UBC Theses and Dissertations
An investigation of highbush blueberry floral biology and reproductive success in British Columbia Huber, Gwendolyn
Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry) is and economically important crop in British Columbia and suffers from inconsistent and often inadequate pollination by the managed pollinator, the honeybee. The outcrossing strategy of blueberry requires a pollen vector; however honeybees are inefficient and choosey. One goal of this research was to investigate the variable attractiveness of blueberry flowers to pollinators, specifically focusing on odour, and the possibilities for improved pollination. Highbush blueberry flowers emit a wide range of volatile compounds that show heritability in the broad-sense. However, determining which compounds are important to pollinators is a challenging task and remains poorly understood. Pollinator choice was examined through monitoring of pollinators as well as determination of pollen movement through paternity analysis. There was no agreement between the analyses, which show that the genotypes Duke and Reka appear to attract more pollinators but the most common fathers are Bluecrop and Elliott. A second goal of this research was to examine reproductive success; and the discrepancy between attraction and reproduction could be due in part to the range in fertility observed among highbush blueberry genotypes. Inbreeding depression due to the use of a narrow breeding pool to develop genotypes is a potential cause of the observed range in fertility and offspring vigour. The degree to which inbreeding will increase homozygosity depends on the inheritance pattern of the tetraploid highbush blueberry; however, the current levels of inbreeding limit an accurate description of the inheritance pattern.
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