Effects of Road Dust on the Pollination and Reproduction of Wildflowers
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Sch Nat Resources & Environm
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherUNIV CHICAGO PRESS
CitationEffects of Road Dust on the Pollination and Reproduction of Wildflowers 2017, 178 (2):85 International Journal of Plant Sciences
Rights© 2016 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
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AbstractPremise of research. Dust particles and pollen grains are similar in size. Dust deposition might therefore influence the pollination and reproduction of flowering plants. Little is known about such effects, however, despite more general interest in ecological effects of dust. Methodology. We used observational and experimental methods to explore whether dust generated by traffic on unpaved roads affects the amounts of pollen received and numbers of seeds produced by four species of native wildflowers in the western United States. Pivotal results. Flowers of Nuttall's larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum), scarlet gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata), Lewis flax (Linumlewisii), and sulphur paintbrush (Castilleja sulphurea) growing 1-2mfrom a road received substantially more dust and less pollen than those growing 40-50 m away. We observed the same pattern when we transplanted individuals of the first two species into pots and placed pots near to compared with far from a road. Experimental "hand dusting" of scarlet gilia and Lewis flax plants also reduced stigma pollen loads to a degree that resembled the average effect of road proximity for those species. On the other hand, numbers of seeds per flower ("seed set") did not vary consistently for any species as a function of road proximity or hand-dusting treatment. Conclusions. Several mechanisms might contribute to the different effects of dust on pollen loads and seed set. Wediscuss four possible mechanisms, which we refer to as pollen excess, pollen quality, resource limitation, and compensatory herbivory. These mechanisms suggest avenues for further study of dust, pollination, and plant reproduction with this and other systems.
Note12 month embargo; ONLINE: Nov 23, 2016
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsRocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL); US National Science Foundation