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Variation in Nectar Volume and Composition of Impatiens capensis at the Individual, Plant, and Population Levels

Janet Lanza, Garon C. Smith, Suellen Sack and Andrew Cash
Oecologia
Vol. 102, No. 1 (1995), pp. 113-119
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4220935
Page Count: 7
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Variation in Nectar Volume and Composition of Impatiens capensis at the Individual, Plant, and Population Levels
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Abstract

Although the volume and chemical composition of nectars are known to vary among plant species and to affect pollinator response to plants, relatively little is known of the variation in volume, and sugar and amino acid composition within species. We collected nectar from Impatiens capensis in a nested design: three flowers from each of three plants from each of three populations. This design enabled us to quantify variation within individual plants, among plants within populations, and among populations. Using high performance liquid chromatography, we analyzed the sugar and amino composition of the 27 flowers. Analysis of variance showed that none of the parameters (volume, concentrations of three sugars and 24 amino compounds) varied within individuals. Variation in nectar volume was not significant among plants but was nearly significant among populations. Of the three sugars detected (sucrose, glucose, and fructose), the only significant variation was that of sucrose among populations. Concentrations of 12 amino compounds varied significantly at the plant level while 7 amino compounds varied among populations. The results indicate that: (1) pooling of nectar samples from flowers of individual plants can be an acceptable methodology for those seeking to understand within species variation; (2) amino compounds appear to vary more than either volumes or sugar concentrations; (3) future studies should assess how much of the observed variation is due to genetic versus environmental differences; (4) additional studies should examine the geographic variation in nectar parameters and pollinators of I. capensis in order to assess the role different pollinators play in shaping nectar composition.

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