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Pollination biology of the endemic orchid Vanilla bosseri in Madagascar
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Biology Education Centre.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The pantropical orchid genus Vanilla has a diverse floral morphology and there is a

lack of knowledge about the pollination biology of its species in all geographical

areas except the American tropics. The present study investigated the pollination

biology of the endemic Vanilla bosseri Allorge in a dry, deciduous forest near

Morondava at the west coast in Madagascar. The total and flower producing

population was estimated. Floral measurements and visitor observations were

conducted and the floral phenology and anthesis were investigated. A breeding

experiment with three treatments, cross-pollination, self-pollination and pollinator

exclusion, suggest that V. bosseri is allogamous but self-compatible, and dependent

on pollinators for its reproduction. Natural fruit set was low, 3.96%, less than onetenth

than that of hand-pollinated flowers, suggesting the species is pollen limited

possibly due to low pollinator visitation. Flower morphology clearly indicates that the

species is bee pollinated. The study shows that the orchid acts by deceit and attracts

pollinators through generalized food flower deception. The main visitor, the

allodopine bee Macrogalea ellioti, is most likely not the effective pollinator, but

instead a pollen thief that occasionally acts as a pollinator. Floral morphology and

pollination mechanism indicate that an effective pollinator would have an operative

size similar to that of medium sized bees such as Lithurgus pullatus or Tetraloniella

madecassa, but further studies are needed to reveal the relative impact of accidental

and regular pollinator bee species.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 32 p.
Keyword [en]
Vanilla, endemic orchid, pollination, pollen thief, breeding system, Madagascar
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265232OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-265232DiVA: diva2:864149
Educational program
Master Programme in Biology
Available from: 2015-10-28 Created: 2015-10-26 Last updated: 2015-10-28Bibliographically approved

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Available from 2018-10-31 09:48

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