Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Harnessing natural variation to study the evolution of social behavior
MCZ 101, 26 Oxford Street, Harvard University
Species exhibiting natural phenotypic variation are ideal for ecological genomic studies aimed at identifying some of the key genetic and environmental factors underlying the evolution of these traits. Halictid bees, or ‘sweat’ bees harbor extensive variation in sociality both within and between species, making them a model system for understanding the evolution of social behavior. One species in particular is ideal for dissecting the genetic basis of social behavior – Lasioglossum albipes. This species varies in social structure across populations, and common-garden experiments have suggested that this variation has a strong genetic component. I have recently completed a draft genome for this species, and ongoing population and comparative genomic work suggests that there are common genetic factors underlying the evolution of social behavior in this group of bees. I have also used a comparative framework to identify common ecological factors associated with biogeographic patterns in social structure. I will discuss how this work can improve our understanding of the link between the proximate mechanisms underlying individual variation in social behavior and the population processes driving their evolution.
The talk is free and open to the public. The meeting is readily accessible via public transportation. Parking is available in the Oxford Street Garage with advance arrangement, as described here, or (usually but not always) at spaces on nearby streets. Everyone is also welcome to join us for dinner before the talk (beginning at 6:00 PM) at Cambridge Common restaurant, on 1667 Massachusetts Ave.
CEC meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month from October through May. The evening schedule typically includes an informal dinner (6:00 to 7:15 PM) followed by our formal meeting (7:30 – 9:00 PM). The latter begins with club business and is followed by a 50 minute entomology related presentation. Membership is open to amateur and professional entomologists.