Ephedra pollination and other gnetalean oddities
Niklas, Karl .
Anemophilous features of Ephedra.
I will review previous research into the aerodynamics of pollen capture indicating that Ephedra trifurca and E. nevadensis are capable of efficiently trapping air-borne pollen because of (1) the absence of foliage obstructing airflow, (2) the streamlined geometry of their ovules, (3) the orientation of ovules with respect to the vertical, and (4) wind-induced oscillations of pollination droplets. Empirical wind tunnel studies and computer models also show that ovule-bearing stems that are slightly inclined from the vertical can deflect and funnel air currents carrying pollen upward along their leeward sides toward ovules. Additionally, the dimensions, settling velocities, and other features of Ephedra pollen in theory can facilitate long-distance wind dispersal of pollen. Collectively, these features are consistent with an emophily and should increase the efficiency of wind pollination. However, none of these features precludes alternative pollination mechanisms, as for example the deposition of pollen by insects foraging sugar-rich pollination droplets.
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1 - Cornell University, Plant Biology, 412 Mann Library, ITHACA, NY, 14853-5908, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Location: Delaware A/Hyatt
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 11:30 AM