Floral evolution: breeding systems, pollinators, and beyond

Lucy Nevard, Andrew Baxter Reid, Jeremy Gibson, James Windmill, Mario Vallejo-Marin

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Buzz pollination is a phenomenon whereby flowers require vibration by insects to release pollen through pores at the anther tips. It occurs in over 20,000 plant species, including some economically important crops. Buzz-pollinated plants have complex floral morphologies, in which enlarged anthers serve as the main organ for interacting with buzzing pollinators (usually bees). Despite a long-standing interest in buzz pollination, we know relatively little about how anther morphology affects the release of pollen by buzz pollinators. Here, we analyse the ultrastructure of buzz-pollinated flowers using high-resolution X-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) of six Solanum (Solanaceae) taxa. These taxa have flowers that vary markedly in anther morphology and overall size. Using measurements obtained from micro-CT scans, we compared anther morphology in closely related species with different reproductive strategies, and documented how pollen is stored inside the anthers. We speculate on how anther morphology, including anther traits, may modulate the response of flowers to the vibrations produced by bees during buzz pollination.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2018
EventII Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology - Montpellier, France
Duration: 19 Aug 201822 Aug 2018


ConferenceII Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology
Abbreviated titleEvolution 2018
Internet address


  • buzz pollination
  • crops
  • anther morphology
  • micro-CT


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