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Pollination-Types and Importance

Aug 20, 2022
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 Key Concepts

  • Types of interactions
  • Symbiosis
  • Multualism
  • Pollination
  • Pollinators
  • Importance of pollination
  • Pollination and mutualism

Introduction:

Organisms living together in an ecosystem interact with the biotic and abiotic factors of that ecosystem. These interactions can be among the population or among the community. These interactions occur mainly for food and sometimes also for space, mates, territories, etc. 

Explanation: 

Types of interactions: 

Three main types of interactions have been described by ecologists through which species and individuals affect each other.  

They are as follows: 

  1. Predatory and prey relationships 
  1. Competitive relationships  
  1. Symbiotic relationships 

We have already learned about these three interactions. Predatory and prey relationships are important as they help to maintain a balance in the food chain. Competitive relationships can help develop new adaptations in organisms. 

3 Types of Interactions between Organisms 

       1. Predation                         2.Competition       3.Symbiosis 

parallel
 Types of interactions

Symbiosis: 

Symbiotic relationships refer to the long-term association between two or more species. 

Organisms involved in symbiotic relationships can either: 

  1. Benefit from the relationship 
  1. Remain unaffected by the relationship 
  1. Or be harmed by the relationship 

As per these criteria, symbiotic relationships are divided into three types, i.e., mutualism, commensalism and parasitism. 

Mutualism is a relationship in which both organisms benefit from each other. For example, pollination. 

Commensalism is an association in which only one organism benefits and the other remains unaffected. It is neither benefited nor harmed by this association. For example, smaller fish called remoras hitch-hike a ride on the shark. They also feed on scraps of food left on the shark’s body. 

parallel

Parasitism is an association where one organism is benefited, but the other is harmed. The host is harmed, and the parasite is benefitted. The parasite obtains nourishment from the host. For example, ticks living on dogs or cattle. 

Types of symbiosis

Mutualism: 

Mutualism is a type of symbiotic relationship which benefits both organisms. In this relationship, both species help each other in ways that benefit their survival. Various examples of mutualism can be found in nature. Some are listed below: 

  1. Lichens 
  1. Plants and pollinators 
  1. Ants and aphids 

Pollination: 

Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains from the anther to stigma in order to form gametes. This transfer can be in the same flower or a different flower. When pollens are transferred from the anther to the stigma of the same flower, it is called self-pollination. When pollens are transferred from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower, it is called cross-pollination. 

 Types of pollination

Pollinators: 

Pollen can be transferred by wind, water or with the help of pollinators. For example, in dandelions, the pollen is exposed, so when the wind blows, it blows the pollen from one place to another. In aquatic plants, the stream of water helps in the dispersal of pollen. 

Pollinators are animals that help in the dispersal of pollen grains from one flower to another. They plan an important role in cross-pollination and thus help maintain variation in plants species. Pollinators include insects, birds, small mammals, bats, etc. 

Pollen stuck on a bee 

Bees are the most important pollinators. When a bee sits on a flower to suck and collect nectar, the pollen on the flower sticks to the body of the bee. Now, when this bee sits on a different flower, the pollen gets dispersed on the stigma of that flower, and pollination takes place. 

Like bees, other insects that feed on nectar also help to transfer pollen grains. These include butterflies, moths, wasps, etc. These insects are attracted to the flowers because of their bright colors, strong fragrance and most importantly, their sugary nectar. 

Pollination

Birds, bats and other small mammals help in pollination. Some bird species also feed on nectar from flowers and help to transfer pollen in a similar way as insects do. When animals feed on the fruits of a plant, they can also transfer pollen. The pollen sticks to the bodies of animals and is transferred from one flower to another. 

However, some other species feed on fruits and seeds and help in the dispersal of seeds and not pollen. When an animal or a bird eats fruit, it also helps to disperse the seed from one location to another. This happens because the animals are constantly moving in search of food. Seeds are also dispersed from the waste excreted by birds. 

Seed dispersal by birds

Pollination is a mutualistic association: 

When pollination takes place, both plants and animals are benefitted from this relationship. The pollinators obtain food from the plants in the form of nectar, fruit or seeds. Whereas the plants are benefitted from this relationship as their pollen and seeds get dispersed. Dispersal of pollen ensures fertilization which leads to the formation of the next generation. 

Pollinators mainly help in cross-pollination. Cross-pollination introduces new genes and creates variation. It is very useful for unisexual plants. It improves the quality of offspring towards environmental factors. However, there is a great wastage of seeds during cross-pollination. 

Importance of pollination: 

Pollination is an important step in plant reproduction. When pollen is transferred from anther to stigma, it grows a long tube by which the pollen enters the ovary. The pollen then fuses with the egg cell, and fertilization takes place in the ovary. This eventually leads to the formation of seeds that now contain the embryo of the new offspring. The fruit that we eat is the ripened ovary of the flower. 

The seeds are present inside the fruit, i.e., the ovary. When the seeds germinate, the embryo gives rise to a new plant. The new plant matures into adult and bear flowers. As a result, the life cycle continues. Thus, we can say that pollination is an important aspect of plant reproduction. 

Reproductive cycle of flowering plants.  

Summary

  • Organisms living together in an ecosystem interact with the biotic and abiotic factors that have ecosystem.
  • These interactions occur mainly for food and sometimes also for space, mates territories etc.
  • Symbiotic relationship refer for the long term association between two or more species.
  • Symbiosis is of three types which includes mutualism, commensalism and parasitism.
  • Commensalism is a systematic relationship in which only one species benefits while the other species remains unaffected.
  • Parasitism is a type of symbiotic association wherein one species benefits, but the other species is harmed.
  • Pollination is the transfer of pollen grains from the anther to stigma in order to form gametes.
  • When pollens are transferred from the anther to the stigma of the same flower, it is called self-pollination.
  • When pollens are transferred from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower, it is called cross-pollination.
  • Pollinators are animals that help in the dispersal of pollen grains from one flower to another.
    When pollination takes place, both plants and animals are benefitted from this relationship.

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