Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Asimetría de las estructuras florales y la posibilidad de auto-polinización en Oerstedella exasperata (Orchidaceae)



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Publication Date

November 2008


The purpose of this study was to investigate the causes of the pervasive asymmetry found in the neotropical orchid Oerstedella exasperata. Previous studies have found that high levels of asymmetry decrease reproductive success, and can be caused by a high amount of homozygosity within a population. This study tested the ability of O. exasperata to self-pollinate, a condition that indicates the possibility of a high level of homozygosity. In addition, the relationships between three degrees of asymmetry and floral color, floral mass, plant size and sun exposure were investigated to determine whether higher asymmetry is correlated with lower reproductive success or reduced overall plant fitness. Results showed an overall trend suggesting that self-pollination is possible, which implies that O. exasperata’s high level of asymmetry could be caused by homozygosity. Floral asymmetry was not related to any of the other examined factors, implying that it is a neutral trait that does not affect the overall fitness of this species of orchid. These results contradict other studies’ findings that asymmetry is detrimental to plant health, indicating that O. exasperata could be an exception to the general rule that symmetry indicates superior genetics in plants. El propósito de este estudio fue investigar las causas de asimetría en la orquídea neotropical Oerstedella exasperata. Estudios anteriores han reportado que los niveles elevados de asimetría bajan el éxito reproductivo, y pueden ser causados por homocigosis alta en una población. Este estudio probo la capacidad de O. exasperata de auto-polinizarse, una condición que indica la posibilidad de un nivel alto de homocigosis.


Flowers--Morphology, Flores--Morfologia, Orchids, Orquideas, Orchids--Pollination, Orquideas polinizacion, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone, Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde, CIEE Fall 2008, CIEE Otoño 2008


Student Affiliation : Department of Biology, Davidson College Born Digital

Subject: topical

Flowers--Morphology; Flores--Morfologia; Orchids; Orquideas; Orchids--Pollination; Orquideas polinizacion; CIEE Fall 2008; CIEE Otoño 2008

Subject: geographic

Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone; Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde



Holding Location

|Monteverde Institute MVI



Asymmetry of floral structures and the possibility of self-pollination in Oerstedella exasperata (Orchidaceae)



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