Pollinator shifts and floral Evolution in the Merianieae (Melastomataceae)

passerine pollinated Axinaea affinis

passerine pollinated Axinaea affinis

Bee pollinated Meriania hernandoi

Bee pollinated Meriania hernandoi

The tremendous diversity of angiosperm flowers has most likely evolved primarily in connection with their manifold pollinators. A particularly interesting topic located at the interface of pollination ecology and floral evolution is the occurrence of so-called pollinator shifts, i.e., the shift from one functional group of pollinators to another (e.g., from bees to birds). This project focuses on a group of Central- and South American plants (the tribe Merianieae) belonging to the melastome family (Melastomataceae). The Merianieae include bee-, bat-, hummingbird- as well as passerine pollinated species. Using high resolution x-ray computed tomography combined with geometric morphometrics, we aim at analyzing in detail the differences in floral traits associated with different functional groups of pollinators. In addition, using a population genetic approach, we will assess gene flow and pollination efficiency in the different pollination systems.

Media contributions

 Project publications

Showing entries 1 - 20 out of 22


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



Dellinger AS, Paun O, Baar J, Temsch EM, Fernández-Fernández D, Schönenberger J. Population structure in Neotropical plants: Integrating pollination biology, topography and climatic niches. Molecular Ecology. 2022 Apr;31(8):2264-2280. Epub 2022 Feb 17. doi: 10.1111/mec.16403

Michelangeli FA, Dellinger A, Goldenberg R, Almeda F, Mendoza-Cifuentes H, Fernández-Fernández DM et al. Phylogenetics and taxonomy of the Tribe Merianieae. In Goldenberg R, Michelangeli FA, Almeda F, editors, Systematics, Evolution and Ecology of Melastomataceae. Springer International Publishing Switzerland. 2022. p. 255-273 doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-99742-7_11

Dellinger AS, Kopper C, Kagerl K, Schönenberger J. Pollination in Melastomataceae: A Family-Wide Update on the Little We Know and the Much That Remains to Be Discovered. In Goldenberg R, Michelangeli FA, Almeda F, editors, Systematics, Evolution, and Ecology of Melastomataceae. Cham: Springer International Publishing Switzerland. 2022. p. 585-607 doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-99742-7_26


Dellinger AS, Artuso S, Fernández-Fernández DM, Schönenberger J. Stamen dimorphism in bird-pollinated flowers – investigating alternative hypotheses on the evolution of heteranthery. Evolution. 2021 Oct;75(10):2589-2599. Epub 2021 May 8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.14260

Valverde-Espinoza JM, Chacon-Madrigal E, Alvarado-Rodríguez O, Dellinger AS. The predictive power of pollination syndromes: Passerine pollination in heterantherous Meriania macrophylla (Benth.) Triana (Melastomataceae). Ecology and Evolution. 2021 Oct;11(20):13668-13677. doi: 10.1002/ece3.8140

Bochorny T, Bacci LF, Dellinger AS, Michelangeli FA, Goldenberg R, Brito VLG. Connective appendages in Huberia bradeana (Melastomataceae) affect pollen release during buzz pollination. Plant Biology. 2021 Jul;23(4):556-563. doi: 10.1111/plb.13244

Dellinger AS, Pérez-Barrales R, Michelangeli FA, Penneys DS, Fernández-Fernández DM, Schönenberger J. Low bee visitation rates explain pollinator shifts to vertebrates in tropical mountains. New Phytologist. 2021 Jul;231(2):864-877. Epub 2021 Apr 16. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.17390



Dellinger AS, Artuso S, Pamperl S, Michelangeli FA, Penneys DS, Fernández-Fernández DM et al. Modularity increases rate of floral evolution and adaptive success for functionally specialized pollination systems. Communications Biology. 2019 Dec 5;2(1):453. doi: 10.1038/s42003-019-0697-7

Dellinger AS, Chartier M, Fernández-Fernández D, Penneys DS, Alvear M, Almeda F et al. Beyond buzz-pollination – departures from an adaptive plateau lead to new pollination syndromes. New Phytologist. 2019 Jan 1;221(2):1136-1149. doi: 10.1111/nph.15468

Dellinger A, Artuso S, Fernandez-Fernandez DM, Penneys D, Schönenberger J. Foraging preferences of bees and birds – assessing the adaptive value of heteranthery in flowers of Merianieae (Melastomataceae). 2019. The 2019 Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, Finland.

Dellinger A, Artuso S, Pamperl S, Michelangeli FA, Penneys D, Fernandez-Fernandez DM et al. Is modularity the key to adaptive success? Testing alternative hypotheses on modularity in flowers of Merianieae (Melastomataceae). In Abstract Book GM Austria 2019. 2019. p. 13


Dellinger A, Artuso S, Fernández-Fernández D, Penneys DS, Michelangeli FA, Alvear M et al.. Floral trait convergence and functional differentiation concomitant with pollinator shifts in Merianieae (Melastomataceae). 2018. II Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology, Montpellier, France.

Dellinger A, Scheer LM, Fernandez-Fernandez DM, Penneys DS, Tenhaken R, Dötterl S et al. Beyond pollination syndromes: disentangling complex vertebrate pollination systems in the genus Meriania (Melastomataceae). In XI International Symposium on Pollination: Abstracts. 2018

Dellinger A, Scheer LM, Artuso S, Fernandez-Fernandez DM, Penneys DS, Sornoza F et al. Beyond pollination syndromes: disentangling complex vertebrate pollination systems in the genus Meriania (Melastomataceae). In PopBio 2018: 31st Conference of the Plant Population Biology Section of the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (GfÖ): Abstracts. 2018

Dellinger A, Fernandez-Fernandez DM, Artuso S, Penneys DS, Michelangeli FA, Alvear M et al. Cambios de polinizadores resultan en la reconstrucción de la flor. In XII Latin American Botanical Congress (LABC): Abstracts. 2018

Showing entries 1 - 20 out of 22