Antimicrobials in Social Insect Evolution
26 October 2012
Presented by Prof. Andrew Beattie, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University. Host: Dr Adrienne Grant.
Fungi specialised to attack insects were already present in the environments in which social insects first evolved and we hypothesised that antifungal defences were obligatory and became stronger with group size and increasing social complexity. We compared the activity of antifungal compounds against the entomopathogen Cordyceps bassiana in several social insect groups representing gradients of increasing group size and social complexity. The results were consistent with this hypothesis and suggest a new and fundamental role for microbial pathogens in the evolution of socialinsects.
Location: DT Anderson Lecture Theatre, A08