Vertical stratification of plant-pollinator interactions in a temperate grassland


Associated preprint: Yes - view in new tab

Abstract

Interactions between plants and their pollinators vary in time and space at different scales. A neglected aspect of small-scale variation of plant-pollinator interactions is the role of vertical position of flowers. We conducted a series of experiments to study vertical stratification of plant-pollinator interactions in a dry grassland. We observed flower visitors on cut inflorescences of Centaurea scabiosa and Inula salicina placed at different heights above ground in two types of surrounding vegetation: short and tall. Even at such a small-scale, we detected significant shift in total visitation rate of inflorescences in response to their vertical position. In short vegetation, inflorescences close to the ground were visited more frequently, while in high vegetation, inflorescences placed higher received more visits. Moreover, we found major differences in the composition of the pollinator community on flowers at different heights. In a second experiment, we measured flower visitation rate in inflorescences of Salvia verticillata of variable height. Overall flower visitation rate increased markedly with inflorescence height. We also detected a corresponding positive pollinator-mediated selection on increased inflorescence height using data on seed set of individual plants. Overall, our results demonstrate strong vertical stratification of plant-pollinator interactions at the scale of mere decimetres. This may be an important, albeit underappreciated, driver of plant-pollinator coevolution.
Ask to review this manuscript

Notes for potential reviewers

  • Volunteering is not a guarantee that you will be asked to review. There are many reasons: reviewers must be qualified, there should be no conflicts of interest, a minimum of two reviewers have already accepted an invitation, etc.
  • This is NOT OPEN peer review. The review is single-blind, and all recommendations are sent privately to the Academic Editor handling the manuscript. That said, if the manuscript is accepted for publication then the reviewer reports can be optionally signed and made public (see below).
  • What happens after volunteering? It may be a few days before you receive an invitation to review with further instructions. You will need to accept the invitation to then become an official referee for the manuscript. If you do not receive an invitation it is for one of many possible reasons as noted above.

  • PeerJ does not judge submissions based on subjective measures such as novelty, impact or degree of advance. Effectively, reviewers are asked to comment on whether or not the submission is scientifically and technically sound and therefore deserves to join the scientific literature. Our Peer Review criteria can be found on the "Editorial Criteria" page - reviewers are specifically asked to comment on 3 broad areas: "Basic Reporting", "Experimental Design" and "Validity of the Findings".
  • Reviewers are expected to comment in a timely, professional, and constructive manner.
  • Until the article is published, reviewers must regard all information relating to the submission as strictly confidential.
  • When submitting a review, reviewers are given the option to "sign" their review (i.e. to associate their name with their comments). Otherwise, all review comments remain anonymous.
  • Each time a decision is made by the Academic Editor, each reviewer will receive a copy of the Decision Letter (which will include the comments of all reviewers).
  • If the article is accepted, then the authors are given the option to reproduce the reviewer reports, and their full revision history, alongside their finally published article. In those instances, the comments of the reviewers will be made public (although reviewers' names will never be revealed unless the reviewer opted to sign their review, as noted above).

If you have any questions about submitting your review, please email us at peer.review@peerj.com.