Future directions

The view developed above is that floral divergence often will arise not from qualitatively different specificities for pollinators, but rather from quantitatively different selection regimes imposed by different suites of visitors; and that reproductive divergence often will arise not from different absolute specificities for pollinators, but rather from combinations of partial pollinator preferences and of (potentially adaptive) genetic divergence in plant populations, itself facilitated by the area-restricted foraging of pollinators. This scenario is directly tied to the observed foraging behavior of many pollinators. By applying an animal perspective, phenomena that once were considered rare and pathological, such as foraging "mistakes" and hybridization, come into new focus as common and normal events that are important to plant reproductive ecology and evolution.

By extension this suggests that the chance for new insights in pollination biology will be greatly accelerated if we can build lasting bridges to zoology - not the least because of the accelerated pace of progress in animal behavior and cognitive biology. The way to construct such bridges is for specialists to be encouraged to broaden their training and to form collaborations that span a broader range of expertise (Waser & Price 1998).

Indeed, it is my conviction that a closer marriage with behavioral biology will allow pollination biology to develop more realistic organizing principles to supplant the various versions of the "pollination syndromes" now in common use (Waser & Chittka 1998; Waser & Price 1998). As pollination biology moves beyond typologies, its practitioners may more easily be encouraged to expand their focus from the central tendencies in plant-pollinator relationships to include variation in those relationships through time and space, and to focus on mechanisms underlying variation. Nothing could be more important as we strive to conserve pollination systems in the face of increasing anthropogenic change (Kearns et al. 1998).

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