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

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

What are your research interests?

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.

ARC Discovery projects and DECRA fellowships

Story | Monday 17 November 2014

Using artificial nests to assist and study Macaw Parrots in lowland Peru

Story | Tuesday 15 July 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.

ARC Linkage grant success

Story | Friday 28 June 2013
Two ARC Linkage grants have been awarded to staff of the Research School of Biology.

Microdots spot on for wasp study

Story | Thursday 13 October 2011
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.

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