The role of visual and olfactory signals in evolution of food-based floral mimicry



    The diversity of flowers is one of the most striking features of the angiosperm radiation. Flowers vary in colour, pattern, shape, and scent, which alone or in combination often act as signal(s) for attraction of pollinators. Thus, an understanding of the evolution of floral signals requires additional insights from animal sensory ecology. Despite the striking variability in floral signals and a long history of research into their function, knowledge about factors that
    underlie their evolution remains scarce.
    In this project, we use deceptive globe orchid (Traunsteinera globosa) and its putative model species as a system for testing the importance of visual and olfactory cues in evolution of food-based floral mimicry. We aim to answer following questions: (Q1) Is the globe orchid sharing scent compounds with model plants that can be perceived (are electrophysiologically active in antennae) by its pollinators?; (Q2) Do electrophysiologically active floral scent
    compounds act as attractants for pollinators in the field?; (Q3) Are the regional differences in scent of the globe orchid driven by the presence of different model species?; and (Q4) What is the relative importance of the visual and olfactory signals in this food-based mimicry system?

    Dynamic headspace, Gas chromatography coupled to mass sepctrometry, gas chromatography coupled to electroantennographic detection, behavioural assays

    It is planned to expand this research project to other species and other plant families to learn more about the 'Role of floral signals in the evolution of floral mimicry' in general.
    It is planned to expand it to Germany (Johannes Spaethe, Manfred Ayasse) to perform more detailed research on the visual side of the mimicry system and include sexually deceptive orchids. We also plan to include France (Marc Gibernau) and study also deceptive Araceae.
    KurztitelThe role of visual and olfactory signals in evolution of food-based floral mimicry
    Tatsächlicher Beginn/ -es Ende1/01/1631/12/17

    Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige 2002

    • 14 Biologie, Botanik, Zoologie
    • 1460 Biostatistik

    Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige 2012

    • 106 Biologie

    Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige 2012 (6-Steller)

    • 106007 Biostatistik