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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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Carmen Martinell, M; Dötterl, S; Blanché, C; Rovira, A; Massó, S; Bosch, M: Nocturnal pollination of the endemic Silene sennenii (Caryophyllaceae): an endangered mutualism?, Plant Ecology, 211, 203-218 (2010)
Silene sennenii is an extremely narrow endemic species from the north-eastern Iberian Peninsula, with only five populations. Its habitat, severely affected by urban, industrial, and agricultural land use, is highly vulnerable, and makes of S. sennenii, a seriously endangered taxon. Its pollination ecology is studied and compared among populations. Flowers of S. sennenii are distinguished by several morphological and physiological characters, including night emission of scent, which are related to nocturnal pollination. Although visited by insects at night and during day, selective insect exclusion experiments show that this plant is pollinated mainly at night. However, differences among populations are observed in visitation rates and reproductive success, which indicates that the system composed by the plant and its pollinators show evidences of disruption in some populations. The causes and consequences of this disruption are analyzed, with a focus on differences in population size, habitat quality, and genetic diversity. The results are discussed from the perspective of the vulnerability of established mutualisms, and the consequences for the survival of the species.
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