Intriguing Topic: Social Evolution in Social Insects

Oct 2, 2017

Intriguing topic: social evolution in social insects...

The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology has booked associate professor of biology Tim Linksvayer of the University of Pennsylvania for a seminar on “Genomic Signatures of Social Evolution in Social Insects" on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

The seminar, open to all interested persons, takes place from 4:10 to 5 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall, Kleiber Hall Drive.

"Eusociality in ants, bees, wasps, and termites is a major evolutionary innovation, yet the genomic basis of sociality is largely unknown," Linksvayer says. "I will discuss recent and ongoing research in my lab focused on elucidating the genetic basis and evolution of social traits and social systems in ants and honey bees."

"We study the genetic and behavioral underpinnings of complex social systems in order to understand how these systems function and evolve," he says on his website. "We are especially interested in how social interactions affect genetic architecture and trait evolution."

Access his website and you'll see a pharaoh ant. "We use social insects, such as the pharaoh ant, as a study system because they are exemplar social systems and are also well-established models for research in social evolution, behavioral genetics, and collective behavior."

This is the second of the fall seminar series hosted by the department. The seminars began Sept. 27 and will conclude Dec. 6. Assistant professor Rachel Vannette is coordinating the seminars. 

Oct. 11:  (Cancelled as of Oct. 4) “Multitrophic Mediation of Plant Perception of Herbivores” by Gary Felton, Pennsylvania State University, who received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis

Oct. 18: Exit seminar by Leslie Saul-Gershenz, doctoral candidate, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology

Oct. 25:"Ecoinformatics and the Curious Case of Katydids in California Citrus" by Bodil Cass, UC Davis

Nov. 1:“Mating Distruption of Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter by Playback of Natural Vibrational Signals in Vineyard Trellis” by Rodrigo Krugner of the U.S,. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS)

Nov. 8: Exit seminar by doctoral candidate/ecologist Ash Zemenick, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology

Nov. 15: “Revelations from Phasmatodea Digestive Track Transcriptomics” by Matan Shelomi, National Taiwan University, who received his doctorate in entomology from the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology

Nov. 22: Thanksgiving week; no seminar

Nov. 29; “Ant Social Parasites Repeatedly Evolved Reproduction Isolation from Their Hosts in Sympatry” by Christian Rabeling, Arizona State University

Dec. 6: “Root Knot Nematode and Associated Pathogen Resistance” by Phil Roberts, University of Riverside

The Department of Entomology and Nematology, chaired by professor and nematologist Steve Nadler, is world renowned for its quality research, education and public service. Globally, it is ranked No. 7 by The Times Higher Educational World University Rankings for its teaching, research, international outlook and industry outcome. Its facilities include the Bohart Museum of Entomology, Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, and its mosquito research program based at UC Davis and the Kearney Agricultural Research and Center in Parlier.

Faculty are globally recognized for their expertise in insect demography, systematics and evolutionary biology of ants, pollination and community ecology,  integrated pest management, insect biochemistry, molecular biology, and the systematics and evolutionary biology of nematodes. The graduate program offers master's and doctoral degrees.  The teaching and research faculty includes some 40 professional entomologists and nematologists.