Comparing variational properties of homologous floral and vegetative characters in Dalechampia scandens: testing the Berg hypothesis

T. Hansen, C. Pelabon, Scott Armbruster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Berg hypothesis posits that, in plants with specialized pollination systems, floral characters should evolve to become integrated with each other and decoupled from vegetative characters. We test this hypothesis by comparing serially homologous and morphologically similar characters in leaves and involucral bracts in the Neotropical vine Dalechampia scandens, which has a specialized pollination system based on resin-collecting bees. The involucral bracts serve a number of specialized floral functions, including signaling and protection, that may put them under stronger selection for precision than the less specialized leaves. The homology and morphological similarity of the leaves and bracts allow us to make a sharper test of Berg’s hypothesis than is possible in most other systems. We found support for the hypothesis in that the bracts had lower coefficients of variation than the leaves for comparable traits. Also in support of the hypothesis, we found essentially zero phenotypic correlations between bracts and leaves at the same time that we found moderate correlations between different leaves and between different bracts. In contradiction to the hypothesis, however, we did not find higher correlations among traits within bracts than within leaves, and we found no evidence of bracts being more developmentally stable than the leaves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-98
Number of pages13
JournalEvolutionary Biology
Volume34
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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