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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; Vereecken, NJ: The chemical ecology and evolution of bee-flower interactions: a review and perspectives, Canadian Journal of Zoology, 88, 668-697 (2010)
Bees and angiosperms have shared a long and intertwined evolutionary history and their interactions have resulted in remarkable adaptations. Yet, at a time when the ‘‘pollination crisis’’ is of major concern as natural populations of both wild and honey bees (Apis mellifera L., 1758) face alarming decline rates at a worldwide scale, there are important gaps in our understanding of the ecology and evolution of bee–flower interactions. In this review, we summarize and discuss the current knowledge about the role of floral chemistry versus other communication channels in bee-pollinated flowering plants, both at the macro- and micro-evolutionary levels, and across the specialization–generalization gradient. The available data illustrate that floral scents and floral chemistry have been largely overlooked in bee–flower interactions, and that pollination studies integrating these components along with pollinator behaviour in a phylogenetic context will help gain considerable insights into the sensory ecology and the evolution of bees and their associated flowering plants.
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