In some insect species males and females from the same population coevolve antagonistically, that is, male manipulative traits and female defensive traits evolve simultaneously. Could this also be the case in plants? The possibility of such conflicts occurring during pollen competition in the pistil exists and these conflicts may further have evolutionary implications for plants.
Collinsia heterophylla (Plantaginaceae) is an annual hermaphrodite with a mixed mating system. The plants have delayed stigma receptivity, which presumably is beneficial for the female function. Previous studies have shown that some pollen donors are able to fertilise seeds before stigmas are fully receptive; the female control on timing of stigma receptivity is thus not complete.
In my PhD project I study timing of stigma receptivity vs. manipulative pollen germination before full stigma receptivity in relation to the evolutionary significance of a possible sexual conflict between the sexual functions.
Last modified 6 Dec 2012