New paper published: Kin discrimination allows plants to modify investment towards pollinator attraction

Two Evoflor’s members (José María Gómez and Rubén Torices) in collaboration with John Pannell from University of Lausanne have recently published a paper in Nature Communications showing that the self-incompatible monocarpic Moricandia moricandioides can adjust its flowering behaviour to the surrounding intraspecific social environment.

Moricandia moricandiodes’ flowers (Picture from Lucía DeSoto)

Individuals growing with kin, particularly at high density, produced larger floral displays than those growing with non-kin. Investment in attracting pollinators was thus moulded by the presence and relatedness of neighbours, exemplifying the importance of kin recognition in the evolution of plant reproductive strategies. Therefore, this study now provides evidence that investment towards attracting pollinators includes a component of neighbour relatedness, a necessary consequence of the fine spatial genetic structure of plant populations.

In addition, these results suggest that floral strategies might have also been shaped by selection through their indirect effects on inclusive fitness, i.e., through the success of relatives. This possibility was foreshadowed by Hamilton and has long been appreciated by zoologists.

Read the whole story in Nature Communications:

Torices, Rubén; Gómez, José M.; Pannell, John. 2018. Kin discrimination allows plants to modify investment towards pollinator attraction. Nature Communications, 9:2018. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04378-3