Not strictly bare-foot, most of us are wearing socks and padding around the Tovetorp Research Station in Sweden, where outdoor shoes are banned in the building. The Scandinavian Association for Pollination Ecology is holding its 28th annual meeting here, starting Thursday evening with three initial talks, and continuing all today. I’ve posted about SCAPE previously: it’s my favourite conference by a long margin, friendly and informal and attracting some great science. Although I missed it last year due to my trip to Brazil, coming back this year is a little like coming back to a family gathering, where as well as the elder aunts and uncles, there’s also a large group of younger nieces and nephews, and some long-lost cousins – it’s a great mix of older professors, and newer PhD students.
This is a quick post before we have dinner and the bar opens. In the last 24 hours I have learned a lot about pollination ecology that I didn’t know before, including:
- Vincetoxicum hirundinaria does not vary in its outcrossing rate, regardless of the size of population (Anne Muola, Swedish Agricultural University)
- Arum italicum and Arum maculatum hybridise in some populations (Marion Chartier, University of Vienna)
- variable weather conditions can result in low bumblebee numbers and increased fly pollination in a north American mountain plant community (Diane Campbell, University of California)
- nocturnal pollination by moths is more common than expected in Spanish mountain plant communities (Marcos Mendez, Rey Juan Carlos University)
- “double mutualists” that both pollinate plants and disperse their seeds seem to be more common on islands than elsewhere (Jens Olesen, Aarhus University)
- colour “purity” is more important than other aspects of flower colouration (Klaus Lunau, Heinrich-Heine University)
- there’s very little evidence to support any of the current hypotheses regarding the evolution of andromonoecy (Marcos Mendez, again!)
Those are just a few of the highlights from a conference that’s showcasing some of the best pollination ecology research currently being conducted. Looks like dinner’s ready so I’ll sign off for now. My talk is tomorrow at 4.30pm – wish me luck!