Prof. Dr. Philipp Schlüter (University of Hohenheim)
in: 'Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution': "Pollination, genes and speciation: insights from rewarding and deceptive orchids"
by Prof. Dr. Philipp Schlüter (University of Hohenheim)
Pollination by insects is believed to be an important factor that contributed to the radiation of the flowering plants, implying that pollinator-driven ecological speciation may have been a significant process for the origin of plant biodiversity. In my talk I shall evaluate the plausibility of this using examples from the large orchid family, which offers an excellent study system for addressing the role of pollinators in diversification. Focusing upon European rewarding Gymnadenia and sexually deceptive Ophrys orchids, I am going to ask if pollinators can mediate reproductive isolation and drive speciation, which traits are relevant to pollinators and what is their genetic basis? Finally, I am going to ask about the source of genetic variation affecting these traits. I hope to show that overall, pollinator choice can significantly impact upon the fate of plant populations, including the capacity to drive species divergence.