Following the scent of proteas

Dr Sandy-Lynn Steenhuisen will present the Department of Biological Sciences seminar with a talk entitled, "Following the Scent of Proteas".  

With her upcoming move to the remote campus of the University of the Free State in QwaQwa, Sandy-Lynn will take a reflective view of my research at UCT from the last four years. She will be presenting on a journey from researching pawpaw scents of beetle-pollinated proteas in the Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu-Natal, through cheesy and sour milk scents of mammal pollinated proteas on snowy peaks in Ceres, culminating in encounters with monstrous Australian proteas that smell like steak! The hidden world of floral scent chemistry is unveiled through gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, revealing suites of floral volatiles associated with shifts between bird, beetle and mammal pollination systems in the African genus Protea. Using remote cameras, the small mammal guild using protea inflorescences as a sugar resource has been expanded to include insectivorous elephant shrews, and even carnivorous genets and mongooses. Together with collaborators at La Trobe University she hopes to follow up on convergent patterns of floral volatile attractants of mammal pollinated Australian Proteaceae in future.

Date: 
Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 13:00
Venue: 

John Day Museum, John Day Building, Upper Campus, UCT

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