Come si comportano le piante per attirare i loro impollinatori

[english version]

Recentemente ho pubblicato, insieme a Olive Imanizabayo, Dennis Hansen, e Scott Armbruster, un articolo dove esaminiamo come il ‘comportamento’ dei fiori possa influenzarne l’impollinazione. Ci siamo concentrati, in particolare, sul movimento di certe strutture extraflorali, e su come questo possa modificare l’accesso ai fiori da parte degli insetti impollinatori. Continue reading

Plants that ‘behave’ to optimize pollination

[Italian translation]

Recently, together with Olive Imanizabayo, Dennis Hansen, and Scott Armbruster, I published an article where we explore the role of flowers’ ‘behaviour’ in their pollination. Specifically we looked at the movement of some extrafloral structures and how could it affect the access of flower visitors.

© 2012 Scott Hilburn.

Most plants rely on flowers to reproduce. For transferring pollen to ovules (future seeds), most flowering plants rely on animals, that for this reason are called pollinators. In the evolutionary push toward optimizing pollination success, plants develope “floral syndromes”, Continue reading

Testing the Metabolic Theory of Ecology: a worked example using R.

[Download the simulated data and the R script used in the following example]

Many biological variables depend on the size of the organisms and on the environmental temperature. For example, large organisms tend to grow more slowly, and live longer, than small ones. On the other hand, organisms tend to grow faster in warm climates compared to cold ones. Moreover, small organisms and organisms from warm climates consume more resources (per mass unit) than large organisms and those living in cold climates.
The effect of body mass and temperature at the individual level reflects at the ecological level, in variables such as the intrinsic growth rate of populations, the strength of competition and predator-prey interactions (e.g. Vucic-Pestic et al. 2011), and so on.
Scientists suggested that these patterns are explained by the role that body mass and temperature play on the metabolism of individuals, namely the ensemble of the chemical reactions that keep them alive. In 2004, Brown et al. summarized and formalized what they called the Metabolic Theory of Ecology (MTE), centered on the following equation:
Continue reading