Orchid species are among the most evolved plant species on earth displaying advanced pollination systems and at the same time being dependent on mycorrhiza to complete their life cycle.Unfortunately, most species have suffered dramatic declines in abundance, making them extremely vulnerable to extinction. In past and ongoing research projects, I have combined population genetic analyses with demographic studies to determine the long-term viability of some orchid species. I’m particularly interested in spatial patterns of genetic structure of life-history stages and how they are affected by disturbances such as coppicing. In collaboration with others, I use molecular genetic techniques and point pattern analyses to assess spatial variation in seed germination and seedling recruitment. Demographic analyses using both structured and non-structured population models are used to assess long-term viability of orchid species. I’m also interested in the role of nectar production in determining reproductive success of orchid species. In collaboration with the Centre of Microbial and Plant Genetics, future projects aim at studying the role of mycorrhizal fungi in the diversification of orchid species. Recent studies have suggested that the enormous diversity of orchid species – the total number of species has been estimated at 19.500 species – might be partly driven by irregular fungal distributions, combined with high mycorrhizal specificities, but evidence is very scant.
|Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation||member||2009-07-01|
created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:web