Subscribe: Annals of Botany - current issue
http://aob.oxfordjournals.org/rss/current.xml
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
Tags:
abstractbackground aims  abstractbackground  cell  floral  key results  key  leaf  plant  populations  size  species  study  traits 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Annals of Botany - current issue

Annals of Botany Current Issue





Published: Thu, 09 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2017 02:47:25 GMT

 



Content Snapshots

2017-11-09




Morphology, adaptation and speciation

2017-11-09

Abstract
The study of plant evolution and development in a phylogenetic context has accelerated research advances in both areas over the last decade. The addition of a robust phylogeny for plant taxa based on DNA as well as morphology has given a strong context for this research. Genetics and genomics, including sequencing of many genes, and a better understanding of non-genetic, responsive changes, by plants have increased knowledge of how the different body forms of plants have arisen. Here, I overview the papers in this Special Issue of Annals of Botany on Morphological Adaptation, bringing together a range of papers that link phylogeny and morphology. These lead to models of development and functional adaptation across a range of plant systems, with implications for ecology and ecosystems, as well as development and evolution.



Shoot apical meristem and plant body organization: a cross-species comparative study

2017-11-09

Abstract
Background and Aims
The shoot apical meristem (SAM) is the key organizing element in the plant body and is responsible for the core of plant body organization and shape. Surprisingly, there are almost no comparative data that would show links between parameters of the SAM and whole-plant traits as drivers of the plant’s response to the environment.
Methods
Interspecific differences in SAM anatomy were examined in 104 perennial herbaceous angiosperms.
Key Results
There were differences in SAM parameters among individual species, their phylogenetic patterns, and how their variation is linked to variation in plant above-ground organs and hence species’ environmental niches. SAM parameters were correlated with the size-related traits of leaf area, seed mass and stem diameter. Of the two key SAM parameters (cell size and number), variation in all organ traits was linked more strongly to cell number, with cell size being important only for seed mass. Some of these correlations were due to shared phylogenetic history (e.g. SAM diameter versus stem diameter), whereas others were due to parallel evolution (e.g. SAM cell size and seed mass).
Conclusion
These findings show that SAM parameters provide a functional link among sizes and numbers of plant organs, constituting species’ environmental responses.



Floral morphology and anatomy of Ophiocaryon , a paedomorphic genus of Sabiaceae

2017-10-25

Abstract
Background and Aims
Ophiocaryon is a lesser known genus in Sabiaceae. This study examines flowers of six Ophiocaryon species in comparison with Meliosmaalba, to identify taxonomically informative characters for understanding relationships within the family Sabiaceae, to imply previously unknown pollination mechanisms of Ophiocaryon, and to contribute to the placement of Sabiaceae within the early-diverging eudicots.
Methods
Floral morphology and anatomy of six Ophiocaryon species and M. alba were studied and described using scanning electron microscopy, clearing techniques and resin sectioning.
Key Results
Novel characters of Ophiocaryon were identified, e.g. conical cells on petals, different kinds of orbicules in anthers, stomata on nectary appendage tips and ovary, two distinct surface patterns on stamens and ovary, tanniferous cell layers in the ovary wall, and acorn-shaped unitegmic ovules with very short integuments. Comparison of floral characters between Ophiocaryon and Meliosma found that the calyx, corolla, androecium and gynoecium of Ophiocaryon resemble an undeveloped state of the latter taxon, reflecting a paedomorphic regression of the flower of Ophiocaryon. The flower morphology and anatomy of Ophiocaryon was compared with its putative sister species M. alba, but no clear shared derived characters could be detected. Moreover, the findings of scent, presence of conical cells on petals and a nectary suggest flowers are pollinated by small insects with a secondary pollen presentation on the cupula of fertile stamens.
Conclusions
We found that Ophiocaryon may be derived from ancestors that were similar to extant Meliosma in their flower structure and pollination mechanism. However, the lack of shared derived characters between Ophiocaryon and its phylogenetic sister group M. alba is puzzling and requires further investigations on the diversity of the latter species.



Symplasmic and apoplasmic transport inside feather moss stems of Pleurozium schreberi and Hylocomium splendens

2017-09-28

Abstract
Background and Aims
The ubiquitous feather mosses Pleurozium schreberi and Hylocomium splendens form a thick, continuous boundary layer between the soil and the atmosphere, and play important roles in hydrology and nutrient cycling in tundra and boreal ecosystems. The water fluxes among these mosses and environmental factors controlling them are poorly understood. The aim of this study was to investigate whether feather mosses are capable of internal transport and to provide a better understanding of species-specific morphological traits underlying this function. The impacts of environmental conditions on their internal transport rates were also investigated
Methods
Cells involved in water and food conduction in P. schreberi and H. splendens were identified by transmission electron microscopy. Symplasmic and apoplasmic fluorescent tracers were applied to the moss stems to determine the routes of internal short- and long-distance transport and the impact of air humidity on the transport rates.
Key Results
Symplasmic transport over short distances occurs via food-conducting cells in both mosses. Pleurozium schreberi is also capable of apoplasmic internal long-distance transport via a central strand of hydroids. These are absent in H. splendens. Reduced air humidity significantly increased the internal transport of both species, and the increase was significantly faster for P. schreberi than for H. splendens.
Conclusions
Pleurozium schreberi and Hylocomium splendens are capable of internal transport but the pathway and conductivity differ due to differences in stem anatomy. These results help explain their varying desiccation tolerance and possibly their differing physiology and autecology and, ultimately, their impact on ecosystem functioning.



Ecological correlates and genetic consequences of evolutionary transitions from distyly to homostyly

2017-09-15

Abstract
Background and Aims
The outbreeding floral polymorphism heterostyly frequently breaks down, resulting in the evolution of self-fertilization as a result of homostyle formation. Here, the loss of floral polymorphism in distylous Primula oreodoxa, a sub-alpine species restricted to western Sichuan, China, was examined by investigating the ecological correlates and genetic consequences of mating system transitions. Several key questions were addressed. (1) What are the frequencies, geographical distribution and reproductive characteristics of floral morphs in distylous and homostylous populations? (2) Does increased elevation influence pollinator service and the likelihood of inbreeding in populations? (3) How often has homostyly originated and what are the consequences of the breakdown of distyly for the amounts and distribution of genetic diversity in populations?
Methods
Fourteen populations throughout the range of P. oreodoxa were sampled, and morph frequencies and floral characteristics were recorded. Polymorphism at microsatellite loci and chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) variation were used to quantify population genetic structure and genetic relationships among populations. Controlled pollinations and studies of pollen tube growth and fertility were conducted to determine the compatibility status of populations and their facility for autonomous self-pollination. Finally, visitation rates of long- and short-tongued pollinators to distylous and homostylous populations at different elevations were compared to determine if increased elevation was associated with deterioration in pollinator service.
Key Results
In contrast to most heterostylous species, both distylous and homostylous morphs of P. oreodoxa are highly self-compatible, but only homostyles have the facility for autonomous self-pollination. Homostyles set significantly more fruit and seeds following open pollination than the distylous morphs. Visitation by long-tongued pollinators was significantly lower in homostylous populations, and overall rates of insect visitation decreased with elevation. Genetic diversity was significantly lower in homostylous populations, with evidence of increased inbreeding at higher elevation. Patterns of cpDNA variation were consistent with multiple transitions from distyly to homostyly and limited gene flow among populations.
Conclusions
The results of this study support the hypothesis that the multiple loss of floral polymorphism in distylous P. oreodoxa is associated with unsatisfactory pollinator service, with homostyles benefiting from reproductive assurance as a result of autonomous self-pollination.



The relationship between nectaries and floral architecture: a case study in Geraniaceae and Hypseocharitaceae

2017-09-14

Abstract
Background and Aims
Flowers of Geraniaceae and Hypseocharitaceae are generally considered as morphologically simple. However, previous studies indicated complex diversity in floral architecture including tendencies towards synorganization. Most of the species have nectar-rewarding flowers which makes the nectaries a key component of floral organization and architecture. Here, the development of the floral nectaries is studied and placed into the context of floral architecture.
Methods
Seven species from Geraniaceae and one from Hypseocharitaceae were investigated using scanning electron microscopy and light microscopy. Samples were prepared and processed using standard protocols.
Key Results
The development of the nectary glands follows the same trajectory in all species studied. Minor differences occur in the onset of nectarostomata development. The most striking finding is the discovery that a short anthophore develops via intercalary growth at the level of the nectary glands. This anthophore lifts up the entire flower apart from the nectary gland itself and thus plays an important role in floral architecture, especially in the flowers of Pelargonium. Here, the zygomorphic flowers show a particularly extensive receptacular growth, resulting in the formation of a spur-like receptacular cavity (‘inner spur’). The nectary gland is hidden at the base of the cavity. Various forms of compartmentalization, culminating in the ‘revolver flower’ of Geranium maderense, are described.
Conclusions
Despite the superficial similarity of the flowers in Geraniaceae and Hypseocharitaceae, there is broad diversity in floral organization and floral architecture. While the receptacular origin of the spur-like cavity in Pelargonium had already been described, anthophore formation via intercalary growth of the receptacle in the other genera had not been previously documented. In the context of the most recent phylogenies of the families, an evolutionary series for the floral architecture is proposed, underscoring the importance of synorganization in these seemingly simple flowers.



The velamen radicum is common among terrestrial monocotyledons

2017-09-07

Abstract
Background
The velamen radicum, a spongy and usually multiple-layered root epidermis composed of dead cells at maturity, is a textbook example of an adaptation that is typically associated with epiphytic orchids.
Scope
Based on an extensive literature review, the occurrence of this structure was documented in approximately 240 genera of terrestrial monocotyledons (162 orchid and 74 non-orchid genera) and in one genus of dicotyledons. Mapping this character on a phylogenetic tree reveals that a velamen is found throughout the monocotyledons, ranging from members of early-branching Araceae to derived Cyperaceae.
Conclusion
The current depiction of the velamen radicum in angiosperms and its almost exclusive association with the epiphytic lifestyle in orchids is misleading, which inevitably leads to a biased view of its evolution and function. The findings propose a re-evaluation of the occurrence, evolution and function of the velamen radicum in both terrestrial and epiphytic angiosperms.



Trade-offs between seed and leaf size (seed–phytomer–leaf theory): functional glue linking regenerative with life history strategies … and taxonomy with ecology?

2017-07-27

Abstract
Background and Aims While the ‘worldwide leaf economics spectrum’ (Wright IJ, Reich PB, Westoby M, et al. 2004. The worldwide leaf economics spectrum. Nature428: 821–827) defines mineral nutrient relationships in plants, no unifying functional consensus links size attributes. Here, the focus is upon leaf size, a much-studied plant trait that scales positively with habitat quality and components of plant size. The objective is to show that this wide range of relationships is explicable in terms of a seed–phytomer–leaf (SPL) theoretical model defining leaf size in terms of trade-offs involving the size, growth rate and number of the building blocks (phytomers) of which the young shoot is constructed.Methods Functional data for 2400+ species and English and Spanish vegetation surveys were used to explore interrelationships between leaf area, leaf width, canopy height, seed mass and leaf dry matter content (LDMC).Key Results Leaf area was a consistent function of canopy height, LDMC and seed mass. Additionally, size traits are partially uncoupled. First, broad laminas help confer competitive exclusion while morphologically large leaves can, through dissection, be functionally small. Secondly, leaf size scales positively with plant size but many of the largest-leaved species are of medium height with basally supported leaves. Thirdly, photosynthetic stems may represent a functionally viable alternative to ‘small seeds + large leaves’ in disturbed, fertile habitats and ‘large seeds + small leaves’ in infertile ones.Conclusions Although key elements defining the juvenile growth phase remain unmeasured, our results broadly support SPL theory in that phytometer and leaf size are a product of the size of the initial shoot meristem (≅ seed mass) and the duration and quality of juvenile growth. These allometrically constrained traits combine to confer ecological specialization on individual species. Equally, they appear conservatively expressed within major taxa. Thus, ‘evolutionary canalization’ sensu Stebbins (Stebbins GL. 1974. Flowering plants: evolution above the species level. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press) is perhaps associated with both seed and leaf development, and major taxa appear routinely specialized with respect to ecologically important size-related traits.



Sex-specific morphological and physiological differences in the moss Ceratodon purpureus (Dicranales)

2017-07-10

Abstract
Background and Aims Dioecy and sexual dimorphism occur in many terrestrial plant species but are especially widespread among the bryophytes. Despite the prevalence of dioecy in non-vascular plants, surprisingly little is known about how fine-scale sex-specific cell and leaf morphological traits are correlated with sex-specific physiology and population sex ratios. Such data are critical to understanding the inter-relationship between sex-specific morphological and physiological characters and how their relationship influences population structure. In this study, these data types were assessed to determine how they vary across three populations within one moss species and whether fine-scale morphological traits scale up to physiological and sex ratio characteristics.Methods Twenty cell-, leaf- and canopy-level traits and two photochemical measurements were compared between sexes and populations of the dioecious moss Ceratodon purpureus. Field population-expressed sex ratios were obtained for the same populations.Key Results Male and female plants differed in cell, leaf and photochemical measures. These sexual dimorphisms were female biased, with females having larger and thicker leaves and greater values for chlorophyll fluorescence-based, leaf photochemistry measurements than males. Female traits were also more variable than male traits. Interestingly, field population sex ratios were significantly male biased in two study populations and female biased in the third study population.Conclusions The results demonstrate that the larger morphology and the greater physiological output of female C. purpureus gametophytes compared with males occurs across populations and is likely to have significant effects on resource allocation and biotic interactions. However, this high level of dimorphism does not explain population sex ratio variation in the three study populations tested. This research lays the groundwork for future studies on how differential sex-specific variation in cell and leaf traits influences bryophyte plant fitness.



Cell wall changes during the formation of aerenchyma in sugarcane roots

2017-07-04

Abstract
Background and Aims Aerenchyma develops in different plant organs and leads to the formation of intercellular spaces that can be used by the plant to transport volatile substances. Little is known about the role of cell walls in this process, although the mechanism of aerenchyma formation is known to involve programmed cell death and some cell wall modifications. We assessed the role that cell wall-related mechanisms might play in the formation of aerenchyma in sugarcane roots.Methods Sections of roots (5 cm) were subjected to microtomography analysis. These roots were divided into 1-cm segments and subjected to cell wall fractionation. We performed analyses of monosaccharides, oligosaccharides and lignin and glycome profiling. Sections were visualized by immunofluorescence and immunogold labelling using selected monoclonal antibodies against polysaccharide epitopes according to the glycome profiles.Key Results During aerenchyma formation, gas spaces occupied up to 40 % of the cortex cross-section within the first 5 cm of the root. As some of the cortex cells underwent dissolution of the middle lamellae, leading to cell separation, cell expansion took place along with cell death. Mixed-linkage β-glucan was degraded along with some homogalacturonan and galactan, culminating in the formation of cell wall composites made of xyloglucan, arabinoxylans, cellulose and possibly lignin.Conclusion The composites formed seem to play a role in the physical–chemical properties of the gas chambers, providing mechanical resistance to forces acting upon the root and at the same time decreasing permeability to gases.



Phylogeny of the ‘orchid-like’ bladderworts (gen. Utricularia sect. Orchidioides and Iperua : Lentibulariaceae) with remarks on the stolon–tuber system

2017-06-30

Abstract
Background and Aims The ‘orchid-like’ bladderworts (Utricularia) comprise 15 species separated into two sections: Orchidioides and Iperua. These robust and mostly epiphytic species were originally grouped within the section Orchidioides by the first taxonomical systems. These species were later split into two sections when sect. Iperua was proposed. Due to the lack of strong evidence based on a robust phylogenetic perspective, this study presents a phylogenetic proposal based on four different DNA sequences (plastid and nuclear) and morphology to test the monophyly of the two sections.Methods In comparison with all previous phylogenetic studies, the largest number of species across the sections was covered: 11 species from sections Orchidioides and Iperua with 14 species as an external group. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian inferences were applied to DNA sequences of rps16, trnL-F, matK, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and three morphological characters: (1) the crest of the corolla; (2) the primary organs in the embryo; and (3) tubers. Additionally, a histochemical analysis of the stolons and tubers is presented from an evolutionary perspective.Key Results The analyses showed the paraphyly of sect. Iperua, since Utricularia humboldtii is more related to the clade of sect. Orchidioides. Utricularia cornigera is grouped in the sect. Iperua clade based on chloroplast DNA sequences, but it is nested to sect. Orchidioides according to ITS dataset. Morphological characters do not support the breaking up of the ‘orchid-like’ species into two sections, either. Moreover, the stolon–tuber systems of both sections serve exclusively for water storage, according to histological analyses.Conclusions This study provides strong evidence, based on DNA sequences from two genomic compartments (plastid and nucleus) and morphology to group the Utricularia sect. Orchidioides into the sect. Iperua. The tubers are important adaptations for water storage and have been derived from stolons at least twice in the phylogenetic history of ‘orchid-like’ bladderworts.



Sugary secretions of wasp galls: a want-to-be extrafloral nectar?

2017-06-29

Abstract
Background and Aims The most widespread form of protective mutualisms is represented by plants bearing extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) that attract ants and other arthropods for indirect defence. Another, but less common, form of sugary secretion for indirect defence occurs in galls induced by cynipid wasps. Until now, such galls have been reported only for cynipid wasps that infest oak trees in the northern hemisphere. This study provides the first evidence of galls that exude sugary secretions in the southern hemisphere and asks whether they can be considered as analogues of plants’ EFNs.Methods The ecology and anatomy of galls and the chemical composition of the secretion were investigated in north-western Argentina, in natural populations of the host trees Prosopis chilensis and P. flexuosa. To examine whether ants protect the galls from natural enemies, ant exclusion experiments were conducted in the field.Key Results The galls produce large amounts of sucrose-rich, nectar-like secretions. No typical nectary and sub-nectary parenchymatic tissues or secretory trichomes can be observed; instead there is a dense vascularization with phloem elements reaching the gall periphery. At least six species of ants, but also vespid wasps, Diptera and Coleoptera, consumed the gall secretions. The ant exclusion experiment showed that when ants tended galls, no differences were found in the rate of successful emergence of gall wasps or in the rate of parasitism and inquiline infestation compared with ant-excluded galls.Conclusions The gall sugary secretion is not analogous to extrafloral nectar because no nectar-producing structure is associated with it, but is functionally equivalent to arthropod honeydew because it provides indirect defence to the plant parasite. As in other facultative mutualisms mediated by sugary secretions, the gall secretion triggers a complex multispecies interaction, in which the outcome of individual pair-wise interactions depends on the ecological context in which they take place.



Formation of silica aggregates in sorghum root endodermis is predetermined by cell wall architecture and development

2017-06-22

Abstract
Background and Aims Deposition of silica in plant cell walls improves their mechanical properties and helps plants to withstand various stress conditions. Its mechanism is still not understood and silica–cell wall interactions are elusive. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of silica deposition on the development and structure of sorghum root endodermis and to identify the cell wall components involved in silicification.MethodsSorghum bicolor seedlings were grown hydroponically with (Si+) or without (Si−) silicon supplementation. Primary roots were used to investigate the transcription of silicon transporters by quantitative RT–PCR. Silica aggregation was induced also under in vitro conditions in detached root segments. The development and architecture of endodermal cell walls were analysed by histochemistry, microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. Water retention capability was compared between silicified and non-silicified roots. Raman spectroscopy analyses of isolated silica aggregates were also carried out.Key Results Active uptake of silicic acid is provided at the root apex, where silicon transporters Lsi1 and Lsi2 are expressed. The locations of silica aggregation are established during the development of tertiary endodermal cell walls, even in the absence of silicon. Silica aggregation takes place in non-lignified spots in the endodermal cell walls, which progressively accumulate silicic acid, and its condensation initiates at arabinoxylan–ferulic acid complexes. Silicification does not support root water retention capability; however, it decreases root growth inhibition imposed by desiccation.Conclusion A model is proposed in which the formation of silica aggregates in sorghum roots is predetermined by a modified cell wall architecture and takes place as governed by endodermal development. The interaction with silica is provided by arabinoxylan–ferulic acid complexes and interferes with further deposition of lignin. Due to contrasting hydrophobicity, silicification and lignification do not represent functionally equivalent modifications of plant cell walls.



Polyphyly of Arundinoideae (Poaceae) and evolution of the twisted geniculate lemma awn

2017-06-21

Abstract
Background and Aims Subfamily Arundinoideae represents one of the last unsolved taxonomic mysteries in the grass family (Poaceae) due to the narrow and remote distributions of many of its 19 morphologically and ecologically heterogeneous genera. Resolving the phylogenetic relationships of these genera could have substantial implications for understanding character evolution in the grasses, for example the twisted geniculate awn – a hygroscopic awn that has been shown to be important in seed germination for some grass species. In this study, the phylogenetic positions of most arundinoid genera were determined using DNA from herbarium specimens, and their placement affects interpretation of this ecologically important trait.Methods A phylogenetic analysis was conducted on a matrix of full-plastome sequences from 123 species in 107 genera representing all grass subfamilies, with 15 of the 19 genera in subfamily Arundinoideae. Parsimony and maximum likelihood mapping approaches were used to estimate ancestral states for presence of a geniculate lemma awn with a twisted column across Poaceae. Lastly, anatomical characters were examined for former arundinoid taxa using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.Key Results Four genera traditionally included in Arundinoideae fell outside the subfamily in the plastome phylogeny, with the remaining 11 genera forming Arundinoideae sensu stricto. The twisted geniculate awn has originated independently at least five times in the PACMAD grasses, in the subfamilies Panicoideae, Danthonioideae/Chloridoideae and Arundinoideae. Morphological and anatomical characters support the new positions of the misplaced arundinoid genera in the phylogeny, but also highlight convergent and parallel evolution in the grasses.Conclusions In placing the majority of arundinoid genera in a phylogenetic framework, our study answers one of the last remaining big questions in grass taxonomy while highlighting examples of convergent evolution in an ecologically important trait, the hygroscopic, twisted geniculate awn.



Differences in below-ground bud bank density and composition along a climatic gradient in the temperate steppe of northern China

2017-06-14

Abstract
Background and Aims Understanding the changes in below-ground bud bank density and composition along a climatic gradient is essential for the exploration of species distribution pattern and vegetation composition in response to climatic changes. Nevertheless, investigations on bud banks along climatic gradients are still scarce. The below-ground bud bank is expected to be reduced in size in arid conditions, and costly, bud-bearing organs with long spacers would be replaced by more compact forms with buds that are better protected than those found in moist conditions.Methods How total bud density and composition (different bud bank types) change with aridity (calculated value 0·43–0·91), mean annual precipitation (MAP; 93–420 mm) and mean annual temperature (MAT; −1·51 to 6·93 °C) was tested at 21 sites along a 2500-km climatic gradient in the temperate steppe of northern China.Key Results The relationship between below-ground bud bank density and precipitation/aridity was fundamentally changed along the climatic gradient. Bud bank density increased first and then decreased along the aridity and MAP gradients, the turning points being aridity=0·67 and MAP=260 mm, respectively, while it decreased consistently with increasing MAT. The proportion of the bud bank that comprised tiller buds or dicotyledonous herb buds fluctuated along the aridity gradient. The proportion of rhizome buds was higher at relatively moist sites (aridity <0·75), while that of bulb buds was higher at drier sites (aridity >0·75).Conclusions Belowground bud bank density decreases towards the dry, hot end of the climatic gradient. Based on the distribution of bud types along the climatic gradient, bulb buds and tiller buds of tussock grasses seem to be more resistant to environmental stress than rhizome buds. The dominance of annual species and smaller bud banks in arid region implies that plant reproductive strategies and vegetation composition will be shifted in scenarios of increased drought under future climate change.



Serial block face SEM visualization of unusual plant nuclear tubular extensions in a carnivorous plant ( Utricularia , Lentibulariaceae)

2017-05-24

Abstract
Background and Aims In Utricularia nelumbifolia, the nuclei of placental nutritive tissue possess unusually shaped projections not known to occur in any other flowering plant. The main aim of the study was to document the morphology and ultrastructure of these unusual nuclei. In addition, the literature was searched to find examples of nuclear tubular projections in other plant groups, and the nuclei of closely related species of Utricularia (i.e. sects Iperua, Orchidioides, Foliosa and Utricularia) were examined.Methods To visualize the complexity of the nuclear structures, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used, and 3-D ultrastructural reconstructions were made using the serial block face scanning electron microscopy (SBEM) technique. The nuclei of 11 Utricularia species, i.e. U. nelumbifolia, U. reniformis, U. cornigera, U. nephrophylla (sect. Iperua), U. asplundii, U. alpina, U. quelchii (sect. Orchidioides), U. longifolia (sect. Foliosa), U. intermedia, U. minor and U. gibba (sect. Utricularia) were examined.Key Results Of the 11 Utricularia species examined, the spindle-like tubular projections (approx. 5 μm long) emanating from resident nuclei located in placental nutritive tissues were observed only in U. nelumbifolia. These tubular nuclear extensions contained chromatin distributed along hexagonally shaped tubules. The apices of the projections extended into the cell plasma membrane, and in many cases also made contact at the two opposing cellular poles, and with plasmodesmata via a short cisterna of the cortical endoplasmic reticulum. Images from the SBEM provide some evidence that the nuclear projections are making contact with those of neighbouring cells.Conclusions The term chromatubules (chromatin-filled tubules) for the nuclear projections of U. nelumbifolia placental tissue was proposed here. Due to the apparent association with the plasma membrane and plasmodesmata, it was also speculated that chromatubules are involved in nucleus–cell–cell communication. However, further experimental evidence is required before any functional hypothesis can be entertained.



Effect of expanded variation in anther position on pollinator visitation to wild radish, Raphanus raphanistrum

2017-05-22

Abstract
Background and Aims Plant–pollinator interactions shape the evolution of flowers. Floral attraction and reward traits have often been shown to affect pollinator behaviour, but the possible effect of efficiency traits on visitation behaviour has rarely been addressed. Anther position, usually considered a trait that influences efficiency of pollen deposition on pollinators, was tested here for its effect on pollinator visitation rates and visit duration in flowers of wild radish, Raphanus raphanistrum.Methods Artificial selection lines from two experiments that expanded the naturally occurring phenotypic variation in anther position were used. In one experiment, plant lines were selected either to increase or to decrease anther exsertion. The other experiment decreased anther dimorphism, which resulted in increased short stamen exsertion. The hypothesis was that increased exsertion would increase visitation of pollen foragers due to increased visual attraction. Another hypothesis was that exsertion of anthers above the corolla would interfere with nectar foragers and increase the duration of visit per flower.Key Results In the exsertion selection experiment, increased exsertion of both short and long stamens resulted in an increased number of fly visits per plant, and in the dimorphism experiment bee visits increased with increased short stamen exsertion. The duration of visits of nectar feeders declined significantly with increasing long stamen exsertion, which was opposite to the hypothesis.Conclusions Until now, anther position was considered to be an efficiency trait to enhance pollen uptake and deposition. Anther position in wild radish is shown here also to have an ecological significance in attracting pollen foragers. This study suggests an additional adaptive role for anther position beyond efficiency, and highlights the multiple ecological functions of floral traits in plant–pollinator interactions.



Heteroblasty in epiphytic bromeliads: functional implications for species in understorey and exposed growing sites

2017-05-16

Abstract
Background and Aims The functional relevance of heteroblasty, an abrupt morphological change in the ontogeny of a considerable number of angiosperm species, is still largely unresolved. During the ontogeny of many epiphytic Tillandsioids (Bromeliaceae), such a change occurs when small individuals transform into larger, tank-forming individuals that are capable of external water storage. Apart from its fundamental effect on plant water relations, the associated transition from narrow to broader leaves also affects plant architecture. The morphological changes and their effect on light interception may be especially relevant for heteroblastic species in the moist understorey, which are expected to be limited primarily by light.Methods A functional structural plant model (Yplant) was used to construct digital replicas of atmospheric and tank-forming individuals of four species, two of them naturally growing in exposed conditions and two occurring in understorey sites. This allowed the determination of leaf display efficiencies as well as a systematic analysis of leaf architectural traits and their effect on light interception.Key Results Modifying existing plant morphologies showed that broader leaves cause more self-shading within the plant. This supports the hypothesis that species from the light-limited understorey benefit from the early atmospheric life form through increased light capture. Modelling plant morphology that continuously followed the ontogenetic trajectories of the leaf architectural traits revealed that the rising total leaf number in atmospheric individuals constantly increased self-shading. Therefore, at a certain ontogenetic stage, a tipping point was reached when the tank form was even favourable in terms of light capture as it was associated with fewer leaves.Conclusions The effects of changes in leaf morphology and leaf architecture on plant light capture may explain the common occurrence of heteroblastic species in the understorey of Neotropical forests, which does not negate a simultaneous positive effect of heteroblasty on plant water relations.



Coevolution with pollinating resin midges led to resin-filled nurseries in the androecia, gynoecia and tepals of Kadsura (Schisandraceae)

2017-04-21

Abstract
Background and Aims Resin is a defence against herbivores and a floral reward in a few African and South American species whose bee pollinators collect it for nest construction. Here we describe a new role for floral resin from the Asian genus Kadsura (Schisandraceae). Kadsura tepals tightly cover a globe formed by carpels (in females) or near-fused stamens with fleshy connectives (in male flowers of most, but not all species).Methods We carried out field observations at four sites in China and used pollinator behavioural assays, chemical analyses and time-calibrated insect and plant phylogenies to investigate the specificity of the interactions and their relationship to floral structure.Key Results Nocturnal resin midges (Resseliella, Cecidomyiidae) walk around on the flowers’ sexual organs to oviposit, thereby transferring pollen and wounding tissues. The larvae then develop in resin-filled chambers. Male and female floral scents are dominated by α-pinene, while the resinous exudate is dominated by caryophyllene. As revealed by barcoding of multiple midge larvae per flower species, the mutualisms are species specific and appear to have evolved over the past 6–9 million years.Conclusions Resin feeding, not pollen or ovule feeding, by midge larvae explains the abundant Kadsura exudates, highlighting the poorly known world of nocturnal flower–fly interactions.