Review: Novel consequences of bird pollination on plant mating

Pollination is an important evolutionary process as it allows gene flow. If pollen travels long distances, the likelihood of inbreeding is reduced and fitness may be increased. Pollen dispersal can be assisted by pollinators, and although most plants are pollinated by insects, birds are also important and contribute to pollination of around 500 vascular plant genera. In this review, Krauss et al. stress the importance of birds to pollen movement and how plant mating is affected by bird behavior. Bird pollination is a strong predictor of multiple paternity, which impacts genetic diversity and, in consequence, competition for maternal resources during seed maturation. Bird populations are also affected by climate change; a decline or range shift may also affect plant populations, especially in areas where plants rely on birds as pollinators, such as the tropics and the Southern Hemisphere. Keeping in mind the importance of birds for plant mating may help with restoration efforts under future climate change scenarios. (Summary by Gaby Auge) Trends Plant Sci. 10.1016/j.tplants.2017.03.005