Research Topic

Sensory Ecology of Plant-Pollinator Interactions

About this Research Topic

The fascinating interaction between plants and pollinators is mediated by numerous signals. Flowers lure pollinators via color, pattern, odor and/or shape, and pollinators perceive these signals via visual, olfactory and/or tactile mechanisms. Signals can be honest (e.g. specific floral scent compounds associated with nectar sugar concentrations) or deceiving (e.g. color patterns resembling mates), and simply attract pollinators (e.g. large colored floral displays) or actually indicate reward quality (e.g. fatty acids in pollen, nectar sucrose content). Moreover, increasing evidence suggests that pollinators prioritize specific signals and show context-specific behavioral responses. This Research Topic aims at elucidating the role of signals and perception in different facets of plant-pollinator interactions.

Plants and pollinators show variable degrees of interdependence with often asymmetric outcomes (e.g. visitors robbing rewards without actually transferring pollen or plants exploiting innate pollinator sensory preferences). Signals and perception of signals play a key role in this interaction. Further, the different interests of plants and pollinators can create a tension or arms race between plants and pollinators, which is largely mediated by altering conspicuousness and sensory capacities. Understanding the various interactions between different types of signals and the perception and subsequent behavioral responses of pollinators calls for a cross-disciplinary view, as the traits involved span across biomechanical, biophysics, chemical and behavioral processes.

We want to bring together research on the sensory ecology underlying plant-pollinator interactions from different disciplines. Potential contributions could cover one or several of the following themes:
• Optical and structural properties of flowers
• Chemical signals produced by flowers
• Sensory mechanisms enabling visitors to detect flowers and assess reward quality
• Chemical properties of floral rewards (e.g. nutrients, plant secondary metabolites)
• Coupling of signals and rewards, honest signaling
• Matching of signals and perception


Keywords: pollination, color, scent, signalling, reward, odor, flowers, sensory ecology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The fascinating interaction between plants and pollinators is mediated by numerous signals. Flowers lure pollinators via color, pattern, odor and/or shape, and pollinators perceive these signals via visual, olfactory and/or tactile mechanisms. Signals can be honest (e.g. specific floral scent compounds associated with nectar sugar concentrations) or deceiving (e.g. color patterns resembling mates), and simply attract pollinators (e.g. large colored floral displays) or actually indicate reward quality (e.g. fatty acids in pollen, nectar sucrose content). Moreover, increasing evidence suggests that pollinators prioritize specific signals and show context-specific behavioral responses. This Research Topic aims at elucidating the role of signals and perception in different facets of plant-pollinator interactions.

Plants and pollinators show variable degrees of interdependence with often asymmetric outcomes (e.g. visitors robbing rewards without actually transferring pollen or plants exploiting innate pollinator sensory preferences). Signals and perception of signals play a key role in this interaction. Further, the different interests of plants and pollinators can create a tension or arms race between plants and pollinators, which is largely mediated by altering conspicuousness and sensory capacities. Understanding the various interactions between different types of signals and the perception and subsequent behavioral responses of pollinators calls for a cross-disciplinary view, as the traits involved span across biomechanical, biophysics, chemical and behavioral processes.

We want to bring together research on the sensory ecology underlying plant-pollinator interactions from different disciplines. Potential contributions could cover one or several of the following themes:
• Optical and structural properties of flowers
• Chemical signals produced by flowers
• Sensory mechanisms enabling visitors to detect flowers and assess reward quality
• Chemical properties of floral rewards (e.g. nutrients, plant secondary metabolites)
• Coupling of signals and rewards, honest signaling
• Matching of signals and perception


Keywords: pollination, color, scent, signalling, reward, odor, flowers, sensory ecology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

04 December 2020 Abstract
05 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

04 December 2020 Abstract
05 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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