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Délimitation taxonomique et étude de la biologie de la reproduction du genre africain Cyrtorchis Schltr. (Orchidaceae)

Abstract : The genus Cyrtorchis, grouped of 18 angraecoid orchids species endemic to tropical Africa, and was known for its large, white, fragrant flowers with a long spur well suited for studies on reproductive biology. It was also known for its taxonomic delimitation problems, which can be detrimental to the conservation of the species. This PhD thesis aims to address the delimitation problems within the genus at the inter- and intraspecific level using an integrative taxonomic approach and to investigate its reproductive biology. Visual inspection of 1752 specimens, morphometric and phylogenetic analyses was used to clarify the taxonomy within the genus. Visual inspection delineated 27 a priori morphogroups, from which a sample of 171 specimens representing 20 morphogroups was used for morphometric analyses. For phylogenetic reconstructions, 69 specimens representing 21 of the 27 morphogroups were sequenced with six molecular markers. The characterization of flowering patterns and the observation of pollinators were carried out respectively through a three-year shadehouse phenological survey of 494 living specimens representing 15 taxa and a survey of the natural in situ pollination of two taxa in Cameroon. The assessment of factors affecting fruit and viable seed production was carried out in two species of the genus through 448 hand pollination tests for which the effect of pollination system and resource limitation were examined. Morphological approaches allow to distinguish two groups corresponding to the two sections previously identified for the genus Cyrtorchis. Molecular analyses support only the monophyly of on of the sections, Cyrtorchis sect. Cyrtorchis. Eight morphologically defined taxa including three new species are also well supported by morphometric and phylogenetic analyses. The insertion point of the stipites at the rear third of the length of the viscidium appears to be one of the main reproductive characters supporting the monophyly of the genus while other traits (such as the viscidium structure, the shape of the stipites and the lateral lobes of the rostellum) are found to be important criteria for inferring phylogenetic relationships within the genus. Finally this analysis highlights 27 taxa within the genus (including six new taxa to be described), of which 12 taxa, confirmed by morphometric and/or phylogenetic approaches. Flowering of most species at the shadehouse is peaking during the main rainy season (between August and October). However, some sympatric species present non-overlapping flowering periods and an asynchronism of flowering between populations of the same species. Natural pollination is a rare event and difficult to observe in the two studied species. Indeed, the overall pollination/fruiting rate is low (39% of flowers with pollinia removed and 16% of fruits produced in C. okuensis; 31-15% of flowers with pollinia removed and 7-4% of fruits produced in C. letouzeyi) because of the reduced number of pollinators visits. Additionally, both species were found to be pollinated by hawkmoths. Manual pollination tests revealed that cross-pollination appears to be the most efficient pollination system to produce fruits and viable seeds. However, more species will need to be tested to confirm this pattern. The multidisciplinary approaches developed in this work provide a solid basis to define and implement effective conservation strategies for threatened orchid species. To produce a complete taxonomic revision of the genus, a completed phylogeny including the five remaining and the yet unresolved taxa is required. The newly identified taxa should be described and the conservation status assessed for all species recognised in the genus.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 21, 2021 - 10:37:38 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - 6:35:47 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-03265676, version 1


Laura Azandi. Délimitation taxonomique et étude de la biologie de la reproduction du genre africain Cyrtorchis Schltr. (Orchidaceae). Systématique, phylogénie et taxonomie. Université Libre de Bruxelles [Bruxelles]; Université de Yaoundé 1 (Cameroun), 2021. Français. ⟨tel-03265676⟩



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