Research interests

 

  • Pollination ecology of orchids
  • Floral scents
  • Sexual deception and floral isolation mechanisms
  • Chemical ecology in Neotropical plants
  • Animal- Plant Interactions

Scientific projects

Pollinator attraction in the sexually deceptive orchid Ophrys leochroma

The flowers of the genus Ophrys mimic the sex-pheromones of virgin females of the pollinators and thereby attract males, which attempt to copulate with the flower labellum, for pollination (Kullenberg 1961; Kullenberg and Bergström 1973; Borg-Karlson 1990; Paulus and Gack, 1990; Schiestl, 2005; Stökl et al., 2005; Ayasse, 2006). Apart from visual (Spaethe et al., 2007,2010), and tactile cues, floral scent has been shown to be most important for eliciting mating behavior in males (Kullenberg 1961; Schiestl et al., 1999; Ayasse et al., 2003) and one important element for the reproductive isolation. 

Furthermore previous studies on pollinator attraction in Ophrys flowers revealed that only certain compounds in the odour bouquets are responsible for eliciting pseudocopulation in the males. These studies have mainly been performed with Andrena pollinated Ophrys species where mixtures of saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons do play a role in pollinator attraction.

To gain further insight on pollinator attraction in non-Andrena pollinated Ophrys taxa my Ph.D thesis focuses in the pollinator attraction in O. leochroma species from the O. tenthredinifera cryptic complex. Therefore to study if the flowers mimic the sex pheromone of its pollinator and to identify the compounds involved in the chemical mimicry, I performed gas chromatography with electroantennographic detection (GC-EAD), gas chromatography with mass selective detection (GC-MS) and field bioassays.

 

Publications

Colombia. Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible Tortugas terrestres y de agua dulce de Colombia y manejo de los decomisos (2012) Universidad Nacional de Colombia; Bonilla  MA, Luque N, Cuervo MA, Pinzón M and Vásquez EA. Bogotá, D.C. Colombia. Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible. 100 p.

 

Cuervo Martínez M A, Bonilla Gomez M A, Singer R (2012) Morphology and morphometry of two banderitas species (Orchidaceae: Masdevallia) in Colombia.  Acta Biol Colomb 17(3):575-588

 

Bonilla MA, Martinez E, Chaparro HA,  Cuervo MA (2005) Rasgos de Historias de vida de las orquideas Epidendrum chioneum  y Elleanthus ensatus en el paramo del Granizo. In: Bonilla, M.A ed. Estrategias adaptativas de plantas del páramo en la cordillera Oriental de Colombia. Ed Unibiblos, Bogotá, Colombia.p 307-321

 

 

 

 

Conference contributions

Cuervo MA (2015) Pollinator attraction in the sexually deceptive orchid Ophrys leochroma. Symposium odour communication between insects and plants. University of Konstanz, Germany (Talk)

Cuervo MA, Martel C, Schulz S, Ayasse M (2015) How do long-horned bee pollinated sexually deceptive orchids attract their pollinators? 31st International Society of Chemical Ecology ISCE, Stockholm, Sweden (Poster)

Cuervo MA, Martel C, Schulz S, Ayasse M (2014) Pollinator attraction in the sexually deceptive orchid Ophrys leochroma. Hymenopterologen-Tagung, Stuttgart, Germany (Poster)

Cuervo MA, Gomez MA, Zuluaga C, Barreto LC (2010) La red planta-abejorro como modelo para el estudio de redes mutualistas en el paramo. III Congreso Colombiano de Zoología y V Encuentro Colombiano de abejas silvestres, Medellín, Colombia. (Talk)

Bonilla MA, Cuervo MA, Zambrano DG, Tinoco AP (2009) Capítulos de Espeletia grandiflora como recursos para artrópodos en el Paramo del Parque Nacional Natural Chingaza (Cordillera Oriental, Colombia). Libro de Resúmenes II Congreso Mundial de Paramos, Loja, Ecuador. (Poster)

Cuervo MA (2008) Estado de las Iniciativas Internacionales de Polinizadores. Libro de Resúmenes IV Encuentro Colombiano sobre Abejas Silvestres. Departamento de Biologia. Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia (Talk)

Contact

  • M. Sc. Monica Cuervo
  • Institute of Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation Genomics
  • University of Ulm
  • Helmholtzstraße 10-1 Containerstadt
  • D-89081 Ulm, Germany
  • Tel. +49 (0)731 50 22691
  • Fax +49 (0)731 50 22683
  • Office: E2.32