Part 3 of the 2010 ACEBB seminar series, Dr Paul Rymer presents "Pollinator-mediated floral evolution and speciation in southern African Iridaceae."
Abstract: Explaining the rapid diversification of flowering plants remains one of the greatest challenges facing evolutionary biologists. The pollinator-shift hypothesis developed by Grant (1949) and Stebbins (1970) is the most widely accepted explanation. However, pollinator mediated selection is yet to be shown to result in speciation. The focus of my investigation has been biodiversity hotspots in southern Africa, primarily because they harbour exceptional plant species diversity and endemism, and therefore the promise of detecting speciation in action. In an attempt to unravel the processes driving the evolution of floral traits and speciation, I have taken a multi-faceted approach. I will present my findings from three very different studies:
1. Macroevolution in Sparaxis (Iridaceae),
2. Population genetics in Gladiolus carinatus species complex (Iridaceae),
3. Mating patterns in Gladiolus longicollis (Iridaceae). These studies highlight the role of pollination in recent and continuous speciation events.