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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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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

Rewards 2: The Biology of Nectar

Rewards 2: The Biology of Nectar

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

Pat Willmer

Princeton University Press

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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