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Meta-analysis reveals severe pollen limitation for the flowering plants growing in East Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains region.

BMC Ecology 2020 September 30
BACKGROUND: Pollen limitation occurs widely and has an important effect on flowering plants. The East Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains region is a global biodiversity hotspot. However, to our knowledge, no study has synthetically assessed the degree of pollen limitation in this area. The present study aims to reveal the degree of pollen limitation for the flowering plants growing on East Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains and to test whether the reproductive features or the elevation is closely correlated with the degree of pollen limitation in this area.

RESULTS: We complied data from 76 studies, which included 96 species and 108 independent data records. We found that the flowering plants in this area undergo severe pollen limitation [overall Hedges' d = 2.004, with a 95% confidence interval (1.3264, 2.6743)] that is much higher than that of the flowering plants growing in many other regions around the world. The degree of pollen limitation was tested to determine the correlation with the capacity for autonomous self-reproduction and with the pollination pattern (generalized vs. specialized pollination) of plants. In addition, we found a clear relationship between elevation and the degree of pollen limitation, which indicates that plants might undergo more severe pollen limitation in relatively high places.

CONCLUSIONS: This paper is the first to address the severe pollen limitation of the flowering plants growing in East Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains region. Moreover, we reveal the positive correlation between elevation and the degree of pollen limitation.

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