Within-population spatial variation in pollinator visitation rates, pollen limitation on seed set, and flower longevity in an alpine species
Pollen limitation through insufficient pollen deposition on stigmas caused by too infrequent pollinator visitation may influence the reproductive outcome of plants. In this study we investigated how pollinator visitation rate, the degree of pollen limitation, and flower longevity varied spatially among three sites at different altitudes within a population of the dwarf shrub Dryas octopetala L. in alpine southern Norway. Significant pollen limitation on seed set only occurred at the mid-elevation site, while seed set at the other sites appeared to be mainly resource limited, thus indicating a spatial variation in pollen limitation. There was no association between the spatial variation in the extent of pollen limitation and pollinator visitation rate to flowers. However, pollinator visitation rates were related to flower longevity of Dryas; sites with low visitation rates had long-lived flowers and vice versa. Thus, our results suggest within-population spatial co-variation between pollinator visitation rates, pollen limitation, and a developmental response to these factors, flower longevity.