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Orchid flowers are renowned for their fascinating adaptations to lure pollinators through mimicry and sexual deceit. Labellar micromorphological traits among some species of the Neotropical genus Mormolyca were studied in order to achieve a better understanding of the micromorphological characters involved in the attraction of insect pollinators. Flowers were inspected for labellar secretions and fragrances, and labella were examined under light microscopy for micromorphological and anatomical characters. Additionally, histochemical assays for starch, lipids, and proteins were carried out on labellar tissue in search of possible food rewards and scent-producing structures. Species of Mormolyca were grouped into three groups based on their flower morphology: Hedwigiae, Ringens, and Rufescens. Each of these groups is characterized by a distinctive combination of labellar papillae, presence or absence of secretions, and fragrance. Observations of the labellar anatomy confirm the presence of glandular structures-believed to be osmophores-in most of the species. Labellar papillae of Mormolyca fulfill a variety of roles, and in combination with glandular structures provide flowers the ability to attract, guide, feed, and/or deceive pollinators using a combination of visual, tactile, and/or olfactory cues. It is expected that species of Mormolyca that share similar flower characters probably have the same pollination system. Documenting specialized floral characters, such as labellar papillae, combined with knowledge of chemical nutrient secretions produced by flowers, will allow for a better understanding of the pollination mechanisms of these orchids.
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Kenneth M. Cameron received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1996.He served as an assistant professor of biology at Guilford College for two years before accepting a research position with the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematics Studies at The New York Botanical Garden.His primary research interests focus on the systematics, evolution, structure, and conservation of orchids (Orchidaceae) based on studies carried out in the field, herbarium, library, and laboratory. Collaborating with an international group of scientists and students, he continues to use gene sequence data to reconstruct the phylogenetic history of orchids with the ultimate goal of producing a robust and stable system of classification for this diverse and charismatic family. He has also published studies on the systematics, biogeography, character evolution, and classification of: Smilacaceae, Malpighiaceae, Cactaceae, Droseraceae, and Lentibulariaceae and done fieldwork from Mexico to Ecuador, from Tasmania to Borneo, and from China to New Caledonia, and the U.S. Kenneth M. Cameron's Author Page
Rafael Arevalo Rafael Arevalo's Author Page
Barbara S. Carlsward received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2004. After graduating, she worked as an adjunct assistant professor and then a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Florida. In 2007, she began as an assistant professor at Eastern Illinois University and is currently serving as a full professor who teaches in the Department of Biological Sciences. Her primary research interests focus on the vegetative structure and evolution of orchids as well as Polygalaceae. Barbara S. Carlsward's Author Page
Galen Bergquist received his B.Sc. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015 and is currently working on his M.Sc. at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. His research focuses primarily on the interactions of cropping systems, soil management, and biogeochemical cycling of plant nutrients. As an undergraduate, he was inspired by Rafael Ar‚valo's teaching in Botany and since developed strong interests in plant anatomy and evolutionary biology. Galen Bergquist's Author Page