Pollination, seed dispersal and diversification of angiosperms

  • Bawa K
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The origin, spread and diversification of angiosperms has often been attributed to their reproductive features, particularly their pollination and seed dispersal by animals. It has been argued that biotic dispersal of pollen and seed can increase the likelihood of speciation and reduce the probability of extinction. Several recent studies are considered that examine the relationship between modes of pollen and seed dispersal and patterns of angiosperm diversification. It appears that conflicting results stem from several factors that make it difficult to assess the role biotic pollination in angiosperm evolution. Firstly, pooling of all angiosperms obscures differences among groups that may be similar in growth habit, etc. Secondly, data at the familial level (rather than generic or specific level) is analysed leading to the creation of very large categories with mixed modes of pollen/seed dispersal. Finally, the broad classification of pollination and seed dispersal into biotic and abiotic categories assumes that variation among categories is greater than that within categories.

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