Cowden, Nancy , Gannicott, Priscilla .
We talk to the bees: Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubescens pollination biology insights .
Cypripedium parviflorum var. pubscens (large yellow lady's-slipper) presents no discernable reward to pollinators, but observations in Virginia indicate that certain plants consistently succeed in setting fruits while other plants experience reduced abilities attracting pollinators. Because fruit set requires vector-mediated pollen transfer, we are confident that resident bees discriminate among C. parviflorum var. pubescens individuals. We propose that floral fragrance variations account, at least in part, for uneven reproductive success in large yellow lady's-slippers. During each growing season from 2008 - 2011, we obtained fragrance samples from two C. parviflorum var. pubescens populations using non-destructive, static headspace solid-phase microextraction (SHS-SPME) employing SPME portable field samplers exposed to the floral headspace and subsequently desorbed in the injection port of a Thermo-Scientific Focus GC/DSQ MS. We also captured and identified to species insects observed within the labella of our tagged plants, enabling us to correlate floral scent characteristics with particular visitors. Nonanal, phenylacetaldehyde, and phenylethyl alcohol occur as major constituents in the C. parviflorum var. pubescens samples analyzed, and flowers ranging in age from two to seven days produce fragrances detectable by our methods while younger and older flowers do not. Our recovered fauna generally agrees with the diversity encountered by previous researchers, and bee visitations correspond with elevated scent production. While the specific effect of fragrance on bees' behavior remains unknown, evidence suggests large yellow lady's-slippers' perfumes factor in reproductive success.
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Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Location: Waterman Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 4:45 PM