Pollinators Increase Reproductive Success of a Self-Compatible Mangrove, Sonneratia ovata, in Southern Thailand
Keywords:bat pollination, herkogamy, Macroglossus minimus, mangrove apple, pollination experiment
Sonneratia ovata is a true mangrove species that is dwindling in numbers. To save this species, understanding its ecology and reproduction is necessary. We hypothesized that S. ovata is self-compatible but is more reproductively successful with biotic pollination. To confirm that, a pollination experiment was conducted and reproductive success was measured through pollination success, fruit set, and seed set. Floral visitors were observed. Pollination success in the hand-self treatment was higher compared to all other treatments, confirming its self-compatibility. However, pollination success was not significantly different for non-hand-pollinated treatments. Fruit set was higher in the animal-pollination treatments than in the spontaneous autogamy treatment, possibly due to herkogamy. Seed set results were similar to fruit set results for non-hand-pollinated treatments, indicating higher reproductive success when animal-pollinated. Only Macroglossus minimus was caught near S. ovata flowers, suggesting that S. ovata may be dependent on a single species of bat for pollination. Therefore, it is important to protect, not only this mangrove species, but also their bat pollinators and the forests where these bats roost.
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