Prior selfing can mitigate the negative effects of mutual reproductive interference between coexisting congeners

Koki R. Katsuhara, Atushi Ushimaru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

When more than one closely related plant species share the same pollination niche, reproductive interference via interspecific pollen transfer should limit their coexistence. However, some studies have reported the sympatric coexistence of two native close relatives pollinated by the same pollinators under reproductive interference, even without niche partitioning. We examined the frequency dependency of reproductive interference between close relatives in natural conditions and the potential roles of autonomous selfing in mitigating the negative reproductive interference effects between congeneric species. We investigated sympatrically growing Commelina communis (Cc) and C. c. f. ciliata (Ccfc) populations. These species exhibit very large overlaps in habitat preference, flowering phenology and pollination niche, but seldom produce hybrids. First, we conducted a hand-pollination experiment to examine the negative effects of heterospecific pollen deposition on seed production and the potential of self-pollination to mitigate the effects in both species. Then, we examined the effects of reproductive interference on reproductive success and the potential for autonomous selfing in the field. We found significant negative effects of heterospecific pollen deposition on seed production and the mitigation effects of prior and competing self-pollination, in both Cc and Ccfc. For both species in the field, intraspecific pollinator movements and reproductive success significantly decreased with an increase in the relative floral abundance of competing species, although the negative reproductive interference effect on reproductive success was lower in Cc than in Ccfc. We also found greater potential for prior autonomous selfing in Cc than in Ccfc. Our findings suggest that Cc flowers were less affected by reproductive interference from competing species, which was likely due to a higher prior selfing ability compared to Ccfc flowers. The asymmetry in susceptibility to reproductive interference may explain the Cc-biased distribution in the study area. The study improves our understanding of how prior autonomous selfing can reduce the negative reproductive interference effect from competing species in mixed-mating species with frequent pollinator visits. A plain language summary is available for this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1504-1513
Number of pages10
JournalFunctional Ecology
Volume33
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Commelina
  • frequency dependence
  • interspecific pollen transfer
  • intraspecific aggregation
  • mixed-mating system
  • pollination niche
  • pollinator-mediated competition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Prior selfing can mitigate the negative effects of mutual reproductive interference between coexisting congeners'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this