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Blooms and Buzzing Bees: Bridging Buzz Pollination and Biotremology

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Part of the Animal Signals and Communication book series (ANISIGCOM,volume 8)

Abstract

Approximately 6% of the world’s flowering plant species have specialised stamen morphologies that require mechanical stimulation (vibration) by bees in order to release pollen concealed within. This has given rise to the study of the phenomenon of buzz pollination. Although buzz pollination sits squarely within the discipline of biotremology, this link rarely has been made explicit. Our aim in this chapter is to bridge the gap that historically has existed between buzz pollination research and the discipline of biotremology. We will discuss what we know about bee-induced floral vibrations and compare them to other kinds of plant-borne vibrational signals. We will also highlight how certain experimental approaches developed by biotremology researchers have helped buzz pollination investigators better understand the complex behavioural and ecological interactions occurring between buzz pollinated plants and their bee visitors. We will then provide an overview of research methodologies for buzz pollination scientists and describe some of the more commonly used experimental approaches for recording and playback of bee-induced floral vibrations. By highlighting the many common themes existing between studies in buzz pollination and biotremology we hope to stimulate others to explore the many exciting new research avenues in this unique biotic interaction.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Peggy Hill for inviting us to contribute to this chapter about buzz pollination and its important links to the discipline of biotremology. PAD appreciates the generosity of the University of The Bahamas for supporting this work. MVM was supported by a Leverhulme Trust Research Grant (RPG-2018-235). Kristen Brochu read an earlier version of this work and provided helpful comments that improved its clarity. This chapter was also greatly improved from the insights and suggestions offered by Peggy Hill. We dedicate this chapter to Dr. Reginald B. Cocroft, whose pioneering work examining vibrational communication in treehoppers inspired a new generation of biotremology researchers, including us. Thank you, Rex.

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De Luca, P.A., Vallejo-Marín, M. (2022). Blooms and Buzzing Bees: Bridging Buzz Pollination and Biotremology. In: Hill, P.S.M., Mazzoni, V., Stritih-Peljhan, N., Virant-Doberlet, M., Wessel, A. (eds) Biotremology: Physiology, Ecology, and Evolution. Animal Signals and Communication, vol 8. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-97419-0_11

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