PhD Defense Seminar cum Oral Examination:
"The phenology of four dioecious figs and their obligate pollinators, the fig wasps, in urban Singapore"
Dept. of Biological Sciences,
Monday 04 June 2012: 10 am
DBS CONFERENCE ROOM (S3 LEVEL 5)
Supervisor: Prof Richard Corlett
Abstract In a human-dominated landscape such as Singaporeís, figs play an important role in providing sustenance for a variety of urban wildlife, such as squirrels, bats and a large variety of birds. The focus of this study was on four species of dioecious pioneer figs that grow in abandoned or disturbed habitats: F. grossularioides, F. fistulosa, F. variegata and F. aurata. The phenology and pollination biology of the fig plants and the dispersal and longevity of the pollinating fig wasps were studied.
Phenology was correlated with rainfall in all four species, but to varying degrees. Following dry months, there was an increase in crop terminations in F. grossularioides and F. aurata, creating potential gaps in phenology which could threaten the local persistence of pollinator populations. Moreover, compared with the pollinators of monoecious figs, those of these dioecious species appear to disperse shorter distances and closer to the ground. The already short adult lives of the pollinators (< 2 days) were reduced further by high temperatures (> 32oC).
While all four species are currently doing well in the highly urbanized and fragmented landscape of Singapore, they may be vulnerable to rising temperatures and extended droughts in the future.
All are welcome