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RSABG Botany Seminar

Krissa Skogen, PhD
Conservation Scientist
Manager, conservation and Land Management Internship Program
Chicago Botanic Garden

Scent-mediated diversification – is floral scent at the center of interactions among plants, pollinators, and antagonists?

We commonly think of floral scent for its role in attracting pollinators, but it can also be a cue for floral and seed predators. This project integrates chemical ecology and comparative genomics to explore the impact of past selective pressures on current patterns of diversity in non-model organisms: evening primroses, hawkmoths, bees, and micromoths. In particular, we are investigating how chemically-mediated interactions between flowering plants, pollinators, and enemies affect diversification at the population, species, and higher taxonomic levels. Onagraceae (evening primrose family) is one of the most species-rich families of night-blooming plants in North America. Many Onagraceae, particularly species in tribe Onagreae, produce floral scent that likely dictates the primary biotic drivers impacting plant fitness, including legitimate pollinators (hawkmoths, bees) and floral and seed predators (Mompha moths). The same floral characteristics (color, shape, scent) that attract pollinators are also suspected to attract floral antagonists to host plants. Momphais one such moth genus that specializes on Onagraceae. A thorough survey of these micromoths associated with Onagreae in western North America will result in a more accurate assessment of diversity in this group. Three dimensions of biodiversity will be integrated through studies of (1) floral trait variation, (2) its genetic basis, and (3) their roles in driving patterns of diversity in Onagreae and Mompha.

Please let the Admissions Kiosk staff know you are attending the Botany seminar. You will be admitted to the Garden at no charge and directed to the program.

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden   |  1500 N. College Avenue  |  Claremont  |  909-625-8767