ERATO Evolving Symbiosis Project International Seminar Series #27

Dr. Tom Bourguignon (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Okinawa, Japan)
“Evolution of termites and cockroaches with their bacterial symbionts”

Abstract: Cockroaches and their social forms, termites, are detritivorous insects that make up an essential part of the brown food web. Their ability to recycle dead organic matter is largely the result of their association with the bacterial symbionts they host in their gut or specialized fat body cells. In this talk, I will describe the nature of the symbiotic association between cockroach and termite hosts and their bacterial symbionts. I will describe what we know about the metabolic capabilities of these bacteria and how they help their hosts to thrive on imbalanced and recalcitrant diets. I will also describe how cockroaches and termites have coevolved with their bacteria and, finally, will provide evidence that termites have cospeciated with their gut bacteria since they came to be ~150 million years ago.

ERATO Evolving Symbiosis Project International Seminar Series #27
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