Beyond pollinator reward: steps forward and knowledge gaps on the role of floral nectar in plant-animal interactions.

Barberis, Marta (2023) Beyond pollinator reward: steps forward and knowledge gaps on the role of floral nectar in plant-animal interactions., [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze della terra, della vita e dell'ambiente, 35 Ciclo.
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The work done within the framework of my PhD project has been carried out between November 2019 and January 2023 at the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences of the University of Bologna, under the supervision of Prof. Marta Galloni and PhD Gherardo Bogo. A period of three months was spent at the Natural History Museum of Rijeka, under the supervision of Prof. Boštjan Surina. The main aim of the thesis was to investigate further the so-called pollinator manipulation hypothesis, which states that when a floral visitor gets in contact with a specific nectar chemistry, the latter affects its behavior of visit on flowers, with potential repercussions on the plant reproductive fitness. To the purpose, the topic was tackled by means of three main approaches: field studies, laboratory assessments, and bibliographic reviews. This research project contributes to two main aspects. First, when insects encounter nectar-like concentrations of a plethora of secondary metabolites in their food-environment, various aspects of their behavior relevant to flower visitation can be affected. In addition, the results I gained confirm that the combination of field studies and laboratory assessments allows to get more realistic pictures of a given phenomenon than the single approaches. Second, reviewing the existent literature in the field of nectar ecology has highlighted how crucial is to establish the origin of nectar biogenic amines to either confirm or reject the multiple speculations made on the role of nectar microbes in shaping plant-animal interactions.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Barberis, Marta
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Floral nectar, Pollinator behaviour, Plant-pollinator-microbe interactions, Nectar biogenic amines, Neuroactive nectar, Non-protein amino acids, Bumblebee behaviour, Nectar octopamine, Nectar tyramine, Gender-biased nectar, Secondary metabolites
Data di discussione
15 Giugno 2023

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