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Journal Articles AoB Plants Year : 2020

Below-ground competition alters attractiveness of an insect-pollinated plant to pollinators


Competitive interactions between plants can affect patterns of allocation to reproductive structures through modulation of resource availability. As floral traits involved in plant attractiveness to pollinators can be sensitive to these resources, competition with any neighbouring species may influence the attractiveness of insect-pollinated plants. While pollination research has primarily focused on above-ground interactions, this study aims at investigating if the presence of a competitor plant can modulate neighbouring insect-pollinated plant attractiveness to pollinators and resulting fecundity, especially through below-ground competitive interactions for soil resources. We set up a plot experiment in which we grew an insect-pollinated plant, Sinapis alba (Brassicaceae), in a mixture dominated by a wind-pollinated plant, Holcus lanatus (Poaceae). Individuals of S. alba were either subjected to or isolated from (with buried tubes in the soil) below-ground competition. Across the flowering season, floral traits involved in attractiveness of S. alba and pollinator visitation were followed at the plot and plant level to investigate different scales of attractiveness. At the end of the experiment, seeds were harvested to assess plant fecundity. Competition had a significant negative effect on plot and plant floral display size as well as flower size while nectar traits were not affected. When plants of S. alba were in competition, the time to first visit was altered: the proportion of plots that received a visit was smaller for a given time; in other words, it took more time for a given proportion of plots to be visited and some plots were even never visited. Moreover, pollinators made fewer visits per plots. The proportion of viable seeds produced by S. alba in competition was lower and probably linked to the competition itself rather than changes in pollinator visitation. This study suggests that competitive interactions between plants can modulate pollination interactions even when competing plant species are not insect-pollinated.
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hal-02895834 , version 1 (05-07-2023)



Floriane Flacher, Xavier Raynaud, Amandine Hansart, Benoit Geslin, Eric Motard, et al.. Below-ground competition alters attractiveness of an insect-pollinated plant to pollinators. AoB Plants, 2020, 12 (4), plaa022. ⟨10.1093/aobpla/plaa022⟩. ⟨hal-02895834⟩
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