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Abstract Detail

Studying Plant Pollinator Interactions in Changing Environments: Approaches, Lessons and Future Directions

Bell, Karen Leanne [1], Brosi, Berry J. [1], Burgess, Kevin [2].

Applying pollen DNA metabarcoding to the study of plant pollinator interactions.

Pollination networks are typically constructed with visitation data, i.e. recording of visual observations of flower visits. Prior work has confirmed the advantages of an alternate approach: identifying pollen carried by flower visitors, which integrates information from multiple flower visits by each visitor and thus can allow for better-resolved networks with less field time. The major shortcoming of this approach, however, is that traditional microscopic identification of pollen is slow, of limited taxonomic resolution, and requires extensive expertise and training. An alternative means of pollen identification, DNA barcoding, could potentially enhance the speed and the accuracy of pollen identification using techniques common to almost any basic molecular biology lab. Several recent studies have demonstrated proof-of-concept for pollen DNA metabarcoding. Pollen in mixed-species samples can be identified through mixed-amplicon sequencing of standard DNA barcoding markers (e.g. chloroplast rbcLa or ribosomal ITS2) on the Illumina MiSeq platform. In this presentation, we apply these recently fine-tuned DNA metabarcoding methods to the construction of pollination networks from bee-carried pollen in managed forest ecosystems in the southeastern USA. We also make specific recommendations for using these methods in the study of pollination networks, based on our results, including the use of more PCR cycles to account for small pollen grain counts on many pollinators. Further advances in this work, such as standardization of the bioinformatics pipeline, and development of methods to allow quantification of species proportions, would increase the use of these methods in the study of plant-pollinator interactions.

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1 - Emory University, Environmental Sciences, 400 Dowman Drive, Level 5, Atlanta, GA, 30322, USA
2 - Columbus State University, Biology, 4225 University Ave., Columbus, GA, 31907, USA

DNA metabarcoding
High-Throughput Sequencing
Next generation sequencing.

Presentation Type: Symposium Presentation
Session: SY08, Studying plant pollinator interactions in changing environments: approaches, lessons and future directions
Location: Chatham Ballroom - C/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Time: 4:15 PM
Number: SY08007
Abstract ID:706
Candidate for Awards:None

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