PMF IAS Current Affairs
PMF IAS Current Affairs
  • Context (DTE): The intricate dance between pollinators and plants is under threat due to climate change.
  • This critical mismatch in their cycles and behaviours has far-reaching consequences for both species.

Fruit Production Decline

  • In regions like the Himalayas, rising temperatures have led to the early flowering of plants.
  • It coincides with low pollinator availability.
  • For instance, apple and almond production has suffered due to reduced pollination.
  • Orchard owners now import honeybees and diversify pollinators to ensure fruit yield quality.

Genetic Diversity at Risk

  • Cross-pollination, where plants mix genes, is essential for genetic diversity.
  • Disruptions in plant-pollinator interactions hinder this process.
  • Self-pollination can lead to inbreeding depression, making species more susceptible to diseases and reducing their ability to combat climate change.
  • Inbreeding depression refers to the reduced biological fitness that can result from inbreeding, which occurs when closely related individuals breed.

Changing Traits

  • A study found that the species Velleia paradoxa altered flower colour by increasing UV-absorbing pigments to adapt to high UV radiation.
  • This made the flowers less attractive to pollinators.

Carbon Dioxide Impact

  • Elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels alter plant defence mechanisms and nutritional quality.
  • While plants produce more carbohydrates, the sugary food attracts herbivores like fruit flies and grasshoppers, discouraging other pollinators.

Invasive Species

  • Climate change facilitates the spread of invasive species, diverting pollinators from native plants.
  • This shift can create a feedback loop, leading to declines in both pollinator and plant populations.

What is Pollination?

  • Pollination refers to the transfer of pollen from the anther (the male part) of a flower to the stigma (the female part) of the same or another flower.
  • This process enables fertilisation and the production of seeds.
  • Without pollination, many plants would not be able to reproduce.

Types of Pollination

  • Self-pollination: pollen grains from the anther fall directly onto the stigma of the same flower.
  • Advantages:
  • Ensures that recessive characters are eliminated.
  • Wastage of pollen grains is minimal.
  • Maintains the purity of the genetic race.
  • No reliance on external factors (like wind or other agents).
  • Disadvantages:
  • Reduced genetic diversity due to lack of gene mixing.
  • Reduced vigour and vitality in offspring.
  • Lower immunity to diseases.
  • Cross-pollination occurs when pollen is transferred from the anther of one flower to the stigma of another flower (of the same species).
    • Types of Cross-Pollination:
    • Anemophily: Pollination by wind (common in grasses and some trees).
    • Zoophily: Pollination by animals, including insects (like bees, butterflies, and beetles), birds, and bats.
    • Anthropophily: Pollination by humans (rare but can happen unintentionally).
  • Advantages:
  • Increases genetic diversity.
  • Enhances vigour and adaptability.
  • Promotes disease resistance.
  • Open pollination: includes both self-pollination and cross-pollination.
    • Occurs when pollen is transferred naturally, without human intervention.
    • Open-pollinated plants contribute to biodiversity and adaptability.

Agents of Pollination

  • Animals: Insects (bees, butterflies, beetles), birds, bats, and even some mammals.
  • Wind: Wind-pollinated plants release lightweight pollen grains that are carried by air currents.
  • Water: Aquatic plants rely on water for pollination.
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