Biosystematics, informatics and genomics of the big 4 insect groups: training tomorrow's researchers and entrepreneurs

Genomics-based approaches to the eco-systematic study of insect biodiversity from fragile, endangered ecosystems

Objectives: Based on the advanced DNA-sequencing technologies, including those under development in the ESR project 1, the aim is to develop an accelerated way of extracting and preserving valuable systematic and evolutionary information for future generations of scientists and public about insect communities that are under strong threat of extinction. The project focuses on the partially extinct (due to predation by human-introduced rats) highly unique beetle fauna of the small Lord Howe Island. We aim to explore phylogenetically its main lineages to reconstruct the origin of this fauna, and use methods of populations genetics to predict the future of endangered species.

Expected Results: Rigorous biogeographic history of Lord Howe Island based on beetles as a model group; resolved phylogenetic placement of several extinct species; conservation recommendations for habitats with high concentration of endangered insect species.

Researching student: Josh Jenkins Shaw

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