Progetti di ricerca
My research focuses on how plants reproduce and survive in a rapidly changing world.
To do this, I investigate the relationship between plants and mutualists i.e. animal pollinators and soil fungi.
I use various approaches to test hypotheses about how the fitness and distributions of plants are influenced by mutualists. I mainly focus on the population biology of orchids; this is because they are often rare and have a high dependency on pollinators to set seeds, and soil mycorrhizal fungi to germinate from seeds (as their seeds lack nutritional resources). Also, many orchids do not offer a reward (e.g. nectar, pollen) to animal pollinators, so they often rely on other plants to provide rewards to pollinators; hence they can be very sensitive to loss of mutualists (pollinators, fungi, and other flowering plants). I also work on other plants that have interesting reproductive systems (e.g. Kniphofia, Aloe). The overall goal of my research is to help better predict how these biotic interactions influence plants and how plants are affected by ongoing habitat loss and climate change.