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Science News

February 27, 2013

Department of Life Sciences Seminar



Connecting with the Amazon: discovering parasitoid diversity and cultivating care



Anu Veijalainen

University of Turku, Finland


Friday 1 of March 11:00
Sir Neil Chalmers seminar room, Darwin Centre LG16 (below Attenborough studio)



The koinobiont (specialist) groups of the megadiverse parasitoid wasp family Ichneumonidae have been thought to be more species rich in temperate than tropical environments. However, recent studies have questioned this classic assumption. Here, I demonstrate which koinobiont subfamilies may have a regular species richness gradient in the Western Hemisphere based on relative abundance data from the southern US, Central America, and western Amazonia. I also show that additional sampling in tropical forests can reveal reservoirs of very high unknown ichneumonid diversity. As an example, I present a study which found over 170 undescribed Neotropical orthocentrine species using morphological and molecular species separation methods. This is over three times the number of all currently described tropical orthocentrine species. The talk will finish with presenting a multidisciplinary study attempting to promote environmentally sustainable behavior through free public ichneumonid species naming.



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