Pollen grains in angiosperms are morphologically highly diverse. Our character of interest is the aperture type, which is defined by the number, shape and position of apertures. Apertures are defined as zones where the pollen wall is thinner or even absent, and have the double function of allowing pollen tube germination (which in turn allows fertilization of the female parts), and exchanges between the pollen grain and the environment. We explore the developmental and selective processes leading to variation in aperture types. We are also interested in the phylogenetic distribution of this diversity.
The flower is a key innovation of the most diversified group of land plants, the angiosperms. Beyond a highly conserved basic groundplan, they present an amazing diversity that is believed to have been largely shaped by the interaction with pollinating agents. Using a variety of approaches combining ancestral state reconstruction, diversification rate analyses, developmental floral biology and evo-devo studies, we aim to unravel (i) the diversification patterns having led to the observed diversity of flowering plants, (ii) the patterns of floral trait evolution, and (iii) the developmental and genetic bases of floral trait diversity.