Animal-mediated fertilization in bryophytes – parallel or precursor to insect pollination in angiosperms?
- BECC - Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate
Soil-dwelling microarthropods and wingless insects are assumed to have been the primary vectors transporting sperm in ancient mosses and possibly other groups of bryophytes. These animals may later have secondarily expanded to transfer pollen in gymnosperms and angiosperms, similar to the frequent pollinator shifts observed among angiosperm groups. Several ancestral traits pointed out by recent studies of early angiosperms are in favour of this hypothesis, such as small size of flowers, small and non-sticky pollen, adaptations for growth in moist and shaded habitats close to running water, and weedy growth forms with rapid life-cycles in disturbed habitats. It is also possible to envisage a link from sexual attractants excreted by oogonia in charophyte algae and archegonia in bryophytes to guide sperm, via sugar released to attract insects in pollination drop mechanisms in gymnosperms to more advanced structures specialized for insect attraction such as nectaries and nectar discs in angiosperms.
- pollination biology
- fertilization syndrome
- pollination drop
- animal-mediated fertilization
- evolutionary biology
- Bryophyte precursor hypothesis of plant pollination
- ISSN: 0105-0761