Farre-Armengol G., Filella I., Llusia J., Niinemets U., Penuelas J. (2015) Optimum temperature for floral terpene emissions tracks the mean temperature of the flowering season. Functional Plant Biology. 42: 851-857.LinkDoi: 10.1071/FP14279
Emissions of volatiles from leaves exhibit temperature dependence on maximums, but the optimum temperatures for the release of floral volatiles and the mechanism(s) of optimising these emissions have not been determined. We hypothesised that flowers have an optimum temperature for the emission of volatiles and, because the period of flowering varies highly among species, that this optimum is adapted to the temperatures prevailing during flowering. To test these hypotheses, we characterised the temperature responses of floral terpene emissions of diverse widespread Mediterranean plant species flowering in different seasons by using dynamic headspace sampling and analysis with GC-MS. The floral emissions of terpenes across species exhibited maximums at the temperatures corresponding to the season of flowering, with the lowest optimal temperatures observed in winter-flowering and the highest in summer-flowering species. These trends were valid for emissions of both total terpenes and the various terpene compounds. The results show that the optimum temperature of floral volatile emissions scales with temperature at flowering, and suggest that this scaling is the outcome of physiological adaptations of the biosynthetic or emission mechanisms of flowers. © CSIRO 2015.
Farre-Armengol G., Filella I., Llusia J., Penuelas J. (2015) Relationships among floral VOC emissions, floral rewards and visits of pollinators in five plant species of a Mediterranean shrubland. Plant Ecology and Evolution. 148: 90-99.LinkDoi: 10.5091/plecevo.2015.963
Background and aims–In plant-pollinator communities seasonal changes in the abundance of pollinators lead to seasonal changes in competition among flowering plants for their services. Here we address the following question: Do flowers of a given species produce more olfactory signals (emissions of volatile compounds) and rewards (nectar and pollen) during the phase(s) of the flowering period within which they have to maximally compete with the signals and rewards of other co-flowering species in the community, compared to the amount of signals and rewards produced during the period(s) with less floral competition? Methods–We analysed the floral emission rates of biogenic volatile organic compounds by gas chromatography and proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry, the visitation rates of pollinators, and the availability of nectar and pollen during the flowering periods of five species to test whether floral rewards and signals would decrease with an increase in pollinator visitation rates during late spring and early summer, i.e. coinciding with decreasing competitive pressure for the services of pollinators. Key results–The results indicate that phenological patterns in the production of rewards are only present at the species level in those species with long flowering periods or with matching periods of changes in pollinator populations. The capacity of emitting isoprenoids and oxidised volatile organic compounds, however, did not present significant patterns during the flowering period in any of the five species studied. Conclusions–The results support the hypothesis of a decreasing competitive pressure for the attraction of pollinators that may drive a decrease in floral investment in rewards but not an accompanying decrease of the capacity of emitting volatile olfactory signals in a species with long flowering period. However, the negative correlation between nectar production and visitation rates may be reinforced by the opposite responses of these variables to climatic conditions. This fact makes difficult to discern possible evolutionary forces tending to decrease rewards from plastic responses to changing environmental conditions in that part of the flowering period in which pollinator visitation rates are higher. © 2015 Botanic Garden Meise and Royal Botanical Society of Belgium.
Farre-Armengol G., Filella I., Llusia J., Penuelas J. (2015) Pollination mode determines floral scent. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 61: 44-53.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.bse.2015.05.007
The main objective of this study is to determine if the pollination vector influences the potential floral emissions of flowering plants. We hypothesized that flowers pollinated by insects would emit significantly higher amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and would present a higher diversity of these compounds than flowers pollinated by wind. The floral emissions of fifteen entomophilous species and eleven anemophilous species were captured by dynamic headspace sampling under field conditions and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. We searched for differences in the emission profiles between anemophilous and entomophilous flowers by considering the effects of phylogeny in our analysis. The floral emissions from the two groups were significantly different. Entomophilous species presented highly diverse emissions in both magnitude of emission rates and richness of compounds depending on the species, but overall, the flowers from entomophilous species had much higher VOC emission rates and VOC richness, both for terpenes and benzenoid compounds, than those from anemophilous species (two orders of magnitude higher emissions). The data thus confirm that the presence of intensely scented flowers with complex scents is strongly related to biotic pollination. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
Farre-Armengol G., Penuelas J., Li T., Yli-Pirila P., Filella I., Llusia J., Blande J.D. (2015) Ozone degrades floral scent and reduces pollinator attraction to flowers. New Phytologist. : 0-0.LinkDoi: 10.1111/nph.13620
In this work we analyzed the degradation of floral scent volatiles from Brassica nigra by reaction with ozone along a distance gradient and the consequences for pollinator attraction. For this purpose we used a reaction system comprising three reaction tubes in which we conducted measurements of floral volatiles using a proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer (PTR-TOF-MS) and GC-MS. We also tested the effects of floral scent degradation on the responses of the generalist pollinator Bombus terrestris. The chemical analyses revealed that supplementing air with ozone led to an increasing reduction in the concentrations of floral volatiles in air with distance from the volatile source. The results revealed different reactivities with ozone for different floral scent constituents, which emphasized that ozone exposure not only degrades floral scents, but also changes the ratios of compounds in a scent blend. Behavioural tests revealed that floral scent was reduced in its attractiveness to pollinators after it had been exposed to 120 ppb O3 over a 4.5 m distance. The combined results of chemical analyses and behavioural responses of pollinators strongly suggest that high ozone concentrations have significant negative impacts on pollination by reducing the distance over which floral olfactory signals can be detected by pollinators. © 2015 New Phytologist Trust.
Farré-Armengol G., Filella I., Llusia J., Primante C., Peñuelas J. (2015) Enhanced emissions of floral volatiles by Diplotaxis erucoides (L.) in response to folivory and florivory by Pieris brassicae (L.). Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 63: 51-58.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.bse.2015.09.022
The main function of floral emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in entomophilous plants is to attract pollinators. Floral blends, however, can also contain volatile compounds with defensive functions. These defensive volatiles are specifically emitted when plants are attacked by pathogens or herbivores. We characterized the changes in the floral emissions of Diplotaxis erucoides induced by folivory and florivory by Pieris brassicae. Plants were continually subjected to folivory, florivory and folivory + florivory treatments for two days. We measured floral emissions with proton transfer reaction/mass spectroscopy (PTR-MS) at different times during the application of the treatments. The emissions of methanol, ethyl acetate and another compound, likely 3-butenenitrile, increased significantly in response to florivory. Methanol and 3-butenenitrile increased 2.4- and 26-fold, respectively, in response to the florivory treatment. Methanol, 3-butenenitrile and ethyl acetate increased 3-, 100- and 9-fold, respectively, in response to the folivory + florivory treatment. Folivory alone had no detectable effect on floral emissions. All VOC emissions began immediately after attack, with no evidence of delayed induction in any of the treatments. Folivory and florivory had a synergistic effect when applied together, which strengthened the defensive response when the attack was extended to the entire plant. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
Sardans J., Janssens I.A., Alonso R., Veresoglou S.D., Rillig M.C., Sanders T.G.M., Carnicer J., Filella I., Farre-Armengol G., Penuelas J. (2015) Foliar elemental composition of European forest tree species associated with evolutionary traits and present environmental and competitive conditions. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 24: 240-255.LinkDoi: 10.1111/geb.12253
Aim: Plant elemental composition and stoichiometry are crucial for plant structure and function. We studied to what extent elemental stoichiometry in plants might be strongly related to environmental drivers and competition from coexisting species. Location: Europe. Methods: We analysed foliar N, P, K, Ca and Mg concentrations and their ratios among 50 species of European forest trees sampled in 5284 plots across Europe and their relationships with phylogeny, forest type, current climate and N deposition. Results: Phylogeny is strongly related to overall foliar elemental composition in European tree species. Species identity explained 56.7% of the overall foliar elemental composition and stoichiometry. Forest type and current climatic conditions also partially explained the differences in foliar elemental composition among species. In the same genus co-occurring species had overall higher differences in foliar elemental composition and stoichiometry than the non-co-occurring species. Main conclusions: The different foliar elemental compositions among species are related to phylogenetic distances, but they are also related to current climatic conditions, forest types, drivers of global change such as atmospheric N deposition, and to differences among co-occurring species as a probable consequence of niche specialization to reduce direct competition for the same resources. Different species have their own 'fixed' foliar elemental compositions but retain some degree of plasticity to the current climatic and competitive conditions. A wider set of elements beyond N and P better represent the biogeochemical niche and are highly sensitive to plant function. Foliar elemental composition can thus be useful for representing important aspects of plant species niches. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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