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Plant toxin levels in nectar vary spatially across native and introduced populations [Journal of Ecology]

Keywords : chemical defence, grayanotoxins, invasion ecology, nectar chemistry, plant-herbivore interactions, pollination, spatial variation

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Secondary compounds in nectar can function as toxic chemical defences against floral antagonists, but may also mediate plant-pollinator interactions. Despite their ecological importance, few studies have investigated patterns of spatial variation in toxic nectar compounds in plant species, and none outside their native range.
Grayanotoxin I (GTX I) occurs in nectar of invasive Rhododendron ponticum where it is toxic to honeybees and some solitary bee species. We examined (i) geographic variation in the composition of nectar GTX I, as well as GTX III (which is not toxic to these species), in the native and introduced range of R. ponticum, (ii) how their expression is structured at patch and landscape scales within ranges, and (iii) if climatic and environmental factors underpin spatial patterns.(...)

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