Pollinators and Paternity... How effective are pollinators are moving pollen about.
Pollinator effectiveness: In many plant species, pollinators are the main agents for the dispersal of genetic material within and between populations. Pollinators vary in foraging ranges, the number of flowers they visit in one feeding bout, and the distance they travel between bouts, all factors which will determine the number and diversity of pollen they carry, and therefore genetic material they distribute. Clarkia breweri and Clarkia concinna are Californian endemic species in the Onagraceae family. These sister species differ in major pollinators, providing an ideal opportunity to study pollinator effects on genetic diversity and inbreeding levels. For this project we have bagged flowers to prevent visits, then while we watched the plants we allowed a single species visit the flower. We collected stigma so we can count the number of pollen grains deposited and then we collected seed from the flower. A student will use paternity analysis to measure the number of different dads that are present in the resulting seedlings. This project has a molecular component but can be expanded to include field work depending on student interest.