Modelling abiotic and biotic drivers of a plant radiation

Merianieae flower shape evolution into three distinct pollination syndromes (bee - blue, mixed vertebrate - salmon, passerine - brown) during the past 25 million years. © Dellinger

HRX-CT scan of a stamen of bee-buzz-pollinated Meriania haemantha (volren - left, isosurface - right). © Dellinger

Plant diversification is driven by a complex interplay of geological, abiotic and biotic factors, and the relative contribution and potential synergistic or counteracting effects of these processes remain poorly understood. In this project, I will address these gaps by quantifying abiotic and biotic niche evolution and the importance of niche shifts and niche conservatism in the diversification of the Neotropical plant group Merianieae (Melastomataceae). I will combine macroevolutionary phylogeographic modelling with ecological niche modelling approaches and functional pollination biological experiments. A particular focus will lie on testing different hypotheses on the biomechanical functioning of buzz-pollinated flowers and their adaptive potential to variable abiotic and biotic conditions.

 Project publications

Showing entries 1 - 7 out of 7


Reginato M, Ordónez-Parra CA, Messeder JVS, Brito VLG, Dellinger A, Kriebel R et al. MelastomaTRAITs 1.0: A database of functional traits in Melastomataceae, a large pantropical angiosperm family. Ecology. 2024 Jun;105(6):e4308. Epub 2024 Apr 17. doi: 10.1002/ecy.4308


Opedal ØH, Pérez-Barrales R, Brito VLG, Muchhala N, Capó M, Dellinger A. Pollen as the link between floral phenotype and fitness. American journal of botany. 2023 Jun;110(6):e16200. doi: 10.1002/ajb2.16200

Tenhumberg B, Dellinger A, Smith SD. Modelling pollinator and nonpollinator selection on flower colour variation. Journal of Ecology. 2023 Apr;111(4):746-760. Epub 2022 Dec 8. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.14057

Showing entries 1 - 7 out of 7