sweat bees

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

7:30 PM

Halictids as a Model of Social Evolution

MCZ 101, 26 Oxford Street, Harvard University

Sarah Kocher, Harvard University

The development of eusociality is considered to be a major transition in evolutionary history. Even Darwin noted the presence of sterile castes was “a special difficulty that was potentially fatal to the whole theory” of evolution. Previous studies on the evolution of social behavior have focused on species that have fixed social structure; however, because these species no longer exhibit variation in sociality, they provide limited models for discovering the factors that led to the evolution of social behavior. Halictid bees, on the other hand, provide an excellent study system. Different populations of a species can exhibit variation in social behavior that ranges from solitary to social. Dr Kocher will describe her research, which uses molecular and biogeographic approaches, studying the evolution of social behaviors in this remarkable family of bees.

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 6:15 PM) at the Harvard Law School cafeteria, on the second floor of Harkness Commons.

CEC meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month from October through May. The evening schedule typically includes an informal dinner (6:15 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.