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Darwin's Sexy Orchids: Case Study On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection

Darwin's Sexy Orchids: Case Study On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection



Presentation on Charles Darwin's various research projects on Orchidaceae.

Presentation on Charles Darwin's various research projects on Orchidaceae.



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    Darwin's Sexy Orchids: Case Study On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection Darwin's Sexy Orchids: Case Study On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection Presentation Transcript

    • Darwin’s Sexy Orchids:Case Study On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection Harvey Brenneise, Associate Dean for Research Services University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg) & Research Associate, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (CA)
    • Charles Robert Darwin (1809-82) Childhood and youth Education Voyage of the Beagle Marriage Move to the country Experiments
    • Life (cont.) Publications Scientific friends Publication of Origin of Species Publication of Orchids Life after Orchids
    • Darwin as a child
    • “By the time I went to … school mytaste for natural history, and moreespecially for collection, was welldeveloped. . . . The passion forcollecting, which leads a man to be asystematic naturalist, a virtuoso or amiser, was very strong in me, andwas clearly innate, as none of mysisters or brother ever had this taste.”
    • University of Edinburgh (1825-27)
    • Cambridge (1828-31)
    • Rev. John Stevens Henslow (1796-1861)
    • Darwin as a young man
    • Orchis morio L. (1753)
    • Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle (1831-36)
    • Capt. Robert FitzRoy (1805-65)
    • Darwin’s room on board
    • Voyage of the Beagle, 1831-36
    • Orchidaceae taxa collected: by date of collection Epidendrum difforme Jacq. [1760] (Brazil, May/June 1832) Codonorchis lessonii Lindl. [1840] (Tierra del Fuego, Jan./Feb. 1833) Chloraea gaudichaudii Brongn. [1834] (Argentina, Dec. 1833 or Jan. 1834) Chloraea magellanica Hook. f. [1846] (Chile, Jan. 30, 1834) Isolectotype Bipinnula fimbriata I.M. Johnst. [1929] (Chile, Aug. 1834) Epidendrum spicatum Hook. f. [1847] (Galápagos, Oct. 1835) Holotype [Endemic]
    • “Started about ½ after sixand passed over scorchingplains—cactuses and othersucculent plants: on the stuntedand decaying trees beautifulparasites—orchids with adelicious smell.”
    • Epidendrum difforme (May/June 1832)
    • Codonorchis lessonii (Jan./Feb. 1833)
    • Darwin’s field notes
    • Chloraea gaudichaudii (Dec. 1833-Jan. 1834)
    • Jan. 30, 1834
    • Bipinnula fimbriata (Aug. 1834)
    • Orchidaceae in the GalápagosWiggins and Porter, Flora of the Galápagos Islands (1971) Cranichis schlimii Rchb. f. (1876) Epidendrum spicatum Hook. f. (1847) Endemic Erythrodes weberiana Garay (1970) Endemic (Isabella) Govenia utriculata (Sw.) Lindl. (1839) Habenaria alata Hook. (1826) Habenaria monorrhiza (Sw.) Rchb. f. (1885) Ionopsis utriculariodes (Sw) Lindl. (1826) Liparis nervosa (Thunb.) Lindl. (1830) Ponthieva maculata Lindl. (1845) Presscottia oligantha (Sw.) Lindl. 1840 Tropidia polystachya (Sw.) Ames (1908)
    • Epidendrum spicatum (Oct. 1835)
    • Trans. Linn. Soc. London 20(2): 180. 1847 [1851 publ. 11 Dec 1847]
    • What next? First love, Fanny Owens, had become engaged while on the voyage. What to do? The practical thing.
    • Reasons to get married Children (if it please God) Constant companion (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one, object to be beloved & played with, better than a dog anyhow Home, & someone to take care of house Charms of music & female chit-chat These things good for ones health Forced to visit & receive relations but terrible loss of time. —
    • Reasons not to stay single My God, it is intolerable to think of spending ones whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working, & nothing after all. — No, no wont do. Imagine living all ones day solitarily in smoky dirty London House Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music perhaps — Compare this vision with the dingy reality of Grt. Marlbro St. No children, (no second life), no one to care for one in old age.— What is the use of working in without sympathy from near & dear friends—who are near & dear friends to the old, except relatives
    • Reasons not to get married Freedom to go where one liked — choice of Society & little of it Conversation of clever men at clubs Not forced to visit relatives, & to bend in every trifle to have the expense & anxiety of children — perhaps quarelling Loss of time. — cannot read in the Evenings Fatness & idleness — Anxiety & responsibility Less money for books &c — if many children forced to gain ones bread. — (But then it is very bad for ones health to work too much) Perhaps my wife wont like London; then the sentence is banishment & degradation into indolent, idle fool —
    • Summary The Governor says soon for otherwisebad if one has children — ones characteris more flexible —ones feelings morelively & if one does not marry soon, onemisses so much good pure happiness. —But then if I married tomorrow: there wouldbe an infinity of trouble & expense ingetting & furnishing a house, —fightingabout no Society —morning calls —awkwardness —loss of time every day.(without ones wife was an angel, & madeone keep industrious). —
    • When? Jan. 29, 1839 Then how should I manage all my business if I wereobliged to go every day walking with one’s my wife. —Eheu!! I never should know French, — or see theContinent — or go to America, or go up in a Balloon, ortake solitary trip in Wales — poor slave. — you will beworse than a negro — And then horrid poverty, (withoutones wife was better than an angel & had money) — Never mind my boy — Cheer up — One cannot livethis solitary life, with groggy old age, friendless & cold, &childless staring one in ones face, already beginning towrinkle. — Never mind, trust to chance —keep a sharplook out — There is many a happy slave —
    • Emma Wedgwood Darwin (1808-96)
    • Emma a paragon of virtue Loyal Cared for him when he was sick Read to him at night Fundamentalist religious views Little sense of humor Angelic!
    • Move to Kent (Down House)--1842
    • Darwin’s scientific “buddies”
    • Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911)
    • Darwin, Hooker, Charles Lyell
    • Asa Gray (1810-88)
    • Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)
    • Experiments (“little triumphs”) “Are you going to beat Dr. Hooker?” Experiment Book (1856-) Weed Garden (experimental theorist) Gardeners’ Chronicle “I am like a gambler, & love a wild experiment.” Field studies and practical scientific investigations both an amusement and part of his research program
    • Books--to Origin The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle (1838-43) The narrative of the voyages of H.M. Ships Adventure and Beagle [Journal of Researches] (3 vols.) (1839, 1845, 1860, 1880, 1890, 1905) Geology of the voyage of the Beagle, (1842-46,1876-76, 1889-90)
    • Books—to Origin (cont.) A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species (2 vols.) (1851-54) A monograph on the fossil Lepadidae, or, pedunculated cirripedes of Great Britain . (2 vols.) (1851-54) On the origin of species (1859, 1860 [1st American], 1860, 1861, 1866, 1869, 1872, 1876)
    • What next? Variation among domestic plants and animals? Drosera (sundew)? Dimorphism among primulas?
    • Carl Linnaeus (Carl von Linné) in 1746 had portrayed a flower as a marriage bed of 9 gentlemen and 1 lady.
    • Christian Konrad Sprengel (1750-1816), Dasentdeckte Geheimnis der Natur im Bau und in der Befruchtung der Blumen [floral ecology]
    • Orchids! Summer 1860: “Orchis Bank” Appeal to Gardeners’ Chronicle and replies 1861: All rest of year Orchid Book (diary) To Hooker: "I am intensely interested on subject, just as at a game of chess.” In September, he "dissected with the greatest interest.” "The contrivances for insect fertilisation in Orchids are multiform & truly wonderful & beautiful.”
    • Darwin’s periodical articles on orchids prior to publication of Orchids “Fertilisation of British orchids by insect agency.” Gardeners Chronicle no. 23 (9 June 1860): 528 and no. 6 (9 Feb. 1861): 122. “Orchids, Fertilization of.” Gardeners Chronicle no. 37 (14 Sept. 1861): 831. “On the three remarkable sexual forms of Catasetum tridentatum, an orchid in the possession of the Linnean Society.” [Read 3 April] Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London. Botany 6: 151-157. 1862
    • Wrote to Asa Gray prior to publication: “Itreally seems to me incredibly monstrous to lookat an orchid as created as we now see it. Everypart reveals modification on modification.” Publication was delayed because of illness,but Darwin looked at it as “a hobby-horse, whichhas given me great pleasure to ride.”
    • British orchids examined by Darwin (2nd ed.) [15 genera by Darwin’s count] illustrated in bold Aceras anthropophora, A. longibracteata [France] Caladenia dimorpha Cephalanthera ensifolia, C. grandiflora (left out Cypripedium) Epipactus latifolia , E., microphylla, E. palustris , E. purpurata, E. rubiginosa, E. viridiflora Epipogium gmelini Goodyera discolor, G. pubescens, G. repens Gymnadenia albida, G. conopsea, G. odoratissima, G. tridentata Habenaria bifolia, H. chlorantha Herminium monorchis Listera cordata, L. ovata Malaxis paludosa
    • More “British” orchids Neotinea intacta [Italy] Neottia nidus-avis Nigritella angustifolia [alpine] Ophrys apifera, O. arachnites , O. aranifera, O. muscifera , O. scolopas Orchis fusca, O. hircina, O. latifolia, O. maculata, O. mascula , O. morio, O. pyramidalis , O. ustulata Peristylus viridis Platanthera chlorantha, P. dilatata, P. flava, P. hookeri, P. hyperborea Ptorostylis longifolia [Australia] Pogonia ophioglossoides Serapias cordigera [France] Spiranthes australis, S. autumnalis , S. cernua, S. gracilis
    • British specimens (1st ed.) donated by: Mr. Bateman, Goodyera discolor (foreign) Dr. Battersby (Torquay), Spiranthesis autumnalis F. Bond (South Kent) Hadena dentina, H. plusia; Orchis fusca, moths with pollinia attached Rev. G. Gordon (Elgin) Goodyera repens Mr. Malden (South Kent) Orchis fusca A. G. More (Bembridge, Isle of Wight), Epipactis palustris, Ophrys apifera (sent report of field work), Spiranthesis autumnalis G. Chichester Oxenden (Broome Park, South Kent) Neottia nidus-avis, Ophyris aranifera, Orchis ustulata Mr. Wallis (Hartfield, Sussex) Malaxis paludosa Professor Westwood (bees with pollinia attached)
    • Orchis mascula L. (1755)
    • O. Mascula pollinium
    • “A poet might imagine, thatwhilst the pollinia are borne fromflower to flower through the air,adhering to a moths body, theyvoluntarily and eagerly placethemselves, in each case, in thatexact position in which alone theycan hope to gain their wish andperpetuate their race.”
    • Bilder ur Nordens Flora (1905)
    • Ophrys apifera Huds. (1762)
    • Flora von Deutchland, Osterreich under der Schweiz (1885)
    • Atlas des plantes de France (1891)
    • “Foreign” orchids examined by Darwin 2nd ed. Illustrated in bold Acropera loddigesii, A. luteola Aerides cornutum, A. odorata, A. virens Angraecum distichum, A. eburneum, A. sesquipedale Bulbophyllum barbigerum, B. cocinum, B. cupreum, B. rhizophorae Bonatea speciosa Brassia Calanthe dominii, C. masuca, C. veratrifolia, C. vestita Catasetum callosum, C. luridum, C. mentosum, C. planicips, C. saccatum, C. tabulare, C. tridentatum
    • More “foreign” orchids Cattleya crispa Chysis Coelogyne cristata Coryanthes fieldingii, C. macrantha, C. speciosa , C. triloba Cycnoches egertonianum, C. ventricosum Cymbidium giganteum Cypripedium acaule, C. barbatum, C. calceolus, C. candidum, C. pubescens, C. purpuratum Dendrobium bigbbum, D. cretaceum, D. chrysanthemum , D. formosum, D. speciosum Disa cornuta, D. grandiflora, D. macrantha
    • And more! Epidendrum cochleatum, E. floribundum, E. glaucum Eulophia viridis Evelyna carivata Galeandra funkii Gongora atro-purpurea, G. maculata, G. truncata Laelia cinnabarina Leptotes Lycaste skinnerii Masdevallia fenestrata
    • More! Maxillaria ornithorhyncha Microstylus rhedii Miltonia clowesii Monachanthus viridis Mormodes ignea, M. luxata Myanthus barbatus Ornithocephalus Phaius grandifolius Phalaenopsis amabilis, P. grandiflora Pleurothallis ligulata, P. prolifera
    • That’s all, folks! Rodriguezia secunda, R. suaveolens Sarcanthus parishii, S. teretifolius Selenipedium palmifolium Sobralia macrantha Stanhopea devoniensis, S. oculata Stelis racemiflora Thelmitra carnea, T. longiflora Vanilla aromatica Zygopetalum mackai
    • “Foreign” specimens donated for 1st ed. by: [the kindness of many friends and strangers], 43 “exotic” genera “well dispersed through the subfamilies of the vast Orchidean series” Joseph Hooker, “has never become weary of sending me specimens from the Royal Gardens at Kew” James Veitch, jun., “many beautiful Orchids” R. Parker, “extremely valuable series of forms” Lady Dorothy Nevill, “most kindly placed her magnificent collection of Orchids at my disposal”
    • Donors (cont.) Mr. Rucker (West Hill, Wandsworth), “sent me repeatedly large spikes of Catasetum, a Mormodes of extreme value to me, and some Dendrobiums” Mr. Bateman, “a number of interesting forms, including the wonderful Angraecum sesquipedale” Mr. Turnbull (Down), “free use of his hot-houses” and “giving me some interesting orchids, and his gardener, Mr Horwood, for his aid in some of my observations” Dr. Lindley, “fresh and dried specimens”
    • Lady Dorothy Nevill (1826- 1913)
    • Relationship with Darwin Liked to put signed portraits of famous scientists on her walls Flirtatious correspondence “filled with double entendre, describing the orchids body parts and the methods by which these flowers fertilize each other."
    • Wisdom from Lady Dorothy Nevill: “The real art of conversation isnot only to say the right thing atthe right place, but to leaveunsaid the wrong thing at thetempting moment."
    • John Lindley (1799-1865)
    • Jas. Bateman (1811-97)
    • James Veitch, Jr. (1815-69)
    • Catasetum saccatum Lindl. (1840)
    • Darwin called Catasetum “the mostremarkable of all Orchids", and showedhow in these flowers "as throughoutnature, pre-existing structures andcapacities [had been] utilised for newpurposes". Catasetum tridendatum showed its“truly marvelous” mechanism, by which itshot out a pollinium at any insect touchinga part of the flower with “sticky glandalways foremost.”
    • Darwin imitated the action of aninsect touching the flower’s “antenna”using a whalebone spring. "I touched the antennæ of C.callosum whilst holding the flower atabout a yards distance from thewindow, and the pollinium hit the paneof glass, and adhered to the smoothvertical surface by its adhesive disc.”
    • Sertum Orchidaceum (1838)
    • Catasetum experiments Fall onto a table from a height of 2-3 in. Cut off with a crash with scissors Deep pricks of the column and stigmatic chamber A blow hard enough to knock off the anther (an accident) Press hard on pedicel and rostellum Nothing works except “violence” to the antennae (not including stream of air, cold water or human hair)
    • Curtis’’ v. 131 (1905) as C. christyanum
    • Catasetum macrocarpum [=tridentatum ]: 3 species in 3 genera or one taxon? Robert Hermann Schomburgk’sproblem: 3 genera on the same plant! Lindley’s response: “Such cases shaketo the foundation all our ideas of thestability of genera and species.”
    • Robert Hermann Schomburgk
    • Catasetum macrocarpum Rich. ex Kunth (1822) IPNI  Monachanthus viridis Lindl. (1832) =Catasetum trifidum Hook. (1833)  Monachanthus viridis Schomb. (1831) =Catasetum barbatum Lindl. (1844)  Monachanthus viridis Lindl. (1836 publ. 1835) =C. macrocarpum FEMALE  C. tridentatum Hook. (1823) = C. Macrocarpum MALE  C. tridentatum, var. viridiflorum (1834) FEMALE?  Myanthus barbatus Lindl. (1836 publ. 1835) =C. barbatum BISEXUAL?
    • Catasetum macrocarpum Rich. ex Kunth (1822)
    • Curtis v. 52 (1825) as C. tridentatum
    • Curtis v. 61 (1834) as C. tridentatum
    • Edwards’ v. 21 (1836) as Monachanthus viridis
    • Angraecum sesquipedale Thou. (1822)
    • Thouars. Histoire particulière des plantes orchidéesrecueillies sur les trois îles australes dAfrique (Paris, 1822)
    • Orchid Album
    • Box arrived from Bateman on 25 January1862To Hooker: “I have just received such a Boxfull from Mr Bateman with the AstoundingAngraecum sesquipedalian with a nectary afoot long—Good Heavens what insect cansuck it”?
    • Experiments Bristles and needles Cylinder to which the pollinia attached themselves Conjectured that there was a moth with a long proboscis that could get the nectar from the bottom of the nectary
    • “The astonishing length of the nectary mayhave been acquired by successive modifications.As certain moths of Madagascar became largerthrough natural selection . . . those individualplants of the Angræcum which had the longestnectaries . . . and which, consequently, compelledthe moths to insert their proboscises up to the verybase, would be fertilised. “These plants would yield most seed, andthe seedlings would generally inherit longernectaries; and so it would be in successivegenerations of the plant and moth. Thus it wouldappear that there has been a race in gaininglength between the nectary of the Angræcum and
    • Warner, Select orchidaceous plants v. 1 (1862-65)
    • John Day scrapbook 039_452_632
    • John Day scrapbook 040-632-44
    • Xanthopan [Macrosila] morgani Walker (1856) subsp. praedicta Rothschild & Jordan (1903)
    • Reception to Orchids Slow sales with general public Botanists generally favorable (dialog began that resulted in expanded 2nd ed.) To Lyell: “Entomologists are enough to keep [evolution] back for half a century.” George Campbell, Duke of Argyll, The reign of law Wallace, Creation by law [measured Macrosila [Xanthopan] morgani in the British Museum (from South Central Africa) and found the proboscis to be 7 ½ inches long.]
    • Present entomologists ask: “What, then, pollinates A.longicalcar, with a nectary 10 cm. longer than A. sesquipedale?”
    • Darwin regarded these theologicalviews as irritating misunderstandings,but wrote to Asa Gray describing hisapproach as a "flank movement onthe enemy". By showing that the"wonderful contrivances" of the orchidhave discoverable evolutionaryhistories, Darwin was counteringclaims by natural theologiansthat the organisms wereexamples of the perfect work ofthe Creator .
    • Hermann Müller, The fertilisation of flowers (1883) with Darwin preface
    • Fritz Müller
    • Conclusion of book He had “shown that Orchids exhibit analmost endless diversity of beautiful adaptations.When this or that part has been spoken of ascontrived for some special purpose, it must notbe supposed that it was originally always formedfor this sole purpose. The regular course ofevents seems to be, that a part whichoriginally served for one purpose, byslow changes becomes adapted forwidely different purposes .”
    • "In my examination of Orchids, hardly anyfact has so much struck me as the endlessdiversity of structure ,—the prodigality ofresources,—for gaining the very same end ,namely, the fertilisation of one flower by the pollenof another.” I “found the study of orchids eminently usefulin showing me how nearly all parts of theflower are coadapted for fertilisation byinsects, & therefore the result of n.selection ,—even most trifling details of structure.”
    • Books—from Orchids on On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects (1862, 1877, 1882). On the movements and habits of climbing plants (1865, 1875, 1876, 1882). The variation of animals and plants under domestication (2 vols.) (1868, 1878). The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex (1871, 1874, 1882). The expression of the emotions in man and animals (1872, 1873, 1890). Insectivorous plants (1875, 1888).
    • Books—from Orchids on (cont.) The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom (1876, 1877, 1878). – “A complement to the Fertilisation of Orchids, because it shows how important are the results of cross-fertilisation which are ensured by the mechanisms described in that book.” The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species (1877, 1884). The power of movement in plants (1880, 1881). The formation of vegetable mould, through the action of worms (1881, 1882). The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter (1887).
    • Articles on orchids post publication of 1st ed. of Orchids “Fertilisation of Orchids.” Journal of Horticulture (31 March 1863): 237. “Appearance of a plant in a singular place.” Gardeners Chronicle no. 33 (15 Aug. 1863): 773 [Epipactis latifolia]. “Fertilisation of Cypripediums.” Gardeners Chronicle no. 14 (6 April 1867): 350. “Notes on the fertilization of orchids. Annals and Magazine of Natural History (Ser. 4) 4 (Sept. 1869): 141-159.
    • Darwin’s life after Orchids
    • Darwin’s contributions to botany Understanding of and ability to demonstrate that the flower is a product of evolution Complex ecological relationships resulted in the coevolution of orchids and insects Pollination research and reproductive ecology (floral ecology)
    • Greenhouse extension project (1862-63) Asked Hooker for plants: "I long to stock it, just like a school-boy.” Sent his butler with a cart to Kew to pick up 160 plants Apologized for depleting the “national collection” To Hooker: "You cannot imagine what pleasure your plants give me ... Henrietta & I go & gloat over them."
    • Select Bibliography Allan, Mae. Darwin and his flowers: the key to natural selection (New York: Taplinger, 1977) The complete works of Charles Darwin online ( http://darwin-online.org.uk/) Darwin Correspondence Project ( http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/) Darwin’s garden: an evolutionary adventure (New York: New York Botanical Garden, 2008). Pollan, Michael. “Love & lies {orchids}.” National Geographic 216:3 (Sept. 2009), p. 100-121. Porter, Duncan M. (various journal articles) The works of Charles Darwin (New York: New York University Press, 1988). 29 vols. Yam, Tim Wing, et al. “’The orchids have been a splendid sport’—an alternative look at Charles Darwin’s contribution to orchid biology.” Am. J. Bot. 2009;96:2128- 2154.
    • Questions and comments Harvey.Brenneise@gmail.com