scent is particularly important in night-blooming species when visual cues become inefficient due to darkness as in nocturnal Silene latifolia Poiret (Caryophyllaceae). S. latifolia is a dioecious European native perennial and was accidentally introduced to North America about 200 years ago, and has subsequently spread throughout most of the continent. Main pollinators in Europe as well as in North America are different nocturnal Lepidoptera. However, the nursery pollinator Hadena bicruris Hufnagel can only be found in Europe. H. bicruris has dramatic effects on the fitness of its host plant and is responsible for the destruction of about 25% of all S. latifolia fruits produced. We collected floral scent of different European and North American populations using dynamic headspace methods, compared the scent profile of different populations and determined the variability in floral scent. Additionally, we tested extracts of different plant populations in GC-EAD analyses with H. bicruris to identify electrophysiologically active compounds. We found in Europe as well as in North America a high variability in flower scent. Interestingly, the variability of EAD-active and inactive compounds was the same in North America, but in Europe, variability of EAD-active compounds was higher than variability of inactive compounds indicating directional natural selection.
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