Patrick von AderkasGinkgo pollination drop

Centre for Forest Biology
Department of Biology
University of Victoria

Research: I work reproduction of gymnosperms, including conifers, cycads, gnetophytes, ginkgo and Ephedra, the plant with ripe red cones pictured above.

In some gymnosperms, pollen blows in on the wind and is caught by a liquid secretion called a pollination drop. A pollination drop of Ginkgo is pictured on the right. In other gymnosperms insects are attracted to pollination drops, which seem to serve as a proto-nectar. We would expect these different plant reproductive systems to have different components, and this is what analysis of minerals, carbohydrates, peptides, amino acids and proteins has revealed. We have discovered novel mechanisms at work in the drops. The evolution of seed reproduction, beginning with pollen-ovule interactions, is much more complex and diverse than previously thought.

Researchers in my lab (pictured below) also work extensively on conifers, which are a pillar of wealth in British Columbia. Sustainable forestry depends on seed production. We have studied various aspects, including reproductive failure, cone induction, cloning by in vitro methods and phenotypic variation of embryos. Recently, we completed a Canada-France collaborative project on parasitism of conifer seed by invasive chalcid wasps(Megastigmus spp.). Details of that project can be found at Megastigmus and conifers: biology of invasion, or in French at Megastigmus et conifères: la biologie de l'invasion.

Teaching: Evolution and Biodiversity (BIOL184), Tree Biology (BIOL325), Molecules to ecotypes: Arabidopsis (BIOL326), Plants & People (BIOL334)

Relaxation: If you are on the campus of UVic and you need a nice walk to boost your spirits, here is pdf made by my son Max of four walks that are lovely rain or shine. Maps