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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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Evolution of Flowers, Pollination, and Plant Diversity

Evolution of Flowers, Pollination, and Plant Diversity

(p.88) Chapter 4 Evolution of Flowers, Pollination, and Plant Diversity
Pollination and Floral Ecology

Pat Willmer

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the evolution of flowers, pollination, and plant diversity. There is good evidence for pollinator-mediated selection and appropriate trait heritability in flowers, and there are well-established mechanisms by which this could bring about floral change, reproductive isolation, and evolutionary divergence or specialization. The chapter first considers the origin and early evolution of flowers before discussing the diversification of angiosperms. It then explores the advantages of animal pollination and goes on to discuss the extent to which pollination may have contributed to floral variation, plant speciation, and plant diversification. In particular, it explains whether pollinators select for floral divergence and describes five ways in which floral divergence could arise by selection: adaptation to distinct niches, character displacement, adaptive “wandering,” character correlations, and genetic drift.

Keywords:   flower evolution, flowers, flower pollination, plant diversity, selection, diversification, angiosperm, floral variation, plant speciation, floral divergence

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