Abstract Detail

Reproductive Processes

León-Osper, Melissa [1], Meslow, Elaine [2], Narbona, Eduardo [3], Arista, Montserrat [4], Ortiz, Pedro [4], del Valle, Jose Carlos [5], Buide, Marisa [6], Twadell, Kaitlyn [2], Whittall, Justen [7].

Red Flowers from California and Spain.

Flower color frequencies are remarkably similar across floras around the world. Even though these floras are composed of distinct plant taxa and have unique pollinator faunas (the primary driver of flower color diversity), human perceived pink, yellow and white flowers predominate. How do independently assembled floras converge on similar distributions of flower colors? Are they similar in the eyes of their pollinators? What pigments underlie these astounding similarities? We predict that flower color frequencies represent finely tuned petal reflectance spectra determined by the wavelengths best discriminated by their predominant pollinators. Herein, we compare floras from regions with similar climate and vegetation types, but that have independently assembled floras and pollinator faunas with unique composition (notable absence of hummingbirds in Spain). We analyzed standardized digital images and reflectance spectra across the visible and UV wavelengths for approximately 400 species from each region. We interpret these spectra in light of the visual system of the major pollinator guilds including hymenopterans, dipterans, coleopterans, lepidopterans, and hummingbirds to estimate perceived color differences and conspicuousness. Specifically, we investigated the effects of different light environments, background contrasts, floral guides on flower color frequencies, intraspecific color polymorphisms and within individual developmental changes in flower color (i.e. “petal blushing”). In order to discern the underlying pigments conferring the diversity of flower colors in these floras, we analyzed the pigment composition of each flower using acidified methanol and acetone extracts on a plate reader across the UV and visible wavelengths. This approach allows us to discriminate among chlorophylls, carotenoids, betalains, UV-absorbing flavonoids, aurones/chalcones, and anthocyanins. Our multi-scale approach to quantifying flower colors across the floras of California and Spain promise to reveal the degree of pollinator-perceived similarity and the degree of convergence in the underlying pigments responsible for these diverse palettes of flower colors.

1 - Universidad Pablo De Olavide, Biología Molecular E Ingeniería Bioquímica, Carretera De Utrera Km 1, Seville, 41013, Spain
2 - Santa Clara University, Biology Department, Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA, 95053, United States
3 - Universidad Pablo De Olavide (CIF: Q9150016E), Biología Molecular E Ingeniería Bioquímica, Carretera De Utrera Km 1, Seville, 41013, Spain
4 - University Of Seville, Vegetal Biology And Ecology, Apdo. 1095, Sevilla, SE, 41080, Spain
5 - University Of Seville, Apdo. 1095, Sevilla, SE, 41080, Spain
6 - Ctra. De Utrera, Km 1, Sevilla, 41013, Spain
7 - Santa Clara University, 500 El Camino Real, 500 El Camino Real, Biology Department, Santa Clara, CA, 95053, United States

community assembly
flower color polymorphisms
non-pollinator agents of selection
Pollinator attraction
UV digital images.

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PRP004
Abstract ID:401
Candidate for Awards:Phytochemical Best Poster Award

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