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Department of Plant Sciences

 

Biography

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.

Research

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.

Publications

Key publications: 
Visiting Post Doctoral Research Fellow
Dr Roman  Kellenberger

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing Street
Cambridge
CB2 3EA
01223 333934; 330212