ERATO Evolving Symbiosis Project International Seminar Series #29

Prof. Evan Economo (Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Okinawa, Japan)
“Biodiversity science in the era of big data: treasure maps, trap-jaws, and the metaverse”

Abstract: Biodiversity science is fundamentally data-limited, particularly for hyperdiverse and understudied groups such as arthropods. In this talk, I explore how emerging technologies are providing new opportunities to better document arthropod biodiversity and how it is changing in the Anthropocene. First, we still need to understand the geographic distribution of invertebrate life on Earth. I discuss a project to resolve a species-level map of life for ants, and how this has illuminated both global patterns of diversification and important regions for conservation. Second, organisms are more than points on a map, and 3D X-ray tomography can capture big data to investigate organismal form and function across the tree of life. As an example, I present work on the spectacular diversification of ant mandibles, including the repeated evolution of specialized ultrafast weapons. Finally, I offer some perspectives for how big data and immersive media technologies can change how we interact with biodiversity in the lab and at home.

ERATO Evolving Symbiosis Project International Seminar Series #29
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