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Anahí Espíndola

Journal articles

In press
Natacha Revel, Nadir Alvarez, Marc Gibernau, Anahí Espíndola (2012)  Investigating the relationship between pollination strategies and the size-advantage model in zoophilous plants using the reproductive biology of Arum cylindraceum and other European Arum species as case studies   Arthropod-Plant Interactions 6: 1. 35-44  
Abstract: The size-advantage model (SAM) explains the temporal variation of energetic investment on reproductive structures (i.e. male and female gametes and reproductive organs) in long-lived hermaphroditic plants and animals. It proposes that an increase in the resources available to an organism induces a higher relative investment on the most energetically costly sexual structures. In plants, pollination interactions are known to play an important role in the evolution of floral features. Because the SAM directly concerns flower characters, pollinators are expected to have a strong influence on the application of the model. This hypothesis, however, has never been tested. Here, we investigate whether the identity and diversity of pollinators can be used as a proxy to predict the application of the SAM in exclusive zoophilous plants. We present a new approach to unravel the dynamics of the model and test it on several widespread Arum (Araceae) species. By identifying the species composition, abundance and spatial variation of arthropods trapped in inflorescences, we show that some species (i.e. A. cylindraceum and A. italicum) display a generalist reproductive strategy, relying on the exploitation of a low number of dipterans, in contrast to the pattern seen in the specialist A. maculatum (pollinated specifically by two fly species only). Based on the model presented here, the application of the SAM is predicted for the first two and not expected in the latter species, those predictions being further confirmed by allometric measures. We here demonstrate that while an increase in the female zone occurs in larger inflorescences of generalist species, this does not happen in species demonstrating specific pollinators. This is the first time that this theory is both proposed and empirically tested in zoophilous plants. Its overall biological importance is discussed through its application in other non-Arum systems.
Anahí Espíndola, Loïc Pellissier, Nadir Alvarez (2011)  Variation in the proportion of flower visitors of Arum maculatum along its distributional range in relation with community‐based climatic niche analyses.   OIKOS 120: 5. 728–734 May  
Abstract: Because speciesâspecific interactions between plants and insects require considerable physiological adaptations to establish and be maintained through time and space, highly specialized interactions are rare in nature. Consequently, even if some one-to-one interactions might appear locally specialized, additional partners may be involved at a wider scale. Here, we investigate the geographical constancy in the specificity level of the specialized lure-and-trap pollination antagonism involving the widespread European Arum maculatum and its associated Psychodid pollinators. Until now, studies concurred in demonstrating that one single insect species, Psychoda phalaenoides, efficiently cross-pollinated plants; researches were, however, performed locally in western Europe. In this study we characterize for the first time the flower visitorsâ composition at the scale of the distribution range of A. maculatum by intensively collecting plants and insects throughout the European continent. We further correlate local climatic characteristics with the community composition of visiting arthropods. Our results show that flowers are generally visited by P. phalaenoides females, but not over the whole distribution range of the plant. In some regions this fly species is less frequent or even absent and another species, Psycha grisescens, becomes the prevailing visitor. This variability is geographically structured and can be explained by climatic factors: the proportion of P. grisescens increases with higher annual precipitations and lower precipitations in the warmest trimester, two characteristics typical of the Mediterranean zone. Climate thus seems driving the specificity of this interaction, by potentially affecting the phenology of one or both interacting species, or even of volatile and heat production in the plant. This result therefore challenges the specificity of other presumably one-to-one interactions covering wide distribution ranges, and provides an example of the direct effect that the abiotic environment can have on the fate of plantâinsect interactions.
Anahí Espíndola, Sven Buerki, Marija Bedalov, Philippe Kupfer, Nadir Alvarez (2010)  New insights into the phylogenetics and biogeography of Arum (Araceae): unravelling its evolutionary history.   Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 163: 14-32  
Abstract: The heat- and odour-producing genus Arum (Araceae) has interested scientists for centuries. This long-term interest has allowed a deep knowledge of some complex processes, such as the physiology and dynamics of its characteristic lure-and-trap pollination system, to be built up. However, mainly because of its large distributional range and high degree of morphological variation, species' limits and relationships are still under discussion. Today, the genus comprises 28 species subdivided into two subgenera, two sections and six subsections. In this study, the phylogeny of the genus is inferred on the basis of four plastid regions, and the evolution of several morphological characters is investigated. Our phylogenetic hypothesis is not in agreement with the current infrageneric classification of the genus and challenges the monophyly of several species. This demonstrates the need for a new infrageneric classification based on characters reflecting the evolution of this enigmatic genus. To investigate the biogeography of Arum deeply, further spatiotemporal analyses were performed, addressing the importance of the Mediterranean basin in the diversification of Arum. Our results suggest that its centre of origin was the EuropeanâAegean region, and that major diversification happened during the last 10 Myr.
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