Abstracts (first author)
Sexual selection, sexual conflict and functional mechanisms of pollen-pistil interactions
Despite theoretical and empirical evidence, sexual selection in plants has remained controversial for the past 30 years. Few plant studies have considered sexual conflict, even though this development of sexual selection has flourished in recent years. In our study species, the hermaphroditic annual Collinsia heterophylla, our experiments suggest a sexual conflict over timing of stigma receptivity. Delaying timing of stigma receptivity is advantageous for the female function in terms of enhanced pollen competition leading to increased offspring quantity and quality. However, early fertilization would benefit the male function as competition with later arriving pollen is avoided. Interestingly, our recent results indicate that male and female conflict traits may be interrelated within an individual plant, possibly suggesting trade-offs in sex allocation or a co-dependence between genes causing these effects. In other species, studies on pollen-pistil signalling mechanisms have mainly focused on incompatibility reactions between or within species or pollen tube growth and guidance in the pistil, rather than on sexual conflict/sexual selection. We are currently aiming to understand more about functional mechanisms of pollen-pistil interactions related to sexual conflict by analysing the transcriptomes (RNA-seq) at different stages of pistil and pollen interactions.