Archives par étiquette : Termite

Soutenance de thèse : Louis Pailler

Soutenance de la thèse de Louis Pailler

Communication sociale chez les termites : signaux impliqués dans la division des tâches reproductrices
Présenté et soutenu publiquement par le mardi 6 décembre 2022 à l’université de Tours (Amphi de Biologie, Bâtiment F, Parc de Grandmont) à 14h30.

Disponible aussi en direct en visioconférence

Laboratoire : Institut de Recherche sur la Biologie de l’Insecte, UMR CNRS 7261, Université de Tours
Directeur de thèse : Christophe Lucas

Membres du jury :
Stéphanie Bankhead (Orléans, Examinatrice)
Claire Detrain (Bruxelles, Examinatrice)
Audrey Dussutour (Toulouse, Rapporteuse)
Thibaud Monnin (Paris, Rapporteur)

Résumé (in english below)

La communication est à la base de toutes les interactions sociales dans la nature. La diversification des échanges d’informations, est une étape clé dans l’évolution de la socialité. Chez les insectes eusociaux, l’organisation sociale nécessite une grande pluralité de signaux, transmis par différents canaux de communication (chimique, vibroacoustique, visuel ou tactile). Chez ces espèces, la régulation de la division des taches reproductrices est primordiale, et généralement contrôlée par un faible nombre d’individus dans les colonies. De nombreuses études se sont intéressées aux signaux chimiques volatiles, mais d’autres voies de communications pourraient être davantage efficace dans certains environnements. Chez les espèces souterraines, comme par exemple les termites du genre Reticulitermes, la communication vibratoire est omniprésente. Des composés chimiques peu volatile, déposés sur le substrat ou transmis par contact entre les membres de la colonie, peuvent aussi être efficace dans les environnement clos comme les galeries souterraines. Cependant, leur implication dans l’organisation sociale et plus particulièrement dans la régulation des tâches reproductrices reste peu explorée. Au cours de cette thèse, je me suis intéressé à ce manque d’information, en étudiant ces voies de communications chez le termite à pattes jaunes Reticulitermes flavipes. J’ai d’abord étudié le comportement d’exploration d’une propagule (petit groupe d’individu) de termites R. flavipes en le comparant à d’autres espèces/populations du genre Reticulitermes. Puis je me suis intéressé au rôle des signaux reproducteurs dans la différenciation des castes. Plus particulièrement j’ai étudié le rôle des vibrations produites par un comportement observé en présence d’individus reproducteurs : le body-shaking, mais aussi le rôle des composés cuticulaires hydrophiles des reproducteurs. Enfin, j’ai décrit la structure physique des vibrations produites lors du comportement de body-shaking et testé leur implication dans l’organisation sociale d’une propagule de termite.

Grace au développement d’un système de mesure laser, de play-back des vibrations et de tracking vidéo automatisé à l’échelle individuelle, j’ai pu mesurer, caractériser et étudier l’impact des vibrations sur l’organisation sociale de R. flavipes. Mes résultats montrent tout d’abord que le comportement d’exploration d’une propagule varie selon les espèces, en lien avec leur organisation sociale. Les vibrations émises lors du comportement vibratoire de body-shaking sont impliqués dans la régulation de l’accès à la reproduction. En effet, en présence de ces vibrations, la proportion d’ouvriers se différenciants en reproducteur diminue, alors qu’en présence des vibrations contrôles, le nombre de reproducteurs augmente. Il s’avère que les vibrations émises durant le comportement de body-shaking ont une structure particulière, composés de différentes parties avec des fréquences variables. De plus, cette structure est affectée par la présence de reproducteurs. Lors d’expériences de playback des vibrations, les vibrations rejouées affectent l’occurrence et le nombre d’individu produisant le comportement de body-shaking (body-shaker). A courte échelle de temps, il semblerait que la production de ce comportement ne soit pas spécifique à certains individus. Étonnamment, ces body-shakers ont néanmoins une activité plus importante avec, notamment une distance parcourue plus grande comparé aux non-body-shakers.
Dans son ensemble, ce travail de thèse apporte de nouveau éléments concernant la régulation de l’organisation sociale chez les insectes eusociaux, et plus spécifiquement sur la division des tâches reproductrices au seins des colonies de termite. Il amène à de nouvelles perspectives de recherche sur l’importante de certains canaux de communication moins étudiés, et sur l’implication de signaux sociaux transmis par ses derniers dans la régulation de l’organisation sociale.

Mots-clés : Communication sociale, Reproduction, Division des tâches, Vibrations, Termites souterrains, Reticulitermes flavipes.

 

Abstract

Communication is a central component of all social interactions in nature. The diversification of information exchange is a key step in the evolution of sociality. In eusocial insects, social organisation requires a high plurality of signals, transmitted through several communication channels (chemical, vibro-acoustic, visual or tactile). The regulation of the division of reproductive tasks is essential and is generally controlled by a very small number of individuals in the colonies. Many studies have focused on volatile chemical signals, but other communication channels may be more effective in certain environments. In subterranean species, such as termites of the genus Reticulitermes, vibratory communication is ubiquitous. Low volatile chemical compounds, deposited on the substrate or transmitted by contact between colony members, may also be effective in closed environments such as underground galleries. However, their implication in social organisation and especially in the regulation of reproductive division of labour remains poorly explored. In this thesis, I addressed this information gap by studying these communication channels in the subterranean termite species Reticulitermes flavipes. I first investigated the exploration behaviour of a propagule (small group of individuals) of R. flavipes termites in comparison with other species/populations of the genus Reticulitermes. Then I studied the role of reproductive signals in reproductives differentiation. I focused on the role of the vibrations produced by a behaviour observed in the presence of reproductives: the body-shaking, as well as on the role of the cuticular polar compounds of reproductives in the differentiation. Finally, I described the physical structure of the vibrations produced during body-shaking behaviour and tested their implication in the social and spatial organisation of a termite propagule.

Thanks to the development of a laser measurement, vibration playback and automated video tracking system at the individual scale, I was able to measure, characterize and study the impact of vibrations on the social organization of R. flavipes. My results show firstly that the exploration behaviour of a propagule varies between species, in relation to their social organization. The vibrations emitted by the body-shaking behaviour are involved in the regulation of reproductive access. Indeed, in the presence of these vibrations the proportion of workers differentiated as reproductives decrease, whereas in presence of the control vibrations the number of reproductives increase. It turns out that the vibrations emitted during body-shaking behaviour have a particular structure, consisting of different parts with varying frequencies. Moreover, this structure is affected by the presence of reproductives. During vibration play-back experiments, the replayed vibrations affect the occurrence and number of individuals producing the body-shaking behaviour (body-shaker). On a short time scale, it seems that the production of this behaviour is not individual specific. Surprisingly, the body-shakers present nevertheless a greater activity, with for example a greater distance walked compared to non-body-shakers.
This thesis work provides new elements concerning the regulation of social organisation in eusocial insects, and more specifically on the division of reproductive tasks within termite colonies. It leads to new research perspectives on the importance of some communication channels that are less studied, and on the implication of social signals transmitted by those channels in the regulation of social organisation.

Keywords: Social communication, Reproduction, Division of labour, Vibrations, Subterranean termites, Reticulitermes flavipes.

EU-IUSSI 2020 – virtual symposium series in October and November 2021

We are glad to announce that EU-IUSSI 2020 will take place in the form of a virtual symposium series in October and November 2021, every Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 to 15:00 (UK time).

We are welcoming applicants for talks. Please send your abstract (title, list of authors, affiliations, 200 words description max) by email directly to symposia organizers. The list of symposia and the contacts are available in the « program overview » page. Submission deadline is 15/07/2021.

eu-iussi2020.sciencesconf.org/registration

There are no registration fees. But please register in the « my registration » page (name, email, affiliations) to make sure you receive the zoom links (these will also be shared through IUSSI sections mailing lists).

We hope you will be many to join !

eu-iussi2020.sciencesconf.org

The Toulouse team,

and the European IUSSI sections.

IUSSI North-West European section winter meeting 2020 – Open for registration and abstract submission

Registration is now open for the winter meeting of the IUSSI with a deadline of the 15th of November for abstract submission.

The conference will take place over Zoom on 3 afternoons from the 16th to the 18th of December with keynote talks from:
Lotta Sundström (University of Helsinki, Finland)
Yusuf Abdullahi Ahmed (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
Inge Armbrecht (Universidad del Valle, Colombia)
Andreas Schramm (Aarhus Universitet, Denmark)
Sylvia Cremer (IST Austria)
Seirian Sumner (University College London, UK)

The cost of attendance is £15 (£7.50 for students) and the details and link to registration are here if you’re interested: http://www.iussi.org/NWEurope/winter2020.htm

Offre de thèse : Régulation et dynamique de la signature chimique chez les insectes sociaux

Nom du directeur de thèse: Eric Darrouzet

Équipe ESORE(IRBI UMR CNRS 7261)

Filière de rattachement:SSBCVE

mail de l’encadrant:eric.darrouzet@univ-tours.fr

Date limite de candidature:10 juin 2020

 

La cuticule des insectes est couverte d’un ensemble de composés lipidiques, notamment des hydrocarbures (CHCs). Ces molécules sont à la base des phénomènes de reconnaissance inter-et intra-spécifiques, et de fait, permettent d’assurer la cohésion sociale au sein des colonies d’insectes sociaux.Il existe un lien fort entre des comportements sociaux chez ces insectes et leurs profils cuticulaire en CHCs. Par exemple, la signature chimique est à la base de la perception de l’identité coloniale au sein d’une même espèce, de l’identité de caste et de sexe au sein d’une même colonie, voire même des tâches spécifiques réalisées par les individus. Cette signature chimique peut varier selon des facteurs endogènes, comme le taux de certaines hormones, l’âge ou la fonction des insectes, mais aussi selon des facteurs exogènes, comme le climat,la saison, l’alimentation ou le temps. De facto, cette signature peut être modulée en fonction de ces divers paramètres et est donc sous le contrôle de facteurs de régulation.Le but de la thèse sera d’analyser d’une part cette dynamique de la signature chimique chez des insectes sociaux et d’étudier d’autre part son contrôle endocrine par une hormone clé de la physiologie des insectes qu’est l’hormone juvénile.

Les hydrocarbures cuticulaires (CHCs) tapissent la surface des insectes. Outre leur fonction de barrière chimique contre la dessiccation (Gibbs and Rajpurohit, 2010), ces molécules sont à la base des phénomènes de reconnaissance inter-et intra-spécifiques (Blomquist & Bagnères, 2010). De fait, elles représentent un réel système de communication chimique qui participe grandement àla cohésion sociale au sein des colonies d’insectes sociaux(termites, abeilles, fourmis, guêpes…). De nombreux travaux scientifiques ont montré le lien fort qui existe entre des comportements sociaux chez ces insectes et leur signature chimique (profils cuticulaire en CHCs) (Blomquist & Howard, 2005). Les CHCs sont impliqués par exemple dans les phénomènes de perception de l’identité coloniale au sein d’une même espèce, mais aussi de l’identité de caste et de sexe au sein d’une même colonie (Blomquist & Bagnères, 2010), voire même des tâches réalisées par les individus (Rahman et al, 2016). Cette signature chimique composée par les CHCs peut varier selon des facteurs endogènes, comme le taux de certaines hormones (Darrouzet et al, 2014; Leniaud et al, 2011; Lengyel et al.2007; Schal et al.2003), l’âge ou la fonction des insectes (Rahman et al, 2016), mais aussi des facteurs exogènes, comme le climat et la saison (Bagnères et al.1990), l’alimentation (Liang and Silverman 2000) ou le temps (Bagnères et al., 2011).

Deux questions principales seront étudiées dans le cadre du sujet de thèse proposé:l’aspect modulaire et le contrôle endocrine de la signature chimique chez des insectes sociaux.-Régulation hormonale de la signature chimique. Plusieurs travaux ont montré que l’hormone juvénile (JH) intervenait lors de la différenciation des castes chez des termites (Darrouzet et al, 2014; Leniaud et al, 2011). Un analogue chimique de JH induit chez les ouvriers (Reticulitermes flavipes) un changement de caste avec des modifications de la signature chimique. Les ouvriers termites sont un modèle de choix en raison de leur caractère larvaire et leur possibilité à changer de caste(soldat ou reproducteur). Par des approches moléculaires, nous analyserons le mode d’action de la JH sur la voie de biosynthèse des CHCs chez ces termites (action génomique, activation/inhibition d’enzymes). Pour cela, nous utiliserons un analogue chimique de JH sur des ouvriers termites;une approche transcriptomique sera menée afin de déterminer si les gènes codant pour des enzymes spécifiques de la voie de biosynthèse des CHCs (élongases, désaturases) sont exprimés différemment suite à l’induction hormonale.Cette étude sera menée en parallèle sur un second modèle d’insecte social (le frelon Vespa velutina) afin de déterminer (1) si cette régulation endocrine de la signature chimique est généralisable à diverses espèces d’insectes sociaux, et (2) si celle-ci intervient également chez des insectes au stade adulte.Cette étude apportera une meilleure connaissance des mécanismes de régulation endocrine sur la signature chimique des insectes sociaux.-Dynamique de la signature chimique des individus. Les colonies de frelons sont des colonies annuelles regroupant relativement peu d’individus (quelques centaines à milliers d’insectes)(Darrouzet, 2019). Les ouvrières, à la différence des ouvriers termites, sont des adultes qui vivent environ 1 mois. En raison de leur taille, il est aisé d’analyser les signatures chimiques au niveau individuel. Elles représentent ainsi un excellent modèle d’étude pour analyser la dynamique de cette signature,en lien par exemple avec leur âge, leur activité (construction du nid, prédation, etc.) et de la période de l’année («âge» de la colonie). Par des techniques classiques de GC-FID et GC-MS, nous étudierons le profil chimique en CHCs des ouvrières frelon selon ces divers paramètres (âge, fonction). Cette étude permettra de mieux comprendre l’activité différentielle des ouvrières, de leurs interactions sociales et des phénomènes de reconnaissance entre chacune. Ensuite, par modification de leur taux de JH (injection de JH ou d’un analogue chimique), nous pourrons induire des modifications de leur signature chimique et analyser les conséquences comportementales chez ces dernières, mais aussi de leurs congénères au sein des colonies. Cette étude, combinant des approches en écologie chimique et écologie comportementale,permettra de mieux comprendre la dynamique de cette signature chimique, des relations signature chimique -taches des ouvrières,en fonction de paramètres liés à la biologie des Vespidés.

Profil et compétences recherchées:

Niveau master (ou équivalent) en biologie avec des compétences en écologie chimique et/ou biologie moléculaire et biochimie. Le sujet de thèse étant pluridisciplinaire, des compétences ou une affinité dans les champs de compétences sera un plus. Le(la) candidat(e) devra être motivé(e) pour se former dans les domaines de compétences complémentaires à sa formation initiale. Fort intérêt pour le travail à la paillasse, aptitudes pour l’analyse des données et la rédaction scientifique, curiosité, rigueur et autonomie, bonne capacité à collaborer et à communiquer au sein d’une équipe de recherche.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soutenance d’HDR : Communication chez les insectes

HABILITATION À DIRIGER DES RECHERCHES
Discipline : Sciences de la Vie
Année universitaire : 2019/2020

Présenté et soutenu publiquement par Christophe Lucas
Le mercredi 18 décembre 2019, Salle des thèses, Bâtiment L, Parc de Grandmont à 14h

 

Communication chez les insectes : signaux, adaptation, spécialisation

Les organismes vivants ne sont pas isolés dans leurs environnements. Ils côtoient des semblables, des partenaires, des prédateurs et des compétiteurs dans un milieu où ils doivent s’orienter, s’organiser, se substanter pour survivre. Ainsi les êtres vivants interagissent tous les uns avec les autres et de ces interactions complexes émergent une force évolutive. Comprendre ces relations qui sont au centre de l’adaptation des espèces à leur environnement est une question centrale en biologie évolutive. Force majeure de l’évolution, cette adaptation dépend d’un système de communication qui permet aux individus d’obtenir des informations sur ce qui les entourent. Une relation dynamique d’échange de messages forme la nature même de la nécessité de communication, entre un émetteur et un receveur, entre une source et un récepteur. C’est sur cette base d’informations provenant de sources biotiques et abiotiques, que les individus modifient leurs comportements. Ainsi, un polymorphisme comportemental émerge, influençant par la même les autres organismes et les autres facteurs abiotiques avoisinants. L’individu lui-même émetteur de ce comportement va modifier sa physiologie, l’expression de ses gènes, voire sa morphologie. La double modification des facteurs externes et internes de l’individu définit la dynamique « environnement – gène – comportement ». Les systèmes de communication ont donc un rôle central dans les interactions écologiques (interactions individu–environnement), s’appuyant sur des signaux de communication émis dans l’environnement, ils agissent sur l’expression génique des individus et modifient leurs réponses comportementales.

Dans l’exposé qui suit, je résume mes travaux sur la communication chez les insectes à travers l’étude des signaux de communication, la formation de ces signaux, l’adaptation des espèces à leurs environnements en utilisant les différents signaux perçus et le fonctionnement du polymorphisme comportemental via des canaux de communication spécialisés. Le comportement est la résultante observable des systèmes de communication, il représente donc l’objet principal quantifiable de mes travaux, tout en y étant intimement lié. Ainsi à travers le prisme de mes travaux, nous allons découvrir comment un signal de communication est produit, centralisé puis circule entre les individus pour finir par modifier leurs comportements, leurs capacités d’adaptation face aux contraintes environnementales jusqu’à changer leurs propres devenir en modifiant l’expression de leurs gènes et leurs phénotypes.

Mots-clés : Communication, Comportement, Insectes, Expression génique, Polyéthisme, Polyphénisme, Socialité, Reproduction, Conflits, Adaptation, Ecologie chimique, Ecologie comportementale, Génétique comportementale.

 

Communication in insects: signals, adaptation, specialization

Live organisms are not isolated in their environments. They are in contact with siblings, partners, predators and competitors in a shared environment where, to survive, they must be able to orient themselves but also organize and feed themselves. Thus, they must interact with each other and from these complex interactions emerge an evolutionary force. Understanding these interactions, which are at the heart of species adaptation, is a key question in evolutionary biology. This adaptation is a driving force of species evolution, depending on a communication system which allows individuals to obtain information about their surrounding environments. Back-and-forth message sharing represents the main component of the communication between a transmitter and a receiver, between a source and a receptor. Based on information from biotic and abiotic sources, individuals modify their behaviors. Therefore, a behavioral polymorphism emerges, which involves modifications of other organisms and of the surrounding abiotic factors as well. The individual emitting this behavior, will modify its physiology, its gene expression and sometimes its morphology. The double modification of the individual’s internal and external factors defines the dynamic « environment – gene – behavior ». Communication systems thus play a central role in ecological interactions (individual-environment interactions). Based on communication signals emitted in the environment, they act on gene expression and modify the behavioral responses of individuals.

In the following discussion, I summarize my work on communication in insects through the study of communication signals, the formation of these signals, the adaptation of species to their environment using different perceived signals and the mechanisms of the behavioral polymorphism through specialized communication channels. The direct observable results from communication systems is behavior, therefore it represents the main focus of my studies. Through the prism of my own work, we will discover how a communication signal is produced, centralized and then how it circulates between individuals to eventually change their behaviors, their ability to adapt to environmental constraints and to finally end up changing their own future through the modification of their gene expression and their phenotype.

Keywords: Communication, Behavior, Insects, Gene expression, Polyethism, Polyphenism, Sociality, Reproduction, Conflicts, Adaptation, Chemical ecology, Behavioral ecology, Behavioral genetic.

Offre de thèse : Nest building in social insects (ants and/or termites) – UK

Nest building in social insects (ants and/or termites).

This is a fully funded PhD opportunity for UK or EU nationals who have or will achieve a Master’s degree by the 1st October 2019. The successful applicant will join the Centre for Research in Ecology Evolution and Behaviour of the University of Roehampton (London, UK) and will receive a stipend of £16,777 per year, for three years. The tuition fees of £4,260 per year will be covered by the University. Research funds (£14,400) will also be provided to support the direct research costs of the PhD (research travel costs, computer, consumables etc.)
The start date for this position is the 1st October 2019.

 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 10th July 2019

PhD Supervisors: Dr Andrea Perna, Dr Lewis Halsey

APPLICATION PROCESS: Expressions of interest, including a CV, should be made to Dr Andrea Perna (andrea.perna@roehampton.ac.uk). Informal enquiries are also welcome.

ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS AND DUTIES:
We seek candidates with a background in the quantitative sciences (biology, applied mathematics, computer sciences and related scientific areas) and with an interest for the study of social insects. We accept applications from both experimentally oriented and theoretically oriented candidates.

DETAILS OF POTENTIAL RESEARCH:
Nest building by social insects is one of the most classical examples of self-organisation phenomena in living systems, and has contributed to the evolutionary success of ants and termites. Surprisingly, still very little is known about the mechanisms underlying the construction of these structures and about their morphological and functional properties. Our laboratory aims at addressing these questions by using a variety of techniques, from 3D imaging (micro-computed tomography), image analysis, computational modelling (e.g. agent-based modelling).
The PhD candidate will focus on the characterisation of nests of a species of their choice (among a few options of ant and termite species that we have the expertise to analyse. The candidate will characterise nest structure (from direct measurements and analysis of nest scans), and study nest building behaviour from experiments and video-recordings. Depending on the experience and on the interests of the applicant, it will be possible to develop more either the data analysis and modelling component (e.g. agent based models of nest building, differential equation models), or the experimental component (with possibility to carry field-work in Australia and/or in Brazil).

References:
Perna and Theraulaz (2017) When social behaviour is moulded in clay: on growth and form of social insect nests. Journal of Experimental Biology. 220, 83-91.
Khuong et al. (2016) Stigmergic construction and topochemical information shape ant nest architecture. PNAS 113, 1303-1308.
Perna et al. (2008) Topological efficiency in three-dimensional gallery network of termite nests. Physica A 387, 6235-6244.

 

Figure 1. Left Characterisation of nest building in Lasius niger ants with a laser based scanner. Right Topological mapping of Cubitermes termite nests.

Offre de thèse : Phylogeography of the Neotropical soil-feeding termite Embiratermes neotenicus (Termitidae, Syntermitinae) in South America

A PhD position is available for 3 years at the Laboratory of Experimental and Comparative Ethology (LEEC, University Paris 13, France).
Phylogeography of the Neotropical soil-feeding termite *Embiratermes neotenicus* (Termitidae, Syntermitinae) in South America Soil-feeding species occur in several lineages of Termitidae (most evolved termite family)  and represent over one-third of all described termite species.
Soil feeders are especially abundant and diversified in humid tropical forests, where they largely contribute to the soil
humification process. It was proposed that soil feeders were poor passive dispersers over water gaps because their colonies are usually located in the soil or soil-made nests and are unlikely to raft over water gaps, contrary to wood feeders frequently drifting in wood pieces. Up to date, only two genetic study investigated the dispersal potential of alates in soil feeders in pristine habitats, i.e. Fournier et al. (2016) in *Cavitermes tuberosu* and Fougeyrollas et al. (2018) in *Embiratermes neotenicus* and *Silvestritermes minutus*. Beside their typical soil-feeding ecology, our interest in these two last species was further prompted by their unusual breeding system: asexual queen succession. In this system, the founding primary queen is replaced by numerous neotenic daughters arising through thelytokous parthenogenesis. The neotenics then take over the reproduction of the colony and mate with the founder king. While the breeding system of *E. neotenicus* is now well known, the reproduction of colonies, i.e. the dispersal and mating strategies, remain to be investigated at a large scale, i.e. in South America where this species occurs. Therefore, we aim to study population genetics and phylogeography (i.e. study of the principles and processes governing the geographical distributions of genealogical lineages, including those at the intraspecific level) of *Embiratermes neotenicus* in South America. Molecular analyses will be performed on samples collected in many different countries from South America. This will allow us: (1) to determine whether it includes genetically and geographically distinct lineages, (2) to elucidate its demographic history (diversification events), (3) to infer biogeographic scenarios. We are seeking a highly motivated candidate with a Master degree in a relevant area (ethology, behavioral ecology, genetics or entomology). We expect successful candidates to write scientific papers on the project in internationally peer-reviewed journals, and to present the research at national and international meetings. Working language is French or English. Possibility of doing teaching in French only. Please submit your application (CV + motivation letter + contacts of two potential referees, pdf format) to both D. Sillam-Dussès (sillamdusses@univ-paris13.fr) and V. Roy (roy@upec.fr)
*until May 20th*, 2019.

Continuer la lecture

30ème congrès UIEIS – Inscriptions fin mars/début avril – Avignon 28-30 août 2019

 Ouverture des inscriptions du 30ème congrès de l’UIEIS à Avignon

Site web pour les inscriptions : https://colloque.inra.fr/insectes-sociaux2019/
Un deuxième flyer avec l’adresse du site sera diffusé à cette période.

Comité scientifique

Cédric Alaux
Luc Belzunces
Axel Decourtye
Yves Le Conte
Fanny Mondet
Maryline Pioz

 

Comité d’organisation

Cédric Alaux (responsable)
Maryline Pioz (co-responsable)
Luc Belzunces
Dominique Beslay
Mercedes Charreton
Corinne Chêne
Claude Collet
Axel Decourtye
Ambre Di Pasquale
Mickaël Henry
Yves Le Conte
Fanny Mondet
Guy Rodet

 

Contact

uieisav2019@inra.fr

 

Termite biology field course

French Guiana, Petit Saut

June 18-26 2020

The course will cover following areas: Organization of the research campaigns, arranging long-term research activities, collecting termites, termite taxonomy, termite communication, safety du ring the field work and many ethers. lmprove your skills, le a rn more, discoverthe pristine tropical rainforest!

For more details see: https://termiti.fld.czu.cz/en/r-13004-news

Offre de thèse : Reproductive differentiation in termites – University of Tours in France

A PhD position is available for 3 years at the Insect Biology Research Institute (IRBI, University of Tours).

Reproductive differentiation in termites: study of the chemical signals and the behaviors involved

Context and challenges

The reproductive division of labor is the keystone of social organization in insect societies. Indeed, in these societies, few individuals monopolize reproduction, whereas the other colony members forego their own reproduction to perform the remaining tasks to maintain the colony. In termites, the access to reproduction is known to be controlled by the reproductives already present in the colony. Understanding how the reproductive differentiation occurred in termites and identifying the involved signals, are crucial questions to understand the evolution of social life and the ecological success of insect societies.

In this PhD project, we propose to study how the reproductives of termites control the access to the reproduction of the other colony members. Among the involved signals, several studies highlighted the major role played by the volatile chemical compounds. However, other signals have been neglected so far, like the peptides or the vibratory signals. Nevertheless, in confined and solid environment of the underground termite nests (galleries in wood and soil), the specific nature of these two signals could transport or code the information of these signals more efficiently compared to the volatile compounds. Therefore, their study could represent a major transition in our understanding of insect societies. We will focus on the study of these three signals which are: the volatile pheromones, the non-volatile peptidic compounds and the vibratory signals. (1) Several decades of scientific research revealed that insect communication is mainly mediated by volatile chemical compounds. Either in a complex mixture covering the cuticle or in a more specific chemical blend produced by specialized glands. Even if a new pheromone specific of the reproductives have just been described in the literature in termites, its function and its impact on the reproductives differentiation remain to be clarified. We propose to study this pheromone as well as its volatility and its transmission to the other colony members. (2) Despite a growing number of studies involving the role of the peptidic compounds in insect communication, studies on their implication in the control of the reproductive access are scarce. In a second part, we propose to study the non-volatile peptidic compounds which are more suitable for the underground termite life, because they can be deposited by contact on the substrates. (3) The reproductives differentiation could also be controlled by specific behaviors of the reproductives but also by the other non-reproductive members of the colony. In several species of termites, the behaviors using vibratory signals are omnipresent, however their exact functions on the reproductives differentiation need more experimental demonstrations. We will test how the signals will be pursued by the other non-reproductive members of the colony and their impact on reproductives differentiation and on their social interactions.

The model system, Reticulitermes flavipes, is a subterranean termite species present in France all around urban zones. It will be studied by joining chemical analyses and behavioral approaches. The signals, which some are under current investigation in the lab, will be tested alone or in combination. In order to validate the impacts of the studied signals on the reproductives differentiation, behavioral experiments will be processed by doing chemical stimulation and/or playback experiments. The PhD will be supported by two grants covering salary and experiments costs.

Required profile

Applicants must show interest in at least one research field of the project: behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, entomology or chemical ecology. Knowledge in social insects, behavior, statistics (with R) and chemical analyses will be appreciated. A Master’s degree or equivalent is required.

Practical and salary

The Insect Biology Research Institute offers state-of-the-art equipment and expertise to study all aspects of insects biology, ranging from genomes to communities and covering research fields such as behavior, genomic, ecology, biochemistry and evolution. The laboratory is localized in Tours (1h from Paris), which is a historical town localized in the Unesco world heritage site of the Loire Valley Chateaux.

Applications
Please submit your application by email to Christophe Lucas (christophe.lucas@univ-tours.fr) including a cover letter with your research interests, a CV and contacts of two potential referees. Contact information: phone: +33 247-367-372; Website; address: IRBI, CNRS UMR7261, University of Tours, Av. Monge 37200 Tours, France.

>> Application deadline: April 1st, 2019
>> Starting date: September 2019

Flyer: http://filez.sciences.univ-tours.fr/7uyokeflmf

Le mystère de la reine termite

La reine des termites peut vivre jusqu’à 40 ans ! Quel est le secret de son incroyable longévité ? Dans ce reportage proposé en partenariat avec LeMonde.fr, partez en Afrique du Sud avec des scientifiques qui veulent recréer une termitière en laboratoire !

https://lejournal.cnrs.fr/videos/le-mystere-de-la-reine-termite

Termite Course – 2019 University of Florida

We are excited to announce the  2019 University of Florida Termite Course.

See the attached PDF for the full program.  The event will take place on June 3-8 2019 in Ft Lauderdale, Florida (USA)

Please forward this email to your network of social insects friends.

Registrations and information at: https://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/termite2019

This year is going to be a jam-packed week long session of intense teaching, field, and lab sessions about all aspects of termite biology, with a special focus on the ecology, evolution and symbiosis of termites.

This course is open to ALL (students, post docs, and faculties!) from all fields of study in social insects. We would love to share our love and experience of termites to our friends studying other social insect models.

This year is going to be very special as we will have guest speakers who will provide there unique perspective on various aspects of Termite Biology, which means we will have a total of 10 instructors, including:

Rudi Scheffrahn
Nan-Yao Su
Kenji Matsuura
Thomas Bourguignon
Jan Šobotník
William Kern
Tiago Carijo
Thomas Chouvenc

In addition, Graduate students who participate to this termite course will be given the opportunity to present their own work in a grad student mini-symposium organized during the event

The class is capped at 50 participants, and the registration is on a first come first serve basis.

Finally, this course will be offered again only in 2021, so please make sure to not miss this opportunity if you are interested in joining us.

If any questions, please let me know.

Thomas Chouvenc
Assistant Professor, Urban Entomology
Ft Lauderdale Research and Education Center
University of Florida IFAS
3205 College Ave
33314 Davie FL, USA

Offre de Thèse : Modelling the morphogenesis, geometry and function of termite nests – University of Roehampton (London, UK)

Modelling the morphogenesis, geometry and function of termite nests

This is a fully funded PhD opportunity for UK or EU nationals who have or will achieve a Master’s degree by the 31st December 2018. The successful applicant will join the Centre for Research in Ecology Evolution and Behaviour of the University of Roehampton (London, UK) and will receive a stipend of £16,777 per year, for three years. The tuition fees of £4,260 per year will be covered by the University. Research funds (£14,000) will also be provided to support the direct research costs of the PhD (research travel costs, computer, consumables etc.)

The start date for this position is the 1st January 2019.

Application deadline: 10th November 2018

PhD Supervisors: Dr Andrea Perna, Dr Lewis Halsey.

Application process: Expressions of interest, including a CV, should be made to Dr Andrea Perna (andrea.perna@roehampton.ac.uk).

 

ELIGIBILITY CONDITIONS AND DUTIES:

Graduates in multiple disciplines welcome to apply. We seek candidates with a background in the quantitative sciences (physics, quantitative biology, applied mathematics, computer sciences and related scientific areas) and with an interest for pattern formation and self-organisation phenomena. The successful candidate is expected to join the research group of Dr Andrea Perna and to develop her/his own research project around the research topic outlined below.

Full time bursary students are expected to be available for the equivalent of up to 4 hours a week over 40 weeks a year for teaching or teaching-related work. Where the student undertakes teaching or teaching-related work, the time for preparation, marking, and related administration shall be included in those six hours maximum per week. The hours may be deployed in blocks or regularly throughout the 40 weeks depending on opportunities available and what is practical.

 

DETAILS OF POTENTIAL RESEARCH:

Nest building by social insects is one of the most classical examples of self-organisation phenomena in living systems, and has contributed to the evolutionary success of ants and termites. Surprisingly, still very little is known about the mechanisms underlying the construction of these structures and about their morphological and functional properties. Our laboratory aims at addressing these questions by using a variety of techniques, from micro-computed tomography imaging, 3D image analysis, mathematical and computational modelling and mechanical experiments on nest fragments.

We are focusing in particular on the characterisation of arboreal nests of nasute termites, which exhibit a range of interesting morphological features and are also phylogenetically important for understanding the evolution of nest building behaviour. This project is currently funded by the Royal Society in the form of a Newton International post-doctoral fellowship to Dr Giulio Facchini. The PhD student would mainly be based in the University of Roehampton – London and perform data analysis and modelling of nests, but there is also the possibility to take part in a research expedition to Sydney (Australia) during the first year to visit collaborators working on social insect biology (in particular Prof. Nathan Lo) and to collect nest samples (there is a budget for this).

Further details available here: http://perna.fr/PhD_advert.pdf

 

References:

Perna and Theraulaz (2017) When social behaviour is moulded in clay: on growth and form of social insect nests. Journal of Experimental Biology. 220, 83-91.
Arab et al. (2017) Parallel evolution of mound building and grass feeding in Australian nasute termites. Biology letters 13, 20160665
Khuong et al. (2016) Stigmergic construction and topochemical information shape ant nest architecture. PNAS 113, 1303-1308
Perna et al. (2008) Topological efficiency in three-dimensional gallery network of termite nests. Physica A 387, 6235-6244

Formation CNRS : Le risque termite, de la biologie des espèces à la réglementation

– Lieu : Tours (37)

– Dates: du mardi 02 au mercredi 03 octobre 2018

– Organisation :
1,5 jours
De 3 à 8 stagiaires
3 intervenants pour la sortie terrain

– Pré-requis : aucun

– Responsable : Christophe LUCAS, chargé de recherche (IRBI, UMR 7261 CNRS / Université de Tours)

 

Programme & inscription en ligne

A l’issue de la formation : Évaluation de la formation par les stagiaires & Envoi d’une attestation de formation

La formation CNRS « le risque termite, de la biologie des espèces à la réglementation » est proposée par l’Institut de Recherche sur la Biologie de l’Insecte (IRBI, UMR 7261 CNRS / Université de Tours) de Tours. Cette formation est le fruit des réflexions menées dans le cadre du projet de recherche BioControleTermite (supervisé par Christophe LUCAS) financé par la région Centre-Val de Loire.

Offres de thèses : Fourmis x 3 / Abeilles x 1 / Termites x2 + 1 Mouche

We invite applications for 7 PhD positions within the framework of the new Research Unit *Sociality and the reversal of the fecundity/longevity trade-off* (FOR 2281) funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)
www.so-long.org



Why do organisms age? The genetic underpinnings of ageing seem to be highly conserved from nematode worms to humans. Across animals, ageing is characterized by a trade-off between fecundity and longevity, with an increase in fecundity commonly associated with accelerated senescence and a drop in lifespan. A major exception to this pattern is found within the social insects. Some social insect queens are record holders with respect to longevity whereas their sterile workers are short-lived.

The aim of the Research Unit (www.so-long.org) is to explore, in a highly integrative and interdisciplinary fashion, the ultimate and proximate reasons for the apparent reversal in the fecundity/longevity trade-off associated with sociality by using all major clades of social insects, with Drosophila melanogaster as model non-social organism.

Projects will apply a broad range of approaches from experimental manipulation, field-based studies and molecular genetic studies (e.g. qt RT PCR, NGS) to theoretical evolutionary modelling and bioinformatic analyses. Beyond the project work, PhD candidates will attend and learn in workshops, can organize summer schools, have the opportunity to participate in lab rotations and to attend international conferences.

PhD positions will be available on the following topics:


  1. Comparative analysis of molecular mechanisms of ageing in flies and social insects (Dr. Claudia Fricke, University of Münster;claudia.fricke@uni-muenster.de)
  2. Defying senescence – The causes of death and the costs of living of ant queens (PD Dr. Jan Oettler / Prof Dr. Jürgen Heinze, University of
    Regensburg; jan.oettler@biologie.uni-regensburg.de;juergen.heinze@biologie.uni-regensburg.de)

  3. A comparative approach to the fecundity/longevity trade-off across two origins of eusociality in the bees (Prof. Dr. Robert Paxton, University of Halle / Dr. Karen Meusemann, University of Freiburg; robert.paxton@zoologie.uni-halle.de;
    karen.meusemann@biologie.uni-freiburg.de )

  4. Functional basis of the fecundity – longevity reversal in the ant Temnothorax rugatulus (Prof. Dr. Susanne Foitzik, University of Mainz /
    Dr. Barbara Feldmeyer, Senckenberg BiK-F Frankfurt;
    foitzik@uni-mainz.de, barbara.feldmeyer@senckenberg.de)

  5. Uncovering the functional basis of the reversal of the fecundity/longevity trade-off in a termite (Prof. Dr. Judith Korb,
    University of Freiburg; judith.korb@biologie.uni-freiburg.de)

  6. Reversal of the fecundity / longevity trade-off across social transitions in ants (Dr. Volker Nehring, University of Freiburg / Prof.
    Dr. Susanne Foitzik, University of Mainz, / Dr. Romain Libbrecht,
    University of Mainz; volker.nehring@biologie.uni-freiburg.de,
    foitzik@uni-mainz.de, rlibbrec@uni-mainz.de)

  7. Why and how does sociality change the fecundity / longevity trade-off in termites? (Prof. Dr. Judith Korb, University of Freiburg / Prof. Dr. Ido
    Pen, University of Groningen; judith.korb@biologie.uni-freiburg.de,
    i.r.pen@rug.nl)


All applicants should have a strong background in evolutionary biology and, depending on the project, also skills in bioinformatics (e.g. scripting) or field work. For further details of specific projects, email the relevant contact person listed above. Within your application, please state your preferred project, in ranked order from 1 (most
preferred) to 3. The research consortium will jointly select candidates for the positions. Skype/phone interviews are scheduled for the last week of July and 1st week of August.
Start of Position is anticipated to be 1. Oct 2018 with a kick-off meeting from the 3.- 5. Sept 2018

Interested candidates should send their applications (incl. CV, a letter of motivation, and contact details of two academic references) as single file pdf by 8. July 2018 to:
Judith.Korb@biologie.uni-freiburg.de


 

For further information please contact:
Prof. Dr. Judith Korb
Zoology : Evolutionary Biology & Ecology
University of Freiburg
Hauptstrasse 1
D-79104 Freiburg
Germany
Judith.Korb@biologie.uni-freiburg.de
www.so-long.org

Deadline for applications: 8. July 2018

Offre de Postdoc : ANTIMICROBIAL DEFENCES IN FUNGUS-FARMING TERMITES, COPENHAGEN

Postdoctoral fellowship on antimicrobial defences in fungus-farming termites

A four-year postdoctoral fellowship on antimicrobial defences of termite fungus cultivars and microbial communities is available from October 1, 2018 in the Section for Ecology and Evolution within the Department of Biology at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

The fellowship will be part of a 5-year research project titled Disease-free social life without antibiotic resistance, financed by an ERC Consolidator Grant to Assoc. Prof. Michael Thomas-Poulsen (http://www1.bio.ku.dk/english/staff/?pure=en/persons/227714). The project will be based at excellent research environment of the Centre for Social Evolution (http://socialevolution.ku.dk/), and will involve development of fungus-growing termite colony rearing, infection experiments and sampling for chemical and genomic analyses. The work will involve fieldwork in Comoe National Park, Ivory Coast (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Como%C3%A9_National_Park). The successful applicant will have experience and interest in social insect rearing, infection experiments and defensive symbioses, and will work closely with a microbiologist/molecular biologist PhD student, who will use experimental evolution approaches to explore resistance evolution in target pathogens.

Project Overview
The application of antimicrobial compounds produced by hosts or defensive symbionts to counter the effects of diseases has been identified in a number of organisms, but despite extensive studies on their presence, we know essentially nothing about why these antimicrobials do not always trigger the rampant evolution of resistance in target parasites. Fungus-farming termites have evolved a sophisticated agricultural symbiosis that pre-dates human farming by 30 million years and, in stark contrast to virtually any other organism, does not suffer from specialised diseases. The evolution of defensive compounds from the termite host, its fungal crop, and gut bacterial communities have remained effective for over 30 million years. Recent advances in antibiotic discovery suggests that certain types of antimicrobials may have mechanisms (modes of action) that do not induce resistance evolution, for example if they prevent the formation of new cell walls and thereby restrict cell division. This work will test using comparative analyses of the evolutionary histories, rates of sequence evolution, and modes of action of antimicrobials produced in the symbiosis, whether they have properties that are predicted to not induce resistance.

Qualifications
a) PhD in biology.
b) Experience with insect rearing.
c) Experience with microbiological techniques and infection experiments.
d) An interest in fieldwork and symbiotic interactions.
e) Creativity and ability to be both team-oriented and independent.
f) Embrace of an international research environment and interdisciplinary research.
g) A proven record of excellent English speaking, reading and writing skills.

Procedures and shortlisting
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointments Committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether an expert committee will assess their application. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself. The Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee, will make the final selection of the successful candidate.

Place of employment and principal place of work
University of Copenhagen, Department of Biology, Section for Ecology and Evolution, Universitetsparken 15, Building 3, DK-2100 Copenhagen East. The University of Copenhagen provides a top-notch research environment and the city of Copenhagen provides a vibrant cultural scene.

Terms of employment
The successful candidate will be offered a full-time position for a period of four years, contingent on a satisfactory performance, with the specific intent that it results in production of scientific publications.

Terms of appointment and payment according to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. While negotiation for salary supplement is possible, the starting salary is currently up to 419,771 DKK/year including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 71,780).

Further information can be obtained from Dr. Thomas-Poulsen (e-mail: mpoulsen@bio.ku.dk).

How to apply
Applications must include: (1) a cover letter, (2) statement of research interests and reasons for applying to this position (max 2 pages), (3) curriculum vitae (including a list of publications), (4) copies of relevant diplomas (Master or Science and PhD), and (5) the names, e-mails, telephone numbers and addresses of 3 referees. In addition to the fulfilment of the above-mentioned qualifications, the main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant, the match with the project, and good interpersonal skills.

Please forward your application via the job portal of The University of Copenhagen at: http://employment.ku.dk/faculty/?show=147139 . Press « APPLY NOW » to fill in the application form.

Deadline for application is June 3, 2018 at 11:59 PM CET. Applications received after the deadline, not using the online application form, or not including the required documents will not be considered.

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Offre de Postdoc : Post-doctoral position in termite functional genomic

Post-doctoral position in termite functional genomic
Human Frontier Science Program

Applications are invited for a post-doctoral researcher to join ourconsortium bringing international laboratories of H.S Sul from Berkeley-USA, W. De Beer from Pretoria-South Africa, E. Bornberg-BauerMuenster-Germany and M. Vasseur-Cognet iEES-Paris-France.
The successful candidate will join the project “defying thereproduction-maintenance trade-off: role of diet in long-lived termite reproductives”. We are seeking a motivated person, speaking French and English, autonomous, with education and experiences in entomology, in social insect biology (about termites would be the best), some experiences in the field and with a good background in genetic/molecularbiology. The position is supported by HF grant by September 2018. The contract is for one year located in W. De Beer laboratory (South Africa), renewable once. Applicants should send a CV and a cover lettersummarizing their past experience and motivation to Dr. MireilleVasseur-Cognet (mireille.vasseur@inserm.fr). They should also provide at least two letters of reference.


Mireille Vasseur-Cognet,
Chargé de Recherche INSERM -HDR
Institut d’Ecologie et des Sciences de l’Environnement de Paris
(iEES-Paris)
UMR CNRS 7618, IRD 242, UPEC 7618, UPMC 113, INRA 1392, Paris 7 113
Equipe Les espèces sociales dans leurs environnements: adaptation et
évolution (ESEAE)

It’s official: Termites are just cockroaches with a fancy social life

See the original article

 

Termites are the new cockroach.

Literally. The Entomological Society of America is updating its master list of insect names to reflect decades of genetic and other evidence that termites belong in the cockroach order, called Blattodea.

As of February 15, “it’s official … that termites no longer have their own order,” says Mike Merchant of Texas A&M University in College Station, chair of the organization’s common names committee. Now all termites on the list are being recategorized.

The demotion brings to mind Pluto getting kicked off the roster of planets, says termite biologist Paul Eggleton of the Natural History Museum in London. He does not, however, expect a galactic outpouring of heartbreak and protest over the termite downgrade. Among specialists, discussions of termites as a form of roaches go back at least to 1934, when researchers reported that several groups of microbes that digest wood in termite guts live in some wood-eating cockroaches too.

Once biologists figured out how to use DNA to work out genealogical relationships, evidence began to grow that termites had evolved as a branch on the many-limbed family tree of cockroaches. In 2007, Eggleton and two museum colleagues used genetic evidence from an unusually broad sampling of species to publish a new tree of these insects (SN: 5/19/07, p. 318). Titled “Death of an order,” the study placed termites on the tree near a Cryptocercus cockroach.

Cryptocercus roaches live in almost termitelike style in the Appalachian Mountains, not too far from chemical ecologist and cockroach fan Coby Schal at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Monogamous pairs of Cryptocercus roaches eat tunnels in wood and raise young there. The offspring feed on anal secretions from their parents, which provide both nutrition and starter doses of the wood-digesting gut microbes that will eventually let the youngsters eat their way into homes of their own.

Termites are “nothing but social cockroaches,” Schal says. Various roaches have some form of social life, but termites go to extremes. They’re eusocial, with just a few individuals in colonies doing all of the reproducing. In extreme examples, Macrotermes colonies can grow to 3 million individuals with only one queen and one king.

After several years of debate, the common names committee of the American entomologists’ organization voted it was time to switch to the new view of termites. At a February meeting of the society board, there was no objection.  The common names of individual termite species, of course, will remain as something-something “termite.”

Considering whether to demote a whole order of insects is an uncommon problem, says Whitney Cranshaw of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, a longtime member of the society’s naming committee. “Probably some of us, including myself, didn’t want to make the change because we liked it the way it was,” he says. Termites and cockroaches as separate orders were easy to memorize for the undergraduates he teaches.  Yet, he voted yes. “It’s what’s right.”

 

FUNNY COCKROACH  Calling a termite (Mastotermes darwiniensis from Australia, shown) a kind of cockroach has now become perfectly correct, says the name-watch committee of an organization of U.S. insect scientists.

EUROPEAN CONGRESS OF ENTOMOLOGY: ABSTRACT AND REGISTRATION DEADLINES SOON.

Early discount registration and abstract submission for the XI European Congress of Entomology will close on 28 February 2018.

The congress will have a session specifically dedicated to social insects named « SOCIAL INSECTS AND APIDOLOGY », which will have three themes:
Social immunity – Keynote: Line Vej Ugelvig
Bees: management, ecosystem services, and products: Keynote: Christina M. Grozinger
Symbiosis in social insects – behavioural and ecological interactions: Keynote: Heike Feldhaar

Other sessions are also likely to be of interest to social insect biologists.

For more details, and to register and submit an abstract, see the congress web site:
http://www.ece2018.com

Offre de Thèse : ACTINOBACTERIA OF FUNGUS-GROWING TERMITES, LEIBNITZ INSTITUTE, JENA

The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute – in cooperation with the Friedrich Schiller University, the University Hospital Jena and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology are offering an international graduate training programme. The International Leibniz Research School (ILRS Jena) gives doctoral researchers the possibility to prepare for their PhD exam in an ambitious program providing excellent research conditions. We invite applications for a Doctoral Researcher (m/f):

Metabolomic and transcriptomic analysis of the defensive role of Actinobacteria within the fungus-growing termite system

Fungiculture in Macrotermitinae evolved 30 Mio. years ago in Sub-Saharan Africa. Fungus farming is accomplished through an intricate mode of substrate incorporation and intensive maintenance of the fungus comb, in which the symbiotic fungus and the associated microbial community reside to degrade the pre-digested plant material. Fungal fruiting bodies are ultimately eaten by the termites to secure insect nutrition.

Once the termite colony dies, when comb material deteriorates or is incubated without termites, fruiting bodies of species of the ascomycete genus Pseudoxylaria appear and rapidly overgrow the comb material. While Termitomyces sp. is an obligatory mutualist the termites feed on, the ecological role of Pseudoxylaria sp. in fungus-growing termite nests is still under debate. Overall, the fungus comb harbors a complex microbial community that is governed by intricate relationships (e.g. synergistic, antagonistic, cheating, co-existing) and only the concerted actions of the community ensure the emergent properties that vary significantly from the combined effects of individual microorganisms. Secreted microbial metabolites mediate the interactions and are considered the « currency and/or language » of the microbial community.

Our general scientific activity focuses on the biochemical analysis of the secreted metabolites, which governs the multilateral symbiotic interactions between termites, fungal cultivar, fungal competitors and associated bacteria. In the outlined project, we want to biochemically analyse the defensive role of isolated Actinobacteria and their interaction with the co-evolved garden weed Pseudoxylaria to gain insights how the complex termite-fungus symbiosis has remained sustainable over evolutionary time. We hypothesize that Actinobacteria provide a third line of defence against invading species by secretion of antimicrobial secondary metabolites (in addition to immunity provided by the insects and the mutualist Termitomyces). To investigate the hypothesis, we will analyse the response mechanism of Actinobacteria upon the presence of mutualists or competitors on a genetic and metabolomic level.

We expect:
* a Master’s degree (or equivalent allowing you to pursue a PhD degree) in Natural or Life Sciences (e.g. chemistry, biochemistry, chemical biology etc.). Candidates about to earn their degree are welcome to apply.
* experience in organic and analytical chemistry, and/or natural product chemistry, and/or molecular biology
* high motivation to join one of the research areas of ILRS
* creativity and interest in shaping your own thesis project
* an integrative and cooperative personality with enthusiasm for actively participating in our lively community
* very good communication skills in English

We offer:
* a top-level research environment
* efficient supervision by a team of advisors
* a comprehensive mentoring programme
* courses in state-of-the-art technologies and soft skills
* strong communication and interaction between the involved institutions
* research at ILRS is centred around « Microbial and Biomolecular Interactions »
* Jena – City of Science: innovative business activities, successful scientific centres and a vibrant cultural scene around the famous Friedrich Schiller University

The three-year Doctoral Researcher position is available starting from January 2018. The position will be financially supported according to TV-L (salary agreement for public service employees). HKI is an equal opportunity employer.

For further information
Dr. Christine Beemelmanns, PI (christine.beemelmanns@leibniz-hki.de)
Dr. Christine Vogler, ILRS coordinator (christine.vogler@leibniz-hki.de)

Applications
The application process is handled exclusively online. Please acquaint yourself with the scientific projects offered on our website.
Please note that you can choose up to 3 projects of interest in your application. It is only necessary to fill in the application form for your first preference of projects; the other two projects can be selected in the application form.

Deadline for application: Oct 22, 2017

Successful applicants will be invited to attend a recruitment meeting in Jena (envisaged date: Dec 14-15, 2017).

Offre de Postdoc : Caste determination in termites, (IRBI, University of Tours)

A 2-year post-doctoral fellowship is available at the Insect Biology Research Institute (IRBI, University of Tours).

Caste determination in termites: what is the role of social interactions?

Context and challenges
The reproductive division of labor is often considered as a keystone of social organization in insect societies, where few individuals monopolize reproduction, whereas the other colony members forego their own reproduction to perform the remaining tasks. This organization is generally stable and fixed in most species of social Hymenoptera (i.e. ants, some bees and wasps), as the majority of the colony members have lost the capability to reproduce. But this is very different in subterranean termites where each colony member (under certain conditions) has the capability to become a reproductive individual and may thus disrupt the social organization of its colony.

The post-doctoral project aims at exploring this unique capability in the termite Reticulitermes flavipes by understanding how and why some individuals switch to develop into reproductives. The project will combine laboratory and field experiments, with behavioral and chemical approaches, to elucidate the roles of social and environmental conditions on caste determination in termites.

Required profile
Applicants must have a PhD in at least one research field of the project: behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, entomology or chemical ecology. The successful candidate must have some experience working with insects. Knowledge in social insects, behavior, statistics (with R) and chemical ecology (GC-MS) will be appreciated.

Practical and salary
The Insect Biology Research Institute offers state-of-the-art equipment and expertise to study all aspects of insects biology, ranging from genomes to communities and covering research fields such as behaviour, genomic, ecology, biochemistry and evolution. Salary is fixed according to the scientific experience of the candidate, starting 25 000€/year for 2 years (contract duration can be extended depending on funding). The laboratory is localized in Tours (1h from Paris), which is a historical town localized in the Unesco world heritage site of the Loire Valley Chateaux.

Applications
Submit your applications by email to Dr. Christophe Lucas (christophe.lucas@univ-tours.fr) including a cover letter with your research interests, a CV and contacts of two potential referees. Contact information: phone: +33 247-367-372; Web site; address: IRBI, CNRS UMR7261, University of Tours, Av. Monge 37200 Tours, France.

Deadline for application: October 15th, 2017
Decision after interviews: November 15th, 2017
Starting date: January 2018 (can be postponed if necessary)

Flyer: http://irbi.univ-tours.fr/uploads/pages/LUCASChristophe/Post-doctoral%20position%20-%20Caste%20determination%20in%20termites.pdf

2018 – Guaruja, Brésil – XVIII Congrès International de l’IUSSI, 5-10 août

CALL FOR SYMPOSIA IS OPEN

Dear Colleagues,
It is a pleasure to invite you to attend the XVIII IUSSI International Congress that will be held in Guarujá, Brazil, between August 5 to 10, 2018.

From June 1 till October 20, 2017, we will be receiving symposia proposals for the XVIII IUSSI International Congress
As shown in the general Program structure (see Program in Menu, http://www.iussi2018.com), we have scheduled 8 slots for symposia (7 with 2.5 hours duration each and 1 with 2 h), and for each of these slots we can have up to 5 parallel sessions.
So as to keep parallel sessions parallel, each speaker slot would be projected for 15 min (including discussion). So in case you plan to have an introductory speaker, he/she would have to be programmed for a 30 min time frame.

Proposals should be structured as follows:
– Symposium title
– Chair and co-chair names
– Chair and co-chair contact addresses and e-mails
– List of potential speakers and time proposed for each (15 or 30 min)
Please inform which speakers you have already contacted and which ones already agreed, at least tentatively
Symposia proposals must be submitted in English

In case you think that a 2.5 hour time frame is not sufficient for your symposium, please indicate this so that the symposium can have a continuation in the subsequent symposia slot (morning/afternoon in such cases). Also, please mention whether you would have slots available for non-invited abstract submissions that may fit the topic of your symposium.

Please send applications (in Word format) to our Gmail account: iussi2018@gmail.com
Use the subject heading: [IUSSI 2018 Symposium Proposal]
Deadline: Please submit proposals no later than October 20, 2017

Evaluation of symposia proposals: all proposals will be discussed between the members of the International Scientific Committee and the Local Organizing Committee for the best fit in terms of scientific and logistic structure.

For a successful and interesting 2018 congress we would especially appreciate to receive suggestions that envisage the crosstalk between different areas of research on social insects. This was the concept already proposed for the 2014 meeting and it brought us many fruitful discussions.
Suggestions made by the evaluation committees will be communicated to the proponents so that eventual adjustments can be made.

Thus, we think that by January 2018 we should have an attractive program proposal ready.


Please note the following important dates for the 18th International Congress of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI2018).

2 March 2018: Deadline for abstract submission(Extended from original date of 16 February).
30 March 2018: Notification of acceptance of abstracts is expected.
15 April 2018: Deadline for early-bird (discounted) registration.
22 July 2018: On-line registration closes.

For more details :
http://www.iussi2018.com


STUDENTS GRANTS TO SUPPORT ATTENDANCE AT IUSSI2018

Most regional sections of the IUSSI are or will be offering some financial assistance for students to attend IUSSI2018. Please contact your local section, as the details of the application procedure and deadlines vary.

For those who are members of the IUSSI, but do not have a local section, applications can be made to the general secretary. Please see the news section of the IUSSI international web site for details: http://www.iussi.org

Please note that the early-bird registration deadline for the congress has been set to well after the expected date on which acceptance of abstracts will be confirmed, so that students should be able to know whether they have been accepted for a talk or poster (a common requirement for the grant applications) before registering.

 

Dans leur guerre contre les termites, les fourmis Matabele sauvent leurs blessés

Dans le sud du Sahara, les fourmis d’Afrique Matabélé (Megaponera Analis) sont des prédatrices spécialisées dans la chasse aux termites. Mais quand sonne l’heure de la guerre, certains soldats se blessent. Des « sœurs d’armes » ramènent alors les invalides à l’abri pour leur permettre de panser leurs blessures.

Dans le règne animal, soigner ses blessés n’est pas chose courante, mais c’est un avantage évolutif indéniable, notamment pour la colonie où la survie dépend du nombre de ses occupants. Dans le sud du Sahara, les fourmis d’Afrique Matabélé (Megaponera Analis) ont compris la manœuvre. Deux à quatre fois par jour, ces prédatrices hors du commun partent en chasse et bien souvent, ce sont les termites qui trinquent.

 

Journal Reference:

Erik Thomas Frank et al. Saving the injured: Rescue behavior in the termite-hunting ant Megaponera analis Science Advances  12 Apr 2017: Vol. 3, no. 4, e1602187

http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/4/e1602187


Sur le même sujet:

https://sciencepost.fr/2017/04/fourmis-sauvent-leurs-blesses/


https://www.sciencesetavenir.fr/animaux/dans-leur-guerre-contre-les-termites-les-fourmis-matabele-sauvent-leurs-blesses_112189

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/animals/a26073/ants-leave-no-wounded-brother-behind/

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/ant-species-rescues-comrades-battlefield-180962905/

 

 

CALL FOR PAPERS: SPECIAL ISSUE OF SOCIOBIOLOGY ON TERMITES

CALL FOR PAPERS: SPECIAL ISSUE OF SOCIOBIOLOGY ON TERMITES

Important Dates :
Deadline to submit a manuscript: August 1st, 2017
Publication is scheduled for November 2017

We are inviting you to take part in a special issue on termites that will be published  by Sociobiology (ISSN: 0361-6525), a fast track peer-reviewed, free of publication fees and open access academic journal edited by Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana (UEFS-Brazil). Sociobiology is indexed and abstracted by ISI-Web of Knowledge; SCOPUS; AGRICOLA; CAB Abstracts; Biological Abstracts, among others. IF : 2.382

Due to their astonishing abundance and typical cellulose-digesting abilities, termites impact ecosystem functioning, from biogeochemical cycles to species interactions. Their interindividual interactivity provides firm ground for the study of self-organized collective behaviour while their diplo-diploidy foments rich discussion on the evolution of sociality. All this, coupled with termites’ economic impact, implies that scientific interest in this prominent group of organisms is burgeoning and will continue to do so. It is, therefore, timely to invite termite researches to submit original manuscripts and review articles on any aspect of our current knowledge on termites for a special issue of Sociobiology.

The special issue will be published and promoted as part of the program of the IV Symposium of Termitology (IV SymTerm), which will be held in Viçosa-MG, Brazil, from November 07-10, 2017.

All submitted papers must contain only original work, which has not been published by or is currently under review for any other journal. Detailed information, and instructions for authors, please visit: http://periodicos.uefs.br/…/index.php/so…/about/submissions

Dr. Paulo Cristaldo (Universidade Federal de Sergipe, Brazil)
Dr. Og DeSouza (Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Brazil)
Editors for this Special Issue

Assistant Professor – Urban Entomology

Assistant Professor – Urban Entomology

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology
Campus Box 7616
2510 Thomas Hall
Raleigh, NC 27695-7616
P: 919.515.2730

The Department of Entomology & Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University invites applications for a 9‐month tenure‐track position at the Assistant Professor level. This faculty position is located on the main campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, and has a 70% research and 30% academic appointment. The position carries responsibilities for research relating to the biology and management of major wood‐destroying arthropod pests of structures, mainly termites, but also including wood‐infesting ants or beetles. The incumbent is expected to develop a vigorous internationally recognized research program generating extramural funding and providing timely information and pest management technologies to Cooperative Extension efforts in this area. Some relevant areas of research, among others, could be (a) invasion dynamics and genetic structure of colonies; (b) impact of climate change on spread of native and invasive pest populations; (c) physiological mechanisms and natural products (e.g., antimicrobials) that facilitate life in a microbe/pathogen rich soil; (d) symbiotic associations with microbes that enable termites to process lignin and cellulose; and (e) regulation of development and reproduction of termite colonies. Significant opportunities exist for collaboration with faculty in Urban Entomology, Forest Biomaterials, NC Agromedicine Institute, Center for Human Health and the Environment, SE Climate Science Center and partnerships with corporations and government agencies, especially those in Research Triangle Park or elsewhere in North Carolina. The successful candidate will work closely with Extension faculty to deliver relevant and timely information to the Pest Management Industry and other stakeholder groups. The incumbent is expected to develop graduate and undergraduate courses in their area of expertise, for example Urban Ecology, Urban Entomology, Insect‐Microbe Symbiosis, Molecular Ecology, Techniques in Molecular Ecology and Evolution, Molecular symbiosis, or related courses. Mentoring graduate and undergraduate students is expected.

Minimum qualifications include a PhD in Entomology or field of study directly related to the position description; demonstrated expertise in a field of research complementary to research of other faculty in Entomology and Plant Pathology; dedication and demonstrated record of collaborative research; commitment to interacting with Urban Entomology stakeholders and developing innovative pest management approaches. In addition to excellence in undergraduate or graduate teaching, the incumbent is expected to have demonstrable skills in verbal and written communication, interpersonal relations, and procurement of extramural funding. The position includes a competitive and comprehensive compensation and start‐up package. Review of applications will proceed after January 17, 2017, until the position is filled. For further information, contact the Entomology & Plant Pathology Department Head, Dr. Eric Davis (eric_davis@ncsu.edu). For a complete job description and details for submission of applications, please reference http://jobs.ncsu.edu/postings/75206. NC State is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Women and members of other underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply. In addition, NC State University welcomes all persons without regard to sexual orientation or genetic information. We welcome the opportunity to work with candidates to identify suitable employment opportunities for spouses or partners. Inclusiveness and diversity are integral to NC State’s commitment to excellence in research, engagement and education. The successful candidate will be expected to foster an environment that is welcoming of all groups.