Presentation Title

Linking mycorrhizal colonization to pollinator behavior and reproductive success in highbush blueberry

Presenter's Name(s)

Joanna SantoroFollow

Abstract

Plant-fungal partnerships affect a variety of plant traits, and some of these traits may affect pollinator behavior. Mycorrhizal fungi are root-residing fungi which often help plants to better take up nutrients in exchange for photosynthetic products. In some cases, plants with greater fungal colonization have enhanced reproductive traits such as floral displays, and these are traits which influence pollinator behavior. Pollinator visitation is important because it can affect plant fitness. To measure this relationship in Highbush Blueberry, we sampled roots and observed pollinators from plants at two locations in Vermont during summer 2020. We also sampled berries to indicate fitness. We found that certain pollinator behaviors were correlated with fungal colonization, depending on the location and the species of pollinator. At one location, number of flowers visited per plant by large bumblebees and time spent per plant by large bumblebees were both negatively correlated with colonization. At the other, time spent per plant by large bumblebees and percent of flowers visited by large bumblebees were positively correlated with colonization, while percent of flowers visited by orange bumblebees was negatively correlated with colonization. Berry size and sweetness were not correlated with colonization. We conclude that fungal colonization likely affects plant-pollinator relationships in species-specific ways.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Alison Brody

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Biological Science

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

Linking mycorrhizal colonization to pollinator behavior and reproductive success in highbush blueberry

Plant-fungal partnerships affect a variety of plant traits, and some of these traits may affect pollinator behavior. Mycorrhizal fungi are root-residing fungi which often help plants to better take up nutrients in exchange for photosynthetic products. In some cases, plants with greater fungal colonization have enhanced reproductive traits such as floral displays, and these are traits which influence pollinator behavior. Pollinator visitation is important because it can affect plant fitness. To measure this relationship in Highbush Blueberry, we sampled roots and observed pollinators from plants at two locations in Vermont during summer 2020. We also sampled berries to indicate fitness. We found that certain pollinator behaviors were correlated with fungal colonization, depending on the location and the species of pollinator. At one location, number of flowers visited per plant by large bumblebees and time spent per plant by large bumblebees were both negatively correlated with colonization. At the other, time spent per plant by large bumblebees and percent of flowers visited by large bumblebees were positively correlated with colonization, while percent of flowers visited by orange bumblebees was negatively correlated with colonization. Berry size and sweetness were not correlated with colonization. We conclude that fungal colonization likely affects plant-pollinator relationships in species-specific ways.