Girl Planting seeds

Interplay of pollinators and pests influences plant evolution

Brassica rapa plants pollinated by bumblebees evolve more attractive flowers. But this evolution is compromised if caterpillars attack the plant at the same time. As bees pollinate them less effectively, the plants increasingly self-pollinate. In a greenhouse evolution experiment, scientists at the University of Zurich have shown just how much the effects of pollinators and pests influence each other.  In nature, plants interact with a whole range of organisms, driving the evolution of their specific characteristics. While pollinators influence floral traits and reproduction, herbivorous insects enhance the plant's defense mechanisms. Now botanists at the University of Zurich have investigated the way these different interactions influence each other, and how rapidly plants adapt when the combination of selective agents with which they interact changes.  Read more....

 

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