Evolution of flower and fruit traits
Jonas Kuppler, Robert R. Junker
Different parts of individual plants require contrasting services: vegetative plant-parts avoid interactions with herbivores, flowers and fruits advertise interactions with mutualists, while antagonists should be deterred from these valuable tissues. In this project, we will evaluate (a) the interaction frequency and thus network structure between plant-parts (leaves, flowers and fruits) and diverse organisms and (b) the phenotype of these organs. We will apply the concept of “phenotypic integration” to reveal whether the organ-specific adaptation to multiple interaction-partners is constrained by the metabolism of the other plant-parts or if evolution can act independently on leaves, flowers and fruits.
In another sub-project, we will examine the interactions between the Hawaiian tree Metrosideros polymorpha with its native and invasive flower visitors. We expect a geographic selection mosaic along environmental and elevational gradients where invasive ants and honeybees are heterogeneously distributed and may thus cause variation in flower traits on a larger geographic scale.
“E-Norm”-project (Graduiertenkolleg Evolutive Netzwerke: Organismen, Reaktionen, Moleküle der HHU Düsseldorf): Past diffuse co-evolution and recent interaction networks