|Solitary bee on C. palustris|
C. plaustris came rapidly into bloom at the test site and the flowers began to senesce within a few days. It is unclear whether the floral senescence was triggered by pollination (pollinators were remarkably abundant) or if the plant only ever sustains them for a few days.
|C. palustris at the marsh - day 0 (project planning)|
|C. palustris at the marsh - day 1 (data collection)|
Our study looked at the impact of floral outline (highly variable in this species) on pollinator behaviour. Tentatively, our results suggest that the introduction of A. mellifera may end up altering the phenotype distribution in this population, as the A. mellifera showed a statistically significant preference for floral morph where the native pollinators do not. This has widespread implications for plant populations in North America -- however, we should take these results with a huge grain of salt because the data was collected by two undergrads in three days and the stats were an overnight affair.
|Research photo used to quantify floral outline variation|
I actually enjoyed sloshing about in the marsh, even when I was wet and muddy and losing my rubber boots to the mucky depths.Somehow, the tedium of watching bees land on flowers all day in the muck was quite agreeable to me.
*it is possible that the ants were not pollinating but rather stealing nectar, ie taking the pollinator reward without providing any pollen transfer for the flower; ants do pollinate some flowers but are mostly nectar-robbers. My colleague and I did not have a chance to establish with any certainty whether the ants were antagonists or mutualists with C. palustris.