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WILDFLOWER/POLLINATOR LAB

OBJECTIVES:

1. To obtain experience in natural history field research and techniques.
2. To identify wildlflower and pollinator species occuring here.
3. To better understand pollination systems.

BACKGROUND:

Plants are rooted in place. This poses a problem when plants want to mate -- how is the sperm going to get transferred to the egg? Plants package their sperm in specially-designed capsules (called pollen grains) and then use pollen vectors -- wind, water, and animals -- to propel the pollen from one plant's anthers (where pollen is produced) to another plant's stigma (which receives the pollen). This process of transferring pollen from anther to stigma is called pollination. Plants have evolved specialized adaptations to help ensure their pollen vector's interest in and success at picking up, transporting, and leaving off the pollen at the appropriate place (e.g. providing food or housing materials for their animal vectors and making aerodynamic or sticky pollen). Animals, in turn, have evolved special adaptations to increase their effectiveness at acquiring the goodies provided by the plants (e.g. wings, long tongues, scrapers, and holding devices). A variety of pollination systems have resulted from the interactions between plants and their corresponding pollen vectors. Recommended Reading: The Forgotten Pollinators by Stevem Buchmann and Gary Nabhan (1996). Also see textbook pp. 144-146. This lab was adapted from Tyrrell, L. 1989. How is this flower pollinated? Journal of College Science Teaching 18:378-383.

Wind (anemophily) Birds (ornithophily) Moths (phalaenophily & sphingophily) Bees (melittophily) Bee-like Flies (myophily)
Water (hydrophily) Bats (chiropterophily) Butterflies (psychophily) Beetles (cantharophily) Carrion & Dung Flies (sapromyophily)

PROCEDURE:

  POLLINATION SYSTEM CODES
1. __Sunflower______________ WI  BT  F-M  F-S  BE  (BU)  MO  (BI)  BA
Wildflower species  
Flower Descriptions Used:
radial, not tubular, yellow, fragrant
Proposed Pollination System:
bees and possibly butterflies
Possible Pollen Vectors Observed:
I saw one bee visit flower

  Note: You must give all 4 flower descriptions used (symmetry, shape, color, and odor).
Note also that for flower color, you only have a few choices and you must use one of those choices (for example, if your flower is orange, you have to choose either yellow or red).
Note that being radial removes nothing. Not tubular crosses out MO and BA and puts parentheses around BU and BI.
Yellow crosses out WI, BT, F-M, F-S, MO, BA.
Fragrant crosses out WI and F-S and also now crosses out BI which used to be in parentheses.
So you are left with bees (not crossed out) and possibly (in parentheses) butterflies.
Note any insects, etc. that visited your flower species under possible pollen vectors observed.

Record these data on the Pollination System Data Sheet (html / word) and turn in.

Jump to Lab Manual, Polyclave Key or Data Sheet (html / word)