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Abstract Detail


Ng, Molly [1], Specht, Chelsea [2], Smith, Selena [1].

Investigating a Heliconia (Heliconiaceae) plant-pollinator relationship using climatic niches.

Heliconia (Heliconiaceae; the lobster claw flower) and hummingbirds are thought to have coevolved through their pollination relationship. One relationship in particular has been well documented in the Lesser Antilles with two species of Heliconia, Heliconia bihai (L.) and H. caribaea (Lamarck), and the sexually dimorphic purple throated carib, Eulampis jugularis. Heliconia bihai and H. caribaea are closely related species with different, sometimes overlapping, distributions. Heliconia bihai ranges from Central America to Southern Brazil while H. caribaea are found across the Caribbean Islands. Heliconia bihai has red-orange bracts with a green or yellow margin and long curved perianths corresponding to the long recurved bill of female E. jugularis. Heliconia caribaea has red or yellow bracts and short straight perianths that correspond to the short straight bill of male E. jugularis. The most novel parts of this relationship are the changes in floral morphology in Heliconia species. On the island St. Lucia where red-bracted short-flowered H. caribaea are lacking, two varying floral morphologies of H. bihai have been observed: green-bracted long-curved flowers or a reddish-green bracted shorter and less curved flowers. Heliconia bihai are thought to compensate for the lack of H. caribaea by producing these two floral morphologies. Meanwhile, on the island of Dominica, H. caribaea takes on two differing floral morphologies, with either yellow or red bracts while H. bihai inflorescences have yellow-striped red bracts. The H. caribaea red morph has a longer and more curved flower to mimic H. bihai. Here, H. caribaea competes with H. bihai by offering a higher nectar concentration than H. bihai in their long-flowered morph. Ecological niche models (ENM) were used to compare fundamental and realized niches to determine the distribution of each species. Comparison of fundamental and realized niches could lead to implications of ecological or climatic controls of plant-pollinator relationships. ENMs were also used to investigate climatic niche similarities between (1) plants and their pollinator and (2) the closely related Heliconia species, H. bihai and H. caribaea. ENMs showed that the fundamental niches of H. bihai and H. caribaea were realized, yet E. jugularis shows a distribution that may be limited by geographic barriers, suggesting that the plant-pollination relationship is not so tightly linked. Additionally, ENMs showed that all species have similar climate variables that contribute to the ENM but the niches are not identical, which further supports that the plant-pollinator relationship is not so tightly linked.

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1 - University of Michigan, Earth and Environmental Sciences, 2534 CC Little Bldg, 1100 N University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1005, United States
2 - University Of California Berkeley, 111 Koshland Hall, MC 3102, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA

climatic niche

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Ecology Section Posters
Location: Exhibit Hall/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 6:15 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PEC036
Abstract ID:829
Candidate for Awards:None

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