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Title: Macroevolution of floral scent chemistry across radiations of male euglossine bee-pollinated plantsMacroevolución de olores florales a través de radiaciones de plantas polinizadas por abejas euglosinas machosMacroevolução dos voláteis florais em radiações de plantas polinizadas por machos de abelhas Euglossini

Floral volatiles play key roles as signaling agents that mediate interactions between plants and animals. Despite their importance, few studies have investigated broad patterns of volatile variation across groups of plants that share pollinators, particularly in a phylogenetic context. The “perfume flowers,” Neotropical plant species exhibiting exclusive pollination by male euglossine bees in search of chemical rewards, present an intriguing system to investigate these patterns due to the unique function of their chemical phenotypes as both signaling agents and rewards. We leverage recently developed phylogenies and knowledge of biosynthesis, along with decades of chemical ecology research, to characterize axes of variation in the chemistry of perfume flowers, as well as understand their evolution at finer taxonomic scales. We detect pervasive chemical convergence, with many species across families exhibiting similar volatile phenotypes. Scent profiles of most species are dominated by compounds of either the phenylpropanoid or terpenoid biosynthesis pathways, while terpenoid compounds drive more subtle axes of variation. We find recapitulation of these patterns within two independent radiations of perfume flower orchids, in which we further detect evidence for the rapid evolution of divergent floral chemistries, consistent with the putative importance of scent in the process of adaptation and speciation.

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Oxford University Press
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Medium: X Size: p. 98-110
["p. 98-110"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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    Read the freePlain Language Summaryfor this article on the Journal blog.

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    Aplain language summaryis available for this article.

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