I had planned to start looking into a European study system, and with strict travel restrictions, now is the time. Together with my student Katharina Kagerl, I set up fieldwork to study the abiotic and biotic (pollination) niche of the European species Phyteuma orbiculare (Campanulaceae) across elevational gradients. For now, we have selected sites we can reach within a day’s drive. It is extremely exciting to plunge into a new system where you start from scratch figuring out what visitors do in flowers and how flowers function! Phyteuma has a very generalistic insect pollinator spectrum, but actually, many just rob pollen or nectar, and few seem to be effective pollinators, large enough to touch the pollen-bearing areas and stigmas. My first resummé: fieldwork “at home” is so much easier than working in another country because you can go and check the flowering status regularly and pick the right time to go! And, observing many other species, I realize how little natural history is actually known about the systematically well-known European flora…
- Busy fall: proposals, papers, analyses, meetings
- A fun side project with high-school student Leah Maier
- Summer fieldwork 2022, part 2: pollination of co-flowering Rhexia!
- Fieldwork summer 2022 – part 1: pollinator communities and reproductive biology of Peruvian Melastomes!
- The role of geographical, phenological and ethological isolation in maintaining species boundaries in Rhexia