Biological Sciences / Botany
Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Lima, Peru)
Host Institution: State University of New York, Oswego
Host Lab: Bachelier Lab
Orthopterygium is a monotypic genus which is highly endemic of the Andean western slopes of Peru (Leon et al. 2013). Like its Mexican sister genus Amphipterygium (Schlechtendal 1843), it is dioecious and has strongly dimorphic reproductive structures with similar lax male inflorescences referred to as “catkins”, and unique cupular winged female inflorescences which are so unusual that the two genera were first placed in their own family, Julianiaceae (Hemsl, 1906). Little is known about the reproductive structures, biology, and ecology of this rare and threatened genus. Therefore, a small project designed by my professors to promote its conservation was recently submitted and funded. With the support of the microMORPH grant, I hope to contribute to this project by studying the development and morphology of reproductive structures in Orthopterygium, in collaboration with Dr. Julien Bachelier at SUNY Oswego, NY.
The proposed research will examine the structure of male and female inflorescences and flowers of Orthopterygium huaucui from populations in the vicinity of Lima. Most populations of O. huaucui (A. Gray) Hemsl. known to date are located in adjacent valleys of Lima and seem to be extremely affected by urban expansion, mining and livestock activity, as well as a changing climate with prolonged droughts. Unfortunately, like other endemic species in Peru, Orthopterygoum has not yet been registered to date within Peru's system of protected areas (Leon & Monsalve 2006). Orthopterygium huaucui may also be of biomedical relevance.