University of Cambridge
Cambridge CB2 3EA
Róisín joined the group in October 2016 as a PhD student, funded by NERC. Previously, she completed an undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at Oxford University, and a Master’s degree at Imperial College London.
Róisín is interested in the mechanisms governing floral trait evolution, particularly changes in morphology which affect pollinator behaviour. Her project aims to characterise genes underlying petal spot development in the South African daisy species Gorteria diffusa, providing insight into processes mediating morphological diversification. This daisy species is composed of over 15 floral morphotypes which exhibit extreme variation in floral form. The variable positioning and complexity of petal spots is a key element in determining pollinator behavioural responses. The most complex petal spot types are sexually deceptive, acting as a visual stimulant mimicking female flies. Róisín is using molecular genetic approaches to determine which genes control petal spot development and how these genes, along with associated regulatory mechanisms, contribute toward petal spot variability between morphotypes. Through this project she hopes to further understanding of molecular evolutionary processes driving speciation.