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Pollination and Floral Ecology$
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Pat Willmer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691128610

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691128610.001.0001

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Rewards 2: The Biology of Nectar

Rewards 2: The Biology of Nectar

Chapter:
(p.190) Chapter 8 Rewards 2: The Biology of Nectar
Source:
Pollination and Floral Ecology
Author(s):

Pat Willmer

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691128610.003.0008

This chapter examines the biology of nectar, the main secondary floral reward in an evolutionary sense. As a commodity, nectar is easy for plants to produce and easy for animals to handle; its sugars are simple to metabolize and thus to use as a readily available fuel for an animal’s activities. Nectar is a crucial factor in determining the interactions of flowers and their visitors. The chapter first provides an overview of how floral nectar is produced in a nectary before discussing nectar secretion, the chemical composition of nectar, and nectar volume. It then considers nectar concentration and viscosity, nectar as a sugar and energy reward, and nectar as a water reward. It also explores daily, seasonal, and phylogenetic patterns of nectar production, how flowers control their nectar and their pollinators, and problems in measuring and quantifying nectar. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the costs of nectar gathering.

Keywords:   nectar biology, reward, flower, nectary, nectar secretion, nectar volume, nectar concentration, nectar production, nectar gathering

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