Plant Science Group Technical Talk: The chemistry of sexual deception in orchids

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Monday, 1 September 2014 - 10:30am

Speaker: Professor Rod Peakall, Environmental Biology, Research School of Biology, ANU. 

His research interests span the fields of pollination biology, chemical ecology, conservation biology, population genetics and evolutionary biology

Topic: The chemistry of sexual deception in orchids

Orchids are particularly well known for their diversity of floral forms and their many diverse and even bizarre mechanisms of achieving pollination. Sexual deception, the attraction of male pollinators by the false promise of sex, is perhaps the most intriguing of all orchid pollination strategies. Floral odours are well established as the primary cue for sexually attracting the male insect pollinators in these orchids, but we have only now begun to discover how many, and which compounds are involved in this interaction between orchid and pollinator. In this talk I will briefly describe our research on the unique biology and chemistry of sex in these orchids, and their pollinators, which has led to exciting discoveries in biology and chemistry.

The seminar will be illustrated with superb photographs and short video clips and will cover progress on both Eastern and Western Australian orchids.

Location: Theatrette, opposite Visitor Information Centre, ANBG (Note change of location)