Agnes Dellinger, PhD

My research is centered on exploring how plant-animal interactions are modulated across different (abiotic) environmental contexts, and how these abiotic and biotic processes contribute to plant diversification at macro- and microevolutionary scales. Within this framework, I am particularly interested in understanding how and when flowers diversify under continuous or divergent pollinator-mediated selection, and what conditions promote overlap or shifts in (floral) niche space.

To address my questions, I combine observational and experimental field work on plant-pollinator interactions with the structural and functional investigation of flower morphology. I use phylogenetic comparative methods to trace trait evolution across deep evolutionary time, and employ environmental niche modelling to tease apart the relative importance of abiotic and biotic factors in driving plant diversification.


Since 2012, I have been working towards establishing the Neotropical plant tribe Merianieae (Melastomataceae) as my model system for addressing questions related to macro- and microevolutionary processes of plant diversification. The ca. 300 species of Merianieae harbour an exceptional diversity of different pollination strategies (i.e. buzz-pollination by bees, pollination by passerine birds and by mixed assemblages of vertebrates such as hummingbirds, bats, rodents) and are distributed from lowland rainforests to high-altitudes in the Andes. This offers an ideal set-up for exploring longstanding questions of lineage diversification in one of the Earth’s prime biodiversity hotspots.

Are remote postdocs a thing? Why does a #postdoc whose work is entirely on a computer need to uproot their life for a 1-3 year position? Postdocs deserve better after spending their whole adult lives moving for school. #AcademicTwitter

Where we publish make a difference - some journals run for profit whilst others are from learned societies or charities - please consider #plantsnotprofit by publishing in one of the journals of the Annals of Botany Company @insilicoplants @annbot @AoB_PLANTS @botanyone

so fun to see a #Melastomataceae featured by @bbc_travel! A journey to Earth's most remote flower via @bbc_travel

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Busy fall: proposals, papers, analyses, meetings

After all the fieldwork in summer, fall was about crunching deeply into data...

A fun side project with high-school student Leah Maier

Local students from Boulder High School are supposed to do applied science...

Summer fieldwork 2022, part 2: pollination of co-flowering Rhexia!

At the beginning of July, I travelled from Colorado to Florida (what a move to...

Fieldwork summer 2022 – part 1: pollinator communities and reproductive biology of Peruvian Melastomes!

I am lucky to get to the field twice this summer! 😀 The first fieldtrip...