In typically anemophilous families, there are species, such as Rhynchospora ciliata (Cyperaceae), in which both wind and insects have been registered as pollen vectors (ambophily). However, the contribution of each vector to pollination of ambophilous species can change under different environmental conditions. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the primary pollination system, abiotic or biotic, of R. ciliata, comparing wet and dry seasons. We tested the following hypotheses: (1) in dry months, wind is the main pollen vector of R. ciliata; (2) in wet months, insects will contribute more to the reproductive success of R. ciliata and compensate for low fruit formation by the abiotic vector. Our hypothesis was not confirmed. We found that higher wind speed can favor pollination by wind in R. ciliata even in wetter months. Because insects were less susceptible to environmental variation, they contributed more in dry months when wind speed was low, thus compensating for lower fruit set by wind. High rainfall and humidity can result in faster settling of pollen grains suspended in the air; however, rainfall does not prevent pollination by wind. Since individuals of R. ciliata are located near the edge of the forest, grouped quite close together, and as the inflorescence is located at the apex of the floral scape, wind can act as pollen vector and the inhibiting effects of rainfall can be minimized. The contribution of each pollen vector is important to the reproductive success of R. ciliata and the effectiveness of wind varies with local environmental conditions.
Plant Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 15, 2018
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