2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference

Science

Pollination of Blue Sage by Bee Pollinators and Nectar Robbers
Laura C. Groening
Dr. Steven Carroll, Faculty Mentor

Blue sage (Salvia azurea) is a Midwest plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae) that produces many flowers on terminal, branched inflorescences. We observed blue sage plants on nine days and asked several questions about its four primary insect visitors. Two species of bees (a bumblebee and a small, unidentified bee) act as legitimate pollinators; two other bees (honeybees and carpenter bees) act as nectar robbers, obtaining nectar by biting through the base of the floral tube. All four species tend to move upward within inflorescences once they land on a flower. Nectar robbers spend significantly more time on individual flowers (3.7 s) than do legitimate pollinators (2.1 s) (t = 7.8, df = 532, p < 0.001). Blue sage attracts a variety of visitors, the behaviors of which vary and are likely to affect reproductive success in different ways. Future plans call for quantification of pollen flow and floral phenology.

Keywords: Salvia azurea, pollination, blue sage, nectar robbers

Topic(s):Biology

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 36-1
Location: VH 1432
Time: 2:15

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