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It's Not Easy Being Blue: Are There Olfactory and Visual Trade-Offs in Plant Signalling?

Valenta K, Brown KA, Melin AD, Monckton SK, Styler SA, Jackson DA, Chapman CA - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Trade-offs in signal investment could impose important physiological constraints on plants, yet have been largely ignored.Blue pigments are the most visually-effective--blue is a colour that is visually salient to all known seed dispersing animals within the study system.Additionally, plants with blue-reflecting fruits are less odiferous than plants that reflect primarily in other regions of the colour spectrum.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Understanding the signals used by plants to attract seed disperses is a pervasive quest in evolutionary and sensory biology. Fruit size, colour, and odour variation have long been discussed in the controversial context of dispersal syndromes targeting olfactory-oriented versus visually-oriented foragers. Trade-offs in signal investment could impose important physiological constraints on plants, yet have been largely ignored. Here, we measure the reflectance and volatile organic compounds of a community of Malagasy plants and our results indicate that extant plant signals may represent a trade-off between olfactory and chromatic signals. Blue pigments are the most visually-effective--blue is a colour that is visually salient to all known seed dispersing animals within the study system. Additionally, plants with blue-reflecting fruits are less odiferous than plants that reflect primarily in other regions of the colour spectrum.

No MeSH data available.


Bivariate scatter plots showing the relationship between overall odour emission (VOC) and reflectance in each of the four colour reflectance bands.UV (300-400nm), blue (400-500nm), green (500-600nm), and red (600-700nm). Percent reflectance was calculated as regions of the spectrum reflecting in the specified 100nm band divided by the sum of reflectance in the visible range (400-700nm).
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pone.0131725.g003: Bivariate scatter plots showing the relationship between overall odour emission (VOC) and reflectance in each of the four colour reflectance bands.UV (300-400nm), blue (400-500nm), green (500-600nm), and red (600-700nm). Percent reflectance was calculated as regions of the spectrum reflecting in the specified 100nm band divided by the sum of reflectance in the visible range (400-700nm).

Mentions: There was a significant negative relationship between blue reflectance and overall VOC index (r = -0.32, p = 0.02). We observed no significant relationship between VOC index and any of the other reflectance ranges: UV (r = -0.01, p = 0.94), green (r = 0.14, p = 0.32), or red reflectance (r = 0.04, p = 0.76; Fig 3). The surface-area-to-weight ratio was a highly significant predictor of the VOC index. Smaller fruits with higher surface-area-to-weight ratios had substantially higher VOC emissions (r = 0.50, p < 0.001) (Table 3).


It's Not Easy Being Blue: Are There Olfactory and Visual Trade-Offs in Plant Signalling?

Valenta K, Brown KA, Melin AD, Monckton SK, Styler SA, Jackson DA, Chapman CA - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bivariate scatter plots showing the relationship between overall odour emission (VOC) and reflectance in each of the four colour reflectance bands.UV (300-400nm), blue (400-500nm), green (500-600nm), and red (600-700nm). Percent reflectance was calculated as regions of the spectrum reflecting in the specified 100nm band divided by the sum of reflectance in the visible range (400-700nm).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4482676&req=5

pone.0131725.g003: Bivariate scatter plots showing the relationship between overall odour emission (VOC) and reflectance in each of the four colour reflectance bands.UV (300-400nm), blue (400-500nm), green (500-600nm), and red (600-700nm). Percent reflectance was calculated as regions of the spectrum reflecting in the specified 100nm band divided by the sum of reflectance in the visible range (400-700nm).
Mentions: There was a significant negative relationship between blue reflectance and overall VOC index (r = -0.32, p = 0.02). We observed no significant relationship between VOC index and any of the other reflectance ranges: UV (r = -0.01, p = 0.94), green (r = 0.14, p = 0.32), or red reflectance (r = 0.04, p = 0.76; Fig 3). The surface-area-to-weight ratio was a highly significant predictor of the VOC index. Smaller fruits with higher surface-area-to-weight ratios had substantially higher VOC emissions (r = 0.50, p < 0.001) (Table 3).

Bottom Line: Trade-offs in signal investment could impose important physiological constraints on plants, yet have been largely ignored.Blue pigments are the most visually-effective--blue is a colour that is visually salient to all known seed dispersing animals within the study system.Additionally, plants with blue-reflecting fruits are less odiferous than plants that reflect primarily in other regions of the colour spectrum.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Anthropology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Understanding the signals used by plants to attract seed disperses is a pervasive quest in evolutionary and sensory biology. Fruit size, colour, and odour variation have long been discussed in the controversial context of dispersal syndromes targeting olfactory-oriented versus visually-oriented foragers. Trade-offs in signal investment could impose important physiological constraints on plants, yet have been largely ignored. Here, we measure the reflectance and volatile organic compounds of a community of Malagasy plants and our results indicate that extant plant signals may represent a trade-off between olfactory and chromatic signals. Blue pigments are the most visually-effective--blue is a colour that is visually salient to all known seed dispersing animals within the study system. Additionally, plants with blue-reflecting fruits are less odiferous than plants that reflect primarily in other regions of the colour spectrum.

No MeSH data available.