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Coevolution, Coadaptation and Specialization in a Bee-Orchid Mutualism

Dr. Santiago Ramirez, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkley

Monday, October 8, 2012
  4:10–5 p.m.

Location: Genomics Building 1102A
  Parking Information

Category: Seminar


Male orchid bees (Hymenoptera: Euglossini) collect volatile compounds from both floral and non-floral sources, which they subsequently expose as pheromone analogues (perfumes) during courtship display. In the process of fragrance collection, male bees act as the exclusive pollinators of ~700 orchid species by vectoring their pollinaria. I analyzed phylogenetic data, chemical characters, and ecological affiliation networks to reconstruct the evolutionary history of this mutualistic association. My research has focused on testing the hypothesis that reciprocal selection (coevolution) shaped the intricate association between bee and orchid lineages. Results suggest that perfume phenotypic variation contributes to both reproductive isolation among sympatric lineages of euglossine bees and pollinator-mediated speciation in euglossine-pollinated orchids. Current research is focused on elucidating the underlying mechanisms that govern divergence, specificity, and adaptation of chemical phenotypes by combining genetic, chemical, and neurophysiological approaches.

Open to: Faculty/Staff Only
Admission: Free
Sponsor: Entomology Department

Contact Information:
Dr. Dong-Hwan Choe