Diego Ismael Rocha

Diego Ismael Rocha

PhD Student

Thesis Project:

 

In the genus Passiflora, the great variability of floral structures allowed these species to adapt to different types of pollinators. My project aims to identify distinctive biochemical and morphological characters, related to pollinator attraction in a Passiflora species pollinated by bats (Passiflora setacea), in another one pollinated by hummingbirds (Passiflora coccinea) and in artificial hybrids between these two species. Flower buds, at different stages of development, will be collected from both parental species and their hybrids and submitted to the usual techniques of scanning electron microscopy with the aim to characterize the development of floral whorls. To evaluate the biochemical characters, corona pigments will extracted and characterized by HPLC-MS. The characterization of nectar will focus on identifying sugars, amino acids and volatile organic compounds present in the exudate. The determination of the morphological and biochemical floral characters involved in pollination will allow a greater understanding of the mechanisms of pollinator attraction as well as a comparative analysis among the parental species and hybrids, which will enable a better comprehension of the segregation of these characters and their contribution to the adaptations to different pollinators.

e-mail: diegoirocha@gm ail.com