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Department of Plant Sciences


Research group


Research overview

I am interested in the eco-evo-devo of micro-evolutionary processes, i.e. the interplay of evolutionary-developmental and ecological changes that lead to new forms within species. 
During my PhD, I have assessed the evolutionary mechanisms underlying a floral colour polymorphism in the Alpine orchid Gymnadenia rhellicani, which caught my eye during a hike in the Alps. Using an array of different methodologies from gas chromatography to next-generation sequencing, I have reconstructed the origin and maintenance of this polymorphism from a genetic mutation in the anthocyanin pathway to the selection imposed by pollinators.
In my current project, I am investigating the underpinnings of floral variation in the South African daisy Gorteria diffusa. A yet unknown genetic change leads to the production of three-dimensional cellular papillae on the petals, which play a crucial role in tricking male pollinators into copulation attempts with the flower. This change in pollination strategy from nutrition advertisement to sexual deception is thought to be a key factor promoting incipient speciation in this system.


I joined the lab in 2018 as a visiting post-doctoral researcher funded by a Swiss National Science Foundation fellowship, shortly after obtaining my PhD from University of Zurich (Switzerland) in the group of Prof. Florian Schiestl and Dr. Philipp Schlüter.


Post Doctoral Research Fellow
Dr Roman  Kellenberger

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Plant Sciences,
Downing Street,
01223 333934; 330212