Introduction to Pollination Biology
Professor Tatyana Livshultz

This course will be held at the Independence Branch of the Free Library, located at 18 S. 7th Street (7th and Market Streets), Philadelphia. 

No preregistration necessary. Register by attending the fist course.


  1. Wednesday, January 29, 2014 - What We Talk About When We Talk About Pollination

    Introduction to the process of pollination and its discovery during the Enlightenment.

  2. Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - Sex and the Sessile Plant
    In interactions between plants and pollinators, we think of the plant as the passive partner and the animal as the active one. In fact, plants manipulate pollinator behavior to maximize pollen transfer. This lecture will explore the variety of mechanisms that immobile plants have evolved to control their reproduction.  

  3. Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - Birds do it, Bees do it

    A great diversity of flower forms are pollinated by a great diversity of animals. This has led to the idea of “pollination syndromes”. This class will examine the most commonly recognized pollination syndromes and the spectacular adaptations of figs and yuccas for pollination by specialized insects.

  4. Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - 50 Ways to Leave Your Pollinator
    Pollinator shifts, switches from one pollinating animal to another, have been proposed as one of the driving forces behind flowering plant speciation. We will discuss studies of pollinator shifts from bees to hummingbirds in two genera of North American wild flowers and what they tell us about how and why pollinator shifts happen.

  5. Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - Giving and Getting (and Lying, Cheating, and Stealing)
    Pollination is usually a mutualistic interaction that benefits both parties. However, the leap from mutualism to parasitism is not that great. This class will look at the rewards that pollinators receive from flowers, the ways that plants lie and cheat their pollinators into providing services without rewards, and the ways animals steal rewards without providing pollination services.

  6. Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - The World Plants and Pollinators Made
    Pollination is an essential ecosystem service upon which human society depends. This lecture will look at the many ways we benefit from pollination and how human modification of the landscape is transforming plant-pollinator interactions.

Pollination evolved 360 million years ago with the evolution of seed plants and is ubiquitous in all landscapes dominated by them. This course will survey the science of pollination biology, including the discovery of plant pollination in the late 17th Century, plant adaptations to animal pollination and how they evolve, the diversity of pollinating animals, the many ways that plants manipulate animals to achieve pollination, and the importance of pollination to human society. 

Recommended reading:

Floral Biology: Studies on Floral Evolution in Animal-Pollinated Plants. By David G. Lloyd and Spencer C.H. Barrett, eds. New York: Chapman & Hall, 1996.

Plant-Pollinator Interactions: From Specialization to Generalization. By Nickolas M. Waser and Jeff Ollerton, eds. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2006.

Plant-Animal Interactions. By W. G. Abrahamson, ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1989.

For the first class, please read Chapters 1 & 2 in Lloyd & Barrett.



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