ERATO Evolving Symbiosis Project International Seminar Series #14

Dr. Hassan Salem(Max-Planck Institute for Biology, Germany)
"Microbial determinants of folivory in beetles"

Abstract: My group is interested in the evolutionary processes that shape mutually beneficial species interactions, with emphasis on why they form and how they facilitate adaptation in insects. Using tortoise beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidea: Cassidinae) as a model, my talk will outline the mechanisms by which these insects house and transmit their obligate bacterial and fungal symbionts. I will also discuss the physiological and evolutionary consequences of engaging with a single clade of microbes for an upward of 80 million years. Leveraging data from genomic and transcriptomic sequencing, microscopy and bioassays, I will address (i) the metabolic factors defining nutritional and defensive symbioses within the Cassidinae, (ii) how variation in these factors drastically shapes beetle physiology and host-plant use, (iii) the trade-offs governing symbiont localisation and transmission, and, finally, (iv) the ubiquity of obligate beetle-bacterial symbioses within the Chrysomelidae. Collectively, our findings highlight the key role of symbiosis in facilitating folivory across a highly speciose insect clade, the leaf beetles.

ERATO Evolving Symbiosis Project International Seminar Series #14
Sponsored by ERATO FUKATSU Evolving Symbiosis Project

Co-sponsored by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas "Post-Koch Ecology”

Co-sponsored by Microbiology Research Center for Sustainability (MiCS), University of Tsukuba