Mechanisms of pollen deposition by insect pollinators
Studies of pollen dispersal in insect-pollinated plants have often documented highly leptokurtic patterns of pollen deposition that can increase the likelihood of long-distance mating. To examine potential causes of highly leptokurtic deposition, we introduce four functions that arise when (1) the duration of pollinator visits to pollen sources is limited, (2) the rate of pollen deposition varies randomly among pollinators and/or among visits, (3) the rate of pollen deposition changes monotonically over time or (4) pollen is carried in layers or compartments on the pollinator's body that differ in deposition rate. Maximum likelihood techniques were used to fit deposition functions to data obtained from honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) visiting mustard plants (Brassica campestris L.) that contained a marker gene. Each of the alternative leptokurtic functions fit the experimental data better than a simple exponential function and the best-fit function predicted a mean pollen dispersal distance more than three times greater than the exponential. We argue that studies of pollen deposition need to test a broader range of deposition models to assess outcrossing distance in plant populations accurately. © 1995 Chapman & Hall.
Morris, WF; Mangel, M; Adler, FR
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