Phylogenetic signal in floral temperature patterns

Sean A Rands, Michael J M Harrap*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Floral structures may be warmer than their environment, and can show thermal patterning, where individual floral structures show different temperatures across their surface. Pollinators can differentiate between artificial flowers that mimic both naturally warmed and thermally patterned ones, but it has yet to be demonstrated that these patterns are biologically meaningful. To explore the relationship between pollinators and temperature patterning, we need to know whether there is diversity in patterning, and that these patterns are not simply a by-product of floral architecture constrained by ancestry. We analysed a dataset of 97 species to explore whether intrafloral temperature differences were correlated within clades (phylogenetic signal), or whether the variation seen was diverse enough to suggest that floral temperature patterns are influenced by the abiotic or pollinator-related niches to which plant species are adapted.

Some phylogenetic signal was observed, with both the Asteraceae and species of Pelargonium being more similar than expected by chance, but with other species surveyed not showing signal. The Asteraceae tend to have large temperature differences across the floral surface, which may be due to floral architecture constraints within the family. Other families show no correlation, suggesting that patterning is influenced by pollinators and the environment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number39
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Research Notes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2021


  • Thermography
  • Flowering Plants
  • Temperature patterns
  • Pollinator-flower interactions
  • Phylogenetic signal

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