QE : 31 March 2017, Friday, 2pm (Tan Ming Kai / Assoc Prof Hugh Tan & Prof Meier R) Conference Room II

Department of Biological Sciences, NUS
Qualifying Examination

Flower-visiting, florivory, and pollination by Orthoptera in Southeast Asia
Speaker:          Tan Ming Kai (Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS)
Date:               31 March 2017, Friday
Time:               2pm
Venue:            DBS Conference Room-II (S1, Level 3, Mezzanine)
Supervisors:    Assoc Prof Hugh Tiang Wah Tan & Prof Rudolf Meier

Abstract: –

Interactions between plants and insects can be complex and intriguing and studies of insect‒plant interaction can help to shape our understanding of (i) ecology and coevolution, (ii) resource management (agriculture, etc.), and (iii) conservation. Florivory is one aspect of insect‒plant interaction that is less well studied but equally as widespread as herbivory. Florivory, defined as any type of consumer-caused damage to developing flower buds or mature flowers, can have a direct or indirect effect on floral adaptations, interspecific interactions, and community dynamics. Florivory is also considered as a precursor to pollination in coevolution. I specifically focus on the study of orthopterans (grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids), as florivores and potential pollinators. While Southeast Asia is a biodiverse region, comprising of numerous biodiversity hotspots, there has been no report of florivory and pollination by orthopterans in this region. Only one neotropical cricket had been shown to pollinate flowers and I hope to discover more pollinators among orthopterans here. There is also a dearth of knowledge of florivory including the applicability of the hypotheses involving herbivore‒plant interaction in florivory. Specifically, I investigate in depth the neural constraint hypothesis and density-dependency (e.g., switching, associational resistance, and susceptibility) to examine how floral resources can influence foraging behaviour of florivores. I thus aim to (i) document flower-visiting orthopterans and their roles as florivores (antagonists) and pollinators (mutualists), (ii) test hypotheses driving florivore‒flower interaction and (iii) show that orthopterans can be useful model organisms for insect‒plant interaction and research in tropical ecology

 All are welcome