Posted by: Team - Bowhead whale | July 20, 2010

Malformed pollen grains from a Pyrola hybrid

This morning we looked at a sample of pollen  from a hybrid between Pyrola grandiflora and P. minor. Many of the pollen grains were clearly deformed, and not roundish as the pollen of the parental species. In Pyrola, pollen are clumped four together in a so-called tetrade – many of the tetrades from the hybrid had grains that were shrunk or missing. Strangely, another sample of pollen from hybrids seemed to be normal.
Last year, we observed that there are three to four morphologically different types of hybrids in the hills behind Arctic station: one type has whitish styles, another red, one type has whitish anther, while another has yellow. We have therefore decided to test the pollen morphology of the different morphs of  hybrids to see if all individuals of one type have malformed pollen and tetrades. This could be the case if one of the pollen types was from a more advanced hybrid generation than the others, e.g. a second generation hybrid, which can be expected to have even stronger problems with reproduction than first generation hybrids.


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