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Swiss Orchid Foundation
at the Herbarium Jany Renz

Botanical Institute
University of Basel

Kirschblütenweg 12
CH-4059 Basel

© 2015 Swiss Orchid Foundation

botinst
Botanical Institute
University of Basel

SORA Awardee 2010

Dr. Claire Micheneau

Australian Tropical Herbarium
Cairns
Australia

Project: Pollination systems of angraecoid orchids - from Darwin to the present day

Since the famous prediction of Darwin, the spectacularly long nectar spurs of Madagascan Angraecum orchids have represented a classic example of floral adaptation to long-tongued hawkmoth pollination. Although specialisations for a specific group of pollinators can be viewed as a key innovation that has been responsible for the evolutionary success of a lineage, extreme specialisations in turn can be linked with loss of evolutionary potential, decreasing the ability of species to adapt to future environmental change. Here we report a surprising pollinator shift in the orchid genus Angraecum from hawkmoth to bird and raspy-cricket pollination (in the insect order Orthoptera). This evolutionary shift occurred after this group of orchids dispersed to a new insular habitat that harboured both different environmental conditions and groups of pollinators than were present in their native island, Madagascar. This specialised plant-pollinator interaction further represents the first clear case of orthopteran-mediated pollination in flowering plants.

SORA Sponsors 2010

The Swiss Orchid Foundation wishes to thank the following companies for sponsoring the Swiss Orchid Research Award 2010 (in alphabetical order):

Presentation

Here you can find Dr. Micheneau's lecture on angraecoid orchids:

Pollination systems of angraecoid orchids: from Darwin to the present day (pdf, 93.4 MB)

SORA 2010 Award Presentation

Dr. Claire Micheneau Dr. Claire Micheneau, Prof. Dr. Christian Körner