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‣ The evolutionary biology of pollination: studies in a genus of australian sexually deceptive orchids

Whitehead, Michael Robert
Fonte: Universidade Nacional da Austrália Publicador: Universidade Nacional da Austrália
Tipo: Thesis (PhD); Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Relevância na Pesquisa
There are few other structures in nature from which evolution has generated such wide diversity as the flower or inflorescence, and this diversity is commonly attributed to the influence of their animal visitors. By outsourcing their mate choice to pollinators, plants have left themselves - and especially their flowers - subject to the selective forces imposed by the behaviour, cognition and perception of the pollinators that serve them. The orchids provide some of the most remarkable and extreme examples of adaptations to specific animal pollinators. Perhaps one of the most peculiar of these strategies is sexual deception, whereby male insects are lured to the flower by mimicry of the female sex pheromone. This seemingly unlikely strategy has evolved multiple times independently on different continents in different parts of the orchid phylogeny which raises the question of what adaptive advantages might underlie such a strategy. This multidisciplinary thesis studies gene flow and pollinator behaviour in two sympatric sexually deceptive orchids in the genus Chiloglottis. The two species attract their specific wasp pollinators through emission of distinct species - specific semiochemicals. Since floral volatiles play a pre-eminent role in pollinator attraction...