Peakall Group - Pollination, evolution and conservation

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.

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Selected publications

Recorded EE Webinar - Tobias Hayashi

E&E PhD Exit Seminar: How important is sexual chemistry? Pollination of Pterostylis orchids by male fungus gnats

Event | Fri 6 November 2020
The cross-kingdom mimicry of female insect sex pheromones by sexually deceptive orchids has fascinated evolutionary biologists ever since the importance of chemistry in pollination by sexual deception was first recognised.
Recorded EE Seminar Peakall

E&E Seminar: Sexual deception and its reversibility

Event | Thu 13 August 2020
Native Australian orchids have featured strongly in Rod's research, where he has explored a range of fascinating ecological, biochemical, molecular and evolutionary questions.
Recorded Lecture Peakall Annals of Botany 2020 HD

Annals of Botany Lecture

Event | Tue 28 July 2020
Annals of Botany Special Lecture by Professor Rod Peakall (ANU) at the Botany 2020 - Virtual meeting July 27-31, USA

E&E PhD Exit Seminar: My chemical romance: curious cases of speciation in sexually deceptive Australian orchids

Event | Fri 3 May 2019

Sexual deception is the most beguiling of pollination strategies to evolve.

E&E PhD Exit Seminar: Trials by fire: investigating fire response, post-fire recovery mechanisms, demography and landscape connectivity in an Australian native rodent

Event | Fri 16 March 2018

Genetic diversity is a key component of biodiversity, underpinning the fitness of individuals and the ability of species to adapt to environmental

Spider Orchid

Molecular mimicry and sexual deception

Story | Thursday 27 July 2017
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

Story | Thursday 23 March 2017

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Size does matter for sexually deceptive orchids

Story | Wednesday 16 September 2015
In the first study of its kind researchers have gone beyond looking at the attraction of smell to investigate the role of flower shape and size in sexually deceptive orchids.

Orchid study discovers novel pollinator

Story | Wednesday 3 June 2015
The study investigated Western Australian populations of a rare orchid, and discovered that one population attracted a novel, common species of wasp pollinator in addition to a known rare wasp species.