Pollination Biology of High-Mountain Plants

Pollination Biology of High-Mountain Plants

Sexual plants are either outcrosser, inbreeder or show a mixed mating system. Mountain plants, though in many cases self compatible to a variable degree, often promote outcrossing, e.g. by dichogamy. Outcrossers depend on pollinating insects the activity of which is often limited in the harsh mountain climate.  Thus, pollinator activity affects both the reproductive success (depending on frequency and efficiency of pollinators) and the genetic variability within a population (depending on the action radius of pollinators).
In a current study, kind, efficiency and flying distances of pollinators are determined on selected plant species in an alpine and in a subnival environment. Research questions are:

  • By which insects are the plants visited, and at which frequency?
  • What is the pollen load of the pollinating insects?
  • How far do insects carry pollen?   
  • How long has a flower to be exposed to reach the maximal female fitness?
  • Can the hypothesis be confirmed that the pollinator frequency decreases with altitude?   

 Personnel involved
Martin Lechleitner (Master Thesis)
Johanna Wagner

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