Ryan Phillips

Ryan Phillips
La Trobe University · School of Life Sciences

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85
Publications
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Publications

Publications (85)
Article
While many Australian terrestrial orchids have highly specialized mycorrhizal associations, we tested the hypothesis that the geographically widespread orchid genus Cryptostylis associates with a diversity of fungal species. We investigated the mycorrhizal associations of five Australian Cryptostylis species (27 sites sampled) and included limited...
Article
Sexually deceptive orchids exploit the innate sexual preferences of their male insect pollinators to achieve pollen transfer. Although floral volatiles are critical for pollinator attraction in sexually deceptive systems, floral morphology is also expected to exploit the sexual preferences of the pollinator. Here, we investigate the pollination of...
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Sexually deceptive orchids are unusual among plants in that closely related species typically attract different pollinator species using contrasting blends of floral volatiles. Therefore, intraspecific variation in pollinator attraction may also be underpinned by differences in floral volatiles. Here, we tested for the presence of floral ecotypes i...
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Prasophyllum morganii (Orchidaceae), the mignonette leek orchid, was first collected from a single population in the subalps of Victoria, Australia, in 1929 but has not been collected since 1933. A morphologically similar leek orchid, P. retroflexum, was described in 2000 from Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia. We measured 51 mor...
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Many orchids are characterized by small, patchily distributed populations. Resolving how they persist is important for understanding the ecology of this hyper-diverse family, many members of which are of conservation concern. Ten populations of the common terrestrial orchid Drakaea glyptodon from south-western Australia were genotyped with ten nucl...
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The behaviour of pollinators has important consequences for plant mating. Nectar-feeding birds often display behaviour that results in more pollen carryover than insect pollinators, which is predicted to result in frequent outcrossing and high paternal diversity for bird-pollinated plants. We tested this prediction by quantifying mating system para...
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Background and aims: Mycorrhizal fungi are a critical component of the ecological niche of most plants and can potentially constrain their geographic range. Unlike other types of mycorrhizal fungi, the distributions of orchid mycorrhizal fungi (OMF) at large spatial scales are not well understood. Here, we investigate the distribution and diversit...
Article
• The Pompilidae is a cosmopolitan and diverse group of wasps, which commonly feed on nectar. However, pollination systems specialised on pompilids have not been documented in detail outside of southern Africa. Here, we studied Caladenia drummondii (Orchidaceae), where based on floral traits and preliminary field observations we predicted pollinati...
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With over 25,000 species, the drivers of diversity in the Orchidaceae remain to be fully understood. Here we outline a multi‐tiered sequence capture strategy aimed at capturing 100’s of loci to enable phylogenetic resolution from subtribe to subspecific levels in orchids of the tribe Diurideae. For the probe design, we mined subsets of 18 transcrip...
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Studying flower color evolution can be challenging as it may require several different areas of expertise, ranging from botany and ecology through to understanding color sensing of insects and thus how they perceive flower signals. Whilst studies often view plant-pollinator interactions from the plant's perspective, there is growing evidence from p...
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Rewarding plants can enhance the pollination success of co-occurring plants pollinated by food mimicry. However, it is not always possible to readily discern between the effect of model and magnet species. Here, we tested for mimicry of co-occurring Fabaceae by the rewardless Diuris magnifica (Orchidaceae) and whether the number of flowers of Fabac...
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Despite their diversity and the potential for specialized pollination systems, Australian Fabaceae have received little attention in pollination studies. In the Southwest Australian Floristic Region (SWAFR), a recognized biodiversity hotspot, co-occurring and abundant species of Faboideae exhibit a range of floral colours and forms, suggestive of a...
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Background and aims: In orchid conservation, quantifying the specificity of mycorrhizal associations, and establishing which orchid species use the same fungal taxa, is important for sourcing suitable fungi for symbiotic propagation and selecting sites for conservation translocation. For Caladenia subgenus Calonema (Orchidaceae), which contains 58...
Article
Numerous orchid species are pollinated by food deception, where rewardless flowers attract foraging pollinators through the mimicry of other flowers or the use of non-specific floral signals. Here we investigate the pollination of Caladenia hildae, a member of a diverse Australian genus containing species pollinated by sexual deception, and species...
Article
Background: Given the exceptional diversity of orchids (26,000+ species), improving strategies for the conservation of orchids will benefit a vast number of taxa. Furthermore, with rapidly increasing numbers of endangered orchids, and low success rates in orchid conservation translocation programs worldwide, it is evident that our progress in unde...
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Plants pollinated by vertebrates are often visited by native and exotic insects foraging for pollen and nectar.We compared flower visitation rates, foraging behaviour, and the contribution to reproduction of nectar-feeding birds and the introduced honeybee Apis mellifera in four populations of the bird-pollinated Anigozanthos manglesii (Haemodorace...
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Ecological niches are crucial for species coexistence and diversification, but the niche concept has been underutilized in studying the roles of pollinators in plant evolution and reproduction. Pollination niches can be objectively characterized using pollinator traits, abundance, and distributions, as well as network topology. We review evidence t...
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Bioactive natural products underpin the intriguing pollination strategy used by sexually deceptive orchids. These compounds, which mimic the sex pheromones of the female insect, are emitted in particular blends to lure male insect pollinators of specific species. By combining methods from field biology, analytical chemistry, electrophysiology, crys...
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Caladenia is a diverse Australian genus that is exceptional among orchids in having both species pollinated by food‐seeking and sexually deceived insects. Here, we investigated the pollination of Caladenia nobilis, a species predicted to be food‐deceptive due to its large, cream‐coloured, and apparently nectarless flowers. Pollinator observations w...
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Trügerisches Drakolid: Der neuartige Naturstoff Drakolid (3 c) wirkt zusammen mit den beiden Hydroxymethylpyrazinen 1 und 2 als Bestäuberlockstoff in der bedrohten sexualtäuschenden Hammerorchidee Drakaea micrantha. Abstract Bioactive natural products underpin the intriguing pollination strategy used by sexually deceptive orchids. These compounds,...
Article
Pollination by nectarivorous birds is predicted to result in different patterns of pollen dispersal and plant mating compared to pollination by insects. We tested the prediction that paternal genetic diversity, outcrossing rate and realised pollen dispersal will be reduced when the primary pollinator group is excluded from bird‐pollinated plants. P...
Article
Sexually deceptive orchids achieve pollination by luring male insects to flowers through chemical and sometimes visual mimicry of females. An extreme example of this deception occurs in Cryptostylis, one of only two genera where sexual deception is known to induce pollinator ejaculation. In the present study, bioassay-guided fractionations of Crypt...
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Background and aims: In plants, the spatial and genetic distance between mates can influence reproductive success and offspring fitness. Negative fitness consequences associated with the extremes of inbreeding and outbreeding suggests that there will be an intermediate optimal outcrossing distance (OOD), the scale and drivers of which remain poorl...
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• Background and Aims While there is increasing recognition of Batesian floral mimicry in plants, there are few confirmed cases where mimicry involves more than one model species. Here, we test for pollination by mimicry in Diuris (Orchidaceae), a genus hypothesized to attract pollinators via mimicry of a range of co-occurring pea plants (Faboideae...
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The geographical range of pollinators is an important factor determining the distribution of plants with specialized pollinator interactions. Furthermore, pollinator availability can be critical for the success of conservation translocations of threatened flora with such interactions. Here, we investigated the pollination biology of the endangered...
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Prior to undertaking conservation translocations of plants with specialised pollination systems, it is important to ensure the presence of pollinators at recipient sites. Here, for two threatened species, Caladenia concolor Fitzg. and Caladenia arenaria Fitzg. (Orchidaceae), we determine (i) the pollination strategy used, (ii) which floral visitors...
Article
Specialized pollination systems can contribute to plant diversification and species co-existence, but they also have important implications for plant conservation due to the potential risks of relying on a small number of pollinator species. Here, we studied pollination of Caladenia colorata (Orchidaceae), a rare species with floral traits intermed...
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Full-text available
Background and Aims While there is increasing recognition of Batesian floral mimicry in plants, there are few confirmed cases where mimicry involves more than one model species. Here, we test for pollination by mimicry in Diuris (Orchidaceae), a genus hypothesized to attract pollinators via mimicry of a range of co-occurring pea plants (Faboideae)...
Article
Pollination by sexual deception of male insects is perhaps one of the most remarkable cases of mimicry in the plant kingdom. However, understanding the influence of floral traits on pollinator behaviour in sexually deceptive orchids is challenging, due to the risk of confounding changes in floral odour when manipulating morphology. Here, we investi...
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• Identification of pollen vectors is a fundamental objective of pollination biology. The foraging and social behavior of these pollinators has profound effects on plant mating, making quantification of their behavior critical for understanding the ecological and evolutionary consequences of different pollinators for the plants they visit. However,...
Article
Caladenia is exceptional among orchid genera in that it contains both species pollinated by sexual deception and species pollinated by food-foraging insects. Whereas pollination strategies have been elucidated in some species complexes, others groups have received limited attention, hampering our ability to understand the evolution of the exception...
Article
Until recently, (methylthio)phenols as natural products had only been reported from bacteria. Now, four representatives of this class of sulfurous aromatic compounds have been discovered as semiochemicals in the orchid Caladenia crebra, which secures pollination by sexual deception. In this case, field bioassays confirmed that a 10:1 blend of 2-(me...
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Demand for restoration of resilient, self-sustaining, and biodiverse natural ecosystems as a conservation measure is increasing globally; however, restoration efforts frequently fail to meet standards appropriate for this objective. Achieving these standards requires management underpinned by input from diverse scientific disciplines including ecol...
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The mechanism of pollinator attraction is predicted to strongly influence both plant diversification and the extent of pollinator sharing between species. Sexually deceptive orchids rely on mimicry of species-specific sex pheromones to attract their insect pollinators. Given that sex pheromones tend to be conserved among related species, we predict...
Article
One of the most intriguing natural observations is the pollination of orchids by sexual deception. Here, we identify floral semiochemicals from Caladenia (spider orchids) for the first time. We demonstrate that C. crebra, attracts its single pollinator species with a unique system of (methylthio)phenols, three of which are new natural products. Fur...
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Mehrere (Methylthio)phenole aus der Spinnenorchidee Caladenia crebra wurden als Lockstoffe für Bestäuber identifiziert. Zugleich handelt sich bei ihnen um Sexualpheromone der Bestäuberwespe Campylothynnus flavopictus. Wie B. Bohman et al. in ihrer Zuschrift (DOI: 10.1002/ange.201702864) beschreiben, waren drei dieser Stoffe zuvor in der Natur unbek...
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A set of (methylthio)phenols from the spider orchid Caladenia crebra were identified as pollinator attractants, as well as sex pheromones of the pollinator wasp Campylothynnus flavopictus. As described by B. Bohman and co-workers in their Communication (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201702864), three of these compounds were previously unknown in nature and wer...
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Recent studies using sequence data from eight sequence loci and coalescent-based species delimitation methods have revealed several species-level lineages of Tulasnella associated with the orchid genera Arthrochilus, Caleana, Chiloglottis, and Drakaea in Australia. Here we formally describe three of those species, Tulasnella prima, T. secunda, and...
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Sexually deceptive orchids lure their specific male pollinators using volatile semiochemicals that mimic female sex pheromones. To date, the semiochemicals known to be involved consist of blends of chemically and biosynthetically related compounds. In contrast, we report that (S)-β-citronellol and 2-hydroxy-6-methylacetophenone, two biosyntheticall...
Article
One of the most intriguing natural observations is the pollination of orchids by sexual deception. Here, we identify floral semiochemicals from Caladenia (spider orchids) for the first time. We demonstrate that C. crebra, attracts its single pollinator species with a unique system of (methylthio)phenols, three of which are new natural products. Fur...
Article
Establishment of reintroduction sites and supplementation of small populations is critical to the recovery of many threatened plant species. For plants with specialized pollination strategies, understanding the spatial distribution of pollinators is essential for successful reintroductions. For the critically endangered Caladenia hastata (Orchidace...
Article
Pollinator behaviour has profound effects on plant mating. Pollinators are predicted to minimise energetic costs during foraging bouts by moving between nearby flowers. However, a review of plant mating system studies reveals a mismatch between behavioural predictions and pollen-mediated gene dispersal in bird-pollinated plants. Paternal diversity...
Article
The Orchidaceae is characterised by the repeated evolution of sexual deception, one of the most specialised pollination strategies. In orchids, sexual deception involves long-range pollinator attraction via mimicry of female insect sex pheromones. At close range, visual signals involving colour mimicry, contrast to the background, and exploitation...
Article
Optimal foraging behaviour by nectavores is expected to result in a leptokurtic pollen dispersal distribution and predominantly near-neighbour mating. However, complex social interactions among nectarivorous birds may result in different mating patterns to those typically observed in insect-pollinated plants. Mating system, realised pollen dispersa...
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Full-text available
Specialized mycorrhizal interactions have the potential to limit the geographical range of plant species and contribute to reproductive isolation. We investigated these predictions in Caladenia (Orchidaceae) from south-western Australia, a group known to have specialized mycorrhizal associations with the genus Sebacina s.l. Sequencing of fungal iso...
Article
Pollination via sexual deception is hypothesised to be associated with more frequent outcrossing and greater pollen dispersal distances than strategies involving food-foraging behaviour. In this study, we investigated the behaviour and movement distances of Lissopimpla excelsa (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae), and their implications for the pollination...
Article
Seasonal acclimatisation of thermal tolerance, evaporative water loss and metabolic rate, along with regulation of the hive environment, are key ways whereby hive-based social insects mediate climatic challenges throughout the year, but the relative importance of these traits remains poorly understood. We examined seasonal variation in metabolic ra...
Article
An increasing diversity of highly specialized pollination systems are being discovered, many of which are likely to be vulnerable to anthropogenic landscape modification. Here, we investigate if a specialized pollination system limits the persistence of Caladenia huegelii (Orchidaceae), an endangered species pollinated by sexual deception of thynni...
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Parasitoid wasps occur in diverse communities, with the adults of most species sourcing carbohydrates from nectar or honeydew. However, the role of niche partitioning of nectar resources in maintaining diverse communities of parasitoid Hymenoptera is poorly known. To elucidate patterns of nectar resource use and test whether species partition resou...
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In the six years since the first International Orchid Conservation Congress in 2001 has the conservation of orchids progressed? Certainly orchid science has grown from less than 100 published works in the 20 year period from 1900-1920 to over 3200 for 2000- 2005. With knowledge of orchids spanning an aston- ishing array of disciplines it is therefo...
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Sequences representing the genomes of two distinct virus isolates infecting wild plants of two members of the genus Drakaea (hammer orchids) in Western Australia are described. The virus isolated from D. livida has a bipartite genome of 4490 nt (RNA1) and 2905 nt (RNA2) that shares closest sequence and structural similarity to members of the genus...
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Plants are predicted to show floral adaptation to geographic variation in the most effective pollinator, potentially leading to reproductive isolation and genetic divergence. Many sexually deceptive orchids attract just a single pollinator species, limiting opportunities to experimentally investigate pollinator switching. Here we investigate Drakae...
Article
Species with specialized ecological interactions present significant conservation challenges. In plants that attract pollinators with pollinator-specific chemical signals, geographical variation in pollinator species may indicate the presence of cryptic plant taxa. We investigated this phenomenon in the rare sexually deceptive orchid Drakaea elasti...
Article
Sexually deceptive orchids employ floral volatiles to sexually lure their specific pollinators. How and why this pollination system has evolved independently on multiple continents remains unknown, although preadaptation is considered to have been important. Understanding the chemistry of sexual deception is a crucial first step towards solving thi...
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Background and AimsPterostylis is an Australasian terrestrial orchid genus of more than 400 species, most of which use a motile, touch-sensitive labellum to trap dipteran pollinators. Despite studies dating back to 1872, the mechanism of pollinator attraction has remained elusive. This study tested whether the fungus gnat-pollinated Pterostylis san...
Article
1. Small population size in plants is often associated with decreased fruit set through lower pollinator visitation and reduced offspring fitness as a result of inbreeding. Whether the potentially negative impacts of small population size are realised may be potentially influenced by the behaviour and ecology of pollinators. 2. Here, we investigate...
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It has recently been discovered that novel di-, tri- and tetra- substituted pyrazines are semiochemicals in Drakaea, an orchid genus that secures pollination by the sexual deception of male thynnine wasps. We examined if similar pyrazines were also present in the distantly related Caladenia barbarossa, a sexually deceptive orchid that is also polli...
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Pollinator sharing can offer powerful insights into the floral traits associated with the evolution of a pollination system and the consequences of floral differences for pollinator behaviour. Here, we investigate the first known case of pollinator sharing between two sexually deceptive plant genera. Floral manipulations were used to test the impor...
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Full-text available
Pollinator behaviour directly affects patterns of pollen movement and outcrossing rates in plants. In orchids pollinated by sexual deception of insects, patterns of pollen movement are primarily determined by the mate-searching behaviour of the deceived males. Here, using a capture-mark-recapture study (CMR) and dietary analysis, we compare mate-se...
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The feeding preferences of Australian flower wasps (Thynnidae: Thynninae) are reviewed based on the available literature, a search of a specimen database of almost 8,000 records and an examination of selected representatives of all described genera for the presence of pollen. The vast majority of records of feeding by flower wasps are on nectar, bu...
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A leading hypothesis for the immense diversity of the Orchidaceae is that skewed mating success and small, disjunct populations lead to strong genetic drift and switches between adaptive peaks. This mechanism is only possible under conditions of low gene flow that lead to high genetic differentiation among populations. We tested whether orchids typ...
Article
Sexually deceptive orchids employ mimicry of insect sex pheromones to exploit a diverse group of pollinators. The chemical structures of five semiochemicals (1-3, 7, 8) produced by populations of the warty hammer orchid, Drakaea livida, pollinated by a thynnine wasp in the genus Catocheilus were elucidated. With the exception of (2,5-dimethylpyrazi...
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Nectar is the major currency bringing together plants and pollinators; yet the costs and benefits of nectar production remain poorly understood. A low nectar line developed in Petunia offers an innovative approach to this problem and may offer clues to why some plants cheat and secure pollination via deception.
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Drakaea livida (Orchidaceae) is pollinated by sexual deception of the wasp Zaspilothynnus nigripes (Thynnidae). It is shown that the orchid emits the same compound, 2-hydroxymethyl-3-(3-methylbutyl)-5-methylpyrazine, that females emit when calling for mates. This novel pyrazine was isolated and identified by GC-EAD and GC-MS and confirmed by synthe...
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High ambient temperatures can adversely affect insects through high evaporative water loss (EWL) and reduction of metabolic activity through enzyme denaturation. Establishing the relationship between the temperature at which these processes become detrimental and regulatory behaviour is critical in resolving the mechanisms by which insects cope wit...
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1. While rarely tested, the rarity of a species may be linked to the rarity of symbiotic partners. The requirement of many terrestrial plants to form a symbiosis with mycorrhizal fungi may limit the distribution and abundance of plant species. Here, in just the second test of the role of mycorrhiza in host species rarity, we investigate the influen...