Chemical and evolutionary ecology of plant - insect interactions
Plants interact with a vast array of insects in antagonistic and mutualistic associations. Among the various channels that mediate the communication between animals and plans, chemical signals are often of key importance, yet their ecological and molecular background is little understood. My research interests focus on plant – pollinator interactions, since pollinators determine mating patterns in plant populations and can thus greatly influence floral evolution in plants. My interests regard pollinator behaviour, plant reproduction, and floral signals, including their molecular bases and patterns of variation. A fascinating phenomenon is the evolution of rewardless flowers that attract pollinators by imitating rewarding flowers (food deception) or female insects (sexual deception). In such mimetic systems, I am interested in the mechanisms and evolutionary consequences of floral mimicry (adaptive radiations) in different plant lineages.
Molecular Biology (cooperating Ueli Grossniklaus)
Plant Evolutionary Biology