Mutualisms and (a)symmetry in plant-pollinator interactions


Van Der Kooi CJ, Vallejo-Marín M & Leonhardt SD (2021) Mutualisms and (a)symmetry in plant-pollinator interactions. Current Biology, 31 (2), pp. R91-R99.

The majority of flowering plants relies on animal pollinators for sexual reproduction and many animal pollinators rely on floral resources. However, interests of plants and pollinators are often not the same, resulting in an asymmetric relationship that ranges from mutualistic to parasitic interactions. Our understanding of the processes that underlie this asymmetry remains fragmentary. In this review, we bring together evidence from evolutionary biology, plant chemistry, biomechanics, sensory ecology and behaviour to illustrate that the degree of symmetry often depends on the perspective taken. We also highlight variation in (a)symmetry within and between plant and pollinator species as well as between (geographic) locations. Through taking different perspectives from the plant and pollinator side we provide new ground for studies on the maintenance and evolution of animal pollination and on the (a)symmetry in plant-pollinator interactions.

chemical ecology; biophysics; pollination; reproduction; evolution 30 2

Current Biology: Volume 31, Issue 2

FundersThe Leverhulme Trust
Publication date31/01/2021
Publication date online25/01/2021
Date accepted by journal21/10/2020