The Fall 2019 Biology Seminar Series continues with Joe Parker's talk, "Convergent Evolution of a Social Symbiosis: Beetles vs Ants."
Convergent Evolution of a Social Symbiosis: Beetles vs Ants
We use rove beetles (Staphylinidae) as our exploratory system, a hugely species-rich clade that has repeatedly evolved highly intimate and phenotypically elaborate symbioses with ants. Such species embody evolution in the extreme, with dramatic behavioral, anatomical and chemical adaptations for life as social parasites inside ant colonies. The widespread evolution of this symbiosis in staphylinids provides a unique paradigm for understanding how obligate interspecies interactions can evolve between free-living organisms. We have found that some of the most remarkable symbiotic phenotypes have evolved convergently many times in Staphylinidae, often in distantly related lineages. The system illuminates the enduring question of how complex phenotypic changes can arise repeatedly and predictably over a deep evolutionary timescale.
Tuesday, October 1st