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Floral Traits and Pollination Systems in the Caatinga, a Brazilian Tropical Dry Forest
, Lopes A.V.
Annals of Botany
, 2004. V. 94. No. 3. P. 365–376
Журнал с антэкологическими публикациями.
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Background and aims Pollination is a critical stage in plant reproduction and thus in the maintenance and evolution of species and communities. The Caatinga is the fourth largest ecosystem in Brazil, but despite its great extent and its importance few studies providing ecological information are available, with a notable lack of work focusing on pollination biology. Here, general data are presented regarding the frequency of pollination systems within Caatinga communities, with the aim of characterizing patterns related to floral attributes in order to make possible comparisons with data for plant communities in other tropical areas, and to test ideas about the utility of syndromes. This paper also intends to provide a reference point for further studies on pollination ecology in this threatened ecosystem. Methods The floral traits and the pollination systems of 147 species were analysed in three areas of Caatinga vegetation in northeastern Brazil, and compared with world-wide studies focusing on the same subject. For each species, floral attributes were recorded as form, size, colour, rewards and pollination units. The species were grouped into 12 guilds according to the main pollinator vector. Analyses of the frequencies of the floral traits and pollination systems were undertaken. Key Results Nectar and pollen were the most common floral resources and insect pollination was the most frequent, occurring in 69·9 % of the studied species. Of the entomophilous species, 61·7 % were considered to be melittophilous (43·1 % of the total). Vertebrate pollination occurred in 28·1 % of the species (ornithophily in 15·0 % and chiropterophily in 13·1 %), and anemophily was recorded in only 2·0 %. Conclusions The results indicated that the pollination systems in Caatinga, despite climatic restrictions, are diversified, with a low percentage of generalist flowers, and similar to other tropical dry and wet forest communities, including those with high rainfall levels.