Dr Monika Lipińska laureate of the Bekker Programme

Dr Monika Lipińska

Dr Monika Lipińska from the Department of Plant Taxonomy and Nature Conservation of the Faculty of Biology, UG, will undertake a one-year research internship in Costa Rica as part of the scholarship. The research expedition will be possible thanks to the Bekker Programme of the National Agency for Academic Exchange (NAWA), of which the young researcher from UG is the winner.

Out of 355 applications for the Bekker scholarship, funding was awarded to 77 researchers. Within the framework of the scholarship received, Dr Lipińska will carry out a one-year research internship at the Jardín Botánico Lankester in Cartago, where she will carry out a project entitled 'Evolution of ornithophily in the Costa Rican orchids - investigation of floral features and data collection of pollination observations in the field'.

- 'During my trip, I will carry out a project on the study of ornithogamy in tropical representatives of orchids, focusing on field observations and collection of plant material for further research, already conducted in Poland,' - says dr Monika Lipińska. - 'So far, most reports on bird pollination have been based on reports, usually quite fragmentary. While the data on narrhizal structures, flower ultrastructure or the chemical composition of secretions are fascinating and allow the identification of a potential pollination syndrome, without specific field observations, their practical value remains relatively marginal, as they are based on assumptions and indirect evidence.'

In her research, the WB UG scientist would like to emphasise a combination of field observations and laboratory analyses to understand better and appreciate the intricacies of plant-pollinator relationships in selected representatives of the Orchidaceae.

'The Lankester Botanical Garden is one of the leading centres for research on tropical orchids. More than 15,000 scientifically documented specimens from nearly 1,000 species are grown there, most of which are native to Mesoamerica. The Garden's existing secondary forest is one of the few reclaimed areas in the Cartago urban area. Approximately six hectares are home to native species adapted to the secondary forest, including trees from humid regions in the country and numerous epiphytes. The secondary forest is also home to many species of birds (including about seven species of hummingbirds), small mammals, reptiles and insects, which provide a rich pool of potential pollinators,' - says dr Monika Lipińska.

The Bekker Programme aims to support scientists and academics employed at Polish universities and research units in their pursuit of scientific excellence by allowing them to conduct research or teach at renowned foreign centres worldwide.

The programme is open to doctoral students and researchers representing all fields of science, and the host institutions may be scientific or academic centres around the world.

The next call for applications will be launched in March.

EMW / Press Office UG