Floral nectar is central to ecology, since it mediates interactions with pollinators, flower-visiting antagonists and microbes through its chemical composition. Here we review how historical assumptions about its ecological meaning were first challenged, then modified and expanded since the discovery of secondary metabolites in nectar. We then explore the origin of specific neuroactive nectar compounds known to act as important insect neurotransmitters, and how advances in the field of bee cognition and plant-microbe-animal interactions challenge such historical views. As all actors involved in the latter interactions are under simultaneous reciprocal selective pressures, their coexistence is characterized by conflicts and trade-offs, the evolutionary interpretation of which suggests exciting new perspectives in one of the longest studied aspects of plant-pollinator interactions.

Barberis, M., Galloni, M., Nepi, M. (2023). Floral nectar: fifty years of new ecological perspectives beyond pollinator reward. PERSPECTIVES IN PLANT ECOLOGY, EVOLUTION AND SYSTEMATICS [10.1016/j.ppees.2023.125764].

Floral nectar: fifty years of new ecological perspectives beyond pollinator reward

Massimo Nepi
2023-01-01

Abstract

Floral nectar is central to ecology, since it mediates interactions with pollinators, flower-visiting antagonists and microbes through its chemical composition. Here we review how historical assumptions about its ecological meaning were first challenged, then modified and expanded since the discovery of secondary metabolites in nectar. We then explore the origin of specific neuroactive nectar compounds known to act as important insect neurotransmitters, and how advances in the field of bee cognition and plant-microbe-animal interactions challenge such historical views. As all actors involved in the latter interactions are under simultaneous reciprocal selective pressures, their coexistence is characterized by conflicts and trade-offs, the evolutionary interpretation of which suggests exciting new perspectives in one of the longest studied aspects of plant-pollinator interactions.
2023
Barberis, M., Galloni, M., Nepi, M. (2023). Floral nectar: fifty years of new ecological perspectives beyond pollinator reward. PERSPECTIVES IN PLANT ECOLOGY, EVOLUTION AND SYSTEMATICS [10.1016/j.ppees.2023.125764].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11365/1251755