Plants must navigate many different species interactions simultaneously, including interactions with mutualists (pollinators) and antagonists (consumers). These conflicting interactions can impose different selection pressures on floral and vegetative traits. Carnivorous plants present a unique example of these potentially conflicting interactions, because they depend on insects as both pollinators and prey. The mechanisms by which carnivorous plants may partition their pollinator and prey communities are still unclear. I am interested in studying pollinator-prey conflict in Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula), a carnivorous plant that employs a unique snap-trap for capturing insect prey.
Despite its fame, the pollination ecology of D. muscipula remains poorly understood. Flytraps are native to the moist pine savannas of North and South Carolina, where they are vulnerable to fire suppression and poaching. I am interested in understanding how variation in pollinator community and fire regime contribute to the reproductive success of this charismatic plant.