Peakall Group - Pollination, evolution and conservation

Sexually-deceptive orchid being pollinated by a wasp. Photo: Rod Peakall

Research in the Peakall Group is focused on the development and application of DNA based genetic markers for investigating a range of pure and applied questions in evolutionary and conservation biology. The integration of ecological, population genetic and molecular tools allows novel insights that are not possible on their own.

Our study organisms include plants, mammals, birds, insects and fungi. Studies of orchids feature strongly, but by no means exclusively, in greater part because their novel pollination systems are ideal for exploring a range of evolutionary questions. Our research provides exciting opportunities for collaborative multidisciplinary research spanning reproductive ecology, genetics, phylogeny, biochemistry and chemical ecology.

Group  awards

Members

Leader

Rod Peakall

Rod Peakall
Rod Peakall completed his BSc (Hons) in 1984 and PhD in 1987, both at the University of Western Australia (UWA), before taking...

Divisional Visitor

PhD Student

Postdoctoral Fellow

Technical Officer

Publications

Selected publications

News & events

News

George Olah and Scarlet Macaw
15
Jul
2014
George Olah used forensic genetic techniques to learn about Peru's Macaw population, and the impact of a massive road project on breeding of these birds.
Possum in a trap. Image credit: Sam Banks
26
May
2014
A new study of the way bacteria spread amongst possums could shed light on the spread of human epidemics.
ARC logo
28
Jun
2013
Two ARC Linkage grants have been awarded to staff of the Research School of Biology.
Microdot on a wasp
13
Oct
2011
New research by scientists at The Australian National University will see wasps being tracked in the same way as stolen cars – using specialist microdot technology.

Pages

Highlights

Pollination of the Spider orchid Caladenia crebra by the Thynnine wasp Campylothynnus flavopictus

Molecular mimicry and sexual deception

A team of chemists and biologists at both the ANU and the University of Western Australia (UWA) have been investigating and discovering what draws pollinators (such as wasps) to orchids.
Pollination of the Spider orchid Caladenia crebra by the Thynnine wasp Campylothynnus flavopictus

Molecular mimicry and sexual deception

Orchids are valued the world-over for their delicate beauty and fragrance, but for wasps they hold a different kind of appeal: sex appeal.

Rod Peakall

What are your research interests?

Three tricks orchids use to lure pollinating insects

Research on sexually deceptive orchids by Rod Peakall and Ryan Phillips has been featured by BBC Earth.

Updated:  19 February 2019/Responsible Officer:  Director RSB/Page Contact:  Webmaster RSB