The Ecology and Evolution of Plant Volatiles

Edited by Robert. A. Raguso
JULY 2010

In the last decade, tantalizing glimpses of the invisible world of plant volatiles have been revealed through studies that have probed the functional ecology and evolutionary dynamics of chemical phenotypes. This hard-won progress comes largely through the growing realization among researchers that plants routinely use volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to communicate with friends, enemies, neighbors and, indeed, themselves. Once considered a heretical idea, “plant communication” is now the subject of edited volumes, special features and review articles, international symposia and university level courses world-wide. A consensus among these many voices is that VOCs constitute a primary medium of plant communication.

In this virtual special feature, we have supplemented the 6 original papers and introductory essay published in the October 2009 special feature entitled “Floral scent in a whole-plant context” with 8 additional papers of topical relevance published in Functional Ecology from 2005-2010.

Read the full introduction.


Floral scent in a whole-plant context: moving beyond pollinator attraction
R. A. Raguso

I. Pollinator attraction and its consequences

The evolution of floral scent: the influence of olfactory learning by insect pollinators on the honest signaling of floral rewards
G. A. Wright and F. P. Schiestl

The sweet smell of success: floral scent affects pollinator attraction and seed fitness in Hesperis matronalis
C. J. Majetic, R. A. Raguso and T. -L. Ashman

Sniffing out patterns of sexual dimorphism in floral scent
T. -L. Ashman

The chemical ecology of seed dispersal in monoecious and dioecious figs
R. M. Borges, J-M. Bessière and M. Hossaert-McKey

Integrating floral scent, pollination ecology and population genetics
M. R. Whitehead and Rod Peakall

II. Pulling and pushing with floral volatiles: fine tuning the visitor spectrum

Two orchids attract different pollinators with the same floral odour compound: ecological and evolutionary implications
F. P. Schiestl and R. Peakall

Private channel: a single unusual compound assures specific pollinator attraction in Ficus semicordata
C. Chen, Q. Song, M. Proffit, J. -M. Bessière, Z. Li and M. Hossaert-McKey

The importance of scent and nectar filters in a specialized wasp-pollination system
A. Shuttleworth and S. D. Johnson

Floral volatiles controlling ant behaviour
P. G. Willmer, C. V. Nuttman, N. E. Raine, G. N. Stone, J. G. Pattrick, K. Henson, P. Stillman, L. McIlroy, S. G. Potts and J. T. Knudsen

III. Odors beyond flowers: expanding roles for VOCs in a whole plant context

Do carnivorous plants use volatiles for attracting prey insects?
A. Jürgens, A. M. El-Sayed and D. Max Suckling

Extrafloral nectar from cotton (Gossipium hirsutum) as a food source for parasitic wasps
U. S. R. Röse, J. Lewis, J. H. Tumlinson

Field parasitism rates of caterpillars on Brassica oleraceae plants are reliably predicted by differential attraction of Cotesia parasitoids
E. H. Poelman, A. M. O. Oduor, C. Broekgaarden, C. A. Hordijk, J. J. Jansen, J. J. A. Van Loon, N. M. Van Dam, L. E. M. Vet and M. Dicke

Testing the potential for conflicting selection on floral chemical traits by pollinators and herbivores: predictions and a case study
A. Kessler and R. Halitschke

Manipulating the jasmonate response: how do methyl jasmonate additions mediate characteristics of aboveground and belowground mutualisms?
E. Toby Kiers, Lynn S. Adler, Emily L. Grman and Marcel G. A. van der Heijden

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