Pollination effectiveness in a generalist plant: adding the genetic component

New Phytol. 2019 Jul;223(1):354-365. doi: 10.1111/nph.15743. Epub 2019 Mar 12.


The pollination effectiveness of a flower visitor has traditionally been measured as the product of a quantity component that depends on the frequency of interaction and a quality component that measures the per-visit effects on plant reproduction. We propose that this could be complemented with a genetic component informing about each pollinator's contribution to the genetic diversity and composition of the plant progeny. We measured the quantity and quality components of effectiveness of most pollinator functional groups of the generalist herb Erysimum mediohispanicum. We used 10 microsatellite markers to calculate the genetic component as the diversity of sires among siblings and included it into the calculation of the pollination effectiveness. Functional groups varied in the quantity and quality components, which were shown to be decoupled. Functional groups also differed in the genetic component. This component changed the estimates of pollination effectiveness, increasing the differences between some functional groups and modifying the pollination effectiveness landscape. We demonstrate that including the genetic component in the calculation of the pollination effectiveness may allow a more complete quantification of the contribution of each pollinator to the reproductive success of a plant, providing information on its mating patterns and long-term fitness.

Keywords: Erysimum mediohispanicum; effectiveness landscape; generalist pollination system; multiple paternity; pollination effectiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Erysimum / genetics*
  • Erysimum / physiology*
  • Insecta / physiology
  • Pollination / genetics*