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Presented By: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

EEB Thursday Seminar - Hybrid Hubbell Lecture: Macroevolution to microbiomes: piecing together the puzzle to understand the evolution of the ants

Corrie Moreau, Senior Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, Martha N. and John C. Moser Professor of Entomology, and Director and Head Curator of the Cornell University Insect Collection

Cephalotes atratus Cephalotes atratus
Cephalotes atratus
Our weekly seminar series featuring internal and external speakers in the field of ecology and evolutionary biology. This seminar will be in-person and livestreaming on Zoom (link this page).

Abstract:
To fully understand the macroevolutionary factors that have promoted the diversification and persistence of biological diversity varied tools and disciplines must be integrated. By combining data from several fields including molecular phylogenetics/phylogenomics, comparative genomics, biogeographic range reconstruction, stable isotope analyses, and microbial community sequencing to study the evolutionary history of the insects, we are beginning to understand the drivers of speciation and the interconnectedness of life. Comparative phylogenetic analysis reveals the interconnectedness of ants and plants and that ants diversified after the rise of the angiosperms. While studies combining stable isotope analysis to infer the trophic ecology of the ants and next-generation sequencing of gut-associated bacteria of ants highlight the importance of this microbiome association in the evolution of herbivory. Microbial contributions to ants are not limited to diet enrichment and we find evidence for their role in cuticle formation. These multiple lines of evidence are illuminating a more complete picture of ant evolution and providing novel insights into the role that symbiosis plays to promote biological diversity.

Contact eebsemaccess@umich.edu for Zoom password at least 2 hours prior to event.

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