Pollinator Foraging Behavior: Genetic Implications for Plants

  • Donald A. Levin


pollinator foraging theory has been used as a tool to predict ecological phenomena, especially competitive interactions among pollinators, in addition to foraging behavior. The theory has also been used to predict the behavior of pollinators confronted with an ensemble of plant traits and to predict the manner in which pollinators alter their behavior in response to changes in the features of single plants, in population density, and in species mixtures (Levin and Anderson, 1970; Heinrich and Raven, 1972; Pyke et al., 1977). On the other hand, the many implications of foraging theory in the study of the genetic structure of plant populations have only been incompletely addressed. My purpose here is to explore the genetic implications of several components of foraging behavior, which may be best understood from the theory of optimal foraging. Foraging theory will be discussed in light of empirical data on pollinator behavior and will then be used to draw inferences about pollen and gene flow within and between populations of the same species and between populations of different species. For the most part, foraging models have not been tested in plants, but the data do suggest considerable concordance.


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Copyright information

© Columbia University Press 1979

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  • Donald A. Levin

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