CEES Friday seminar: Linking micro- and macroevolution through studies on an old insect order
By Erik Svensson, professor in evolutionary ecology at Lund University, Sweden.
I will discuss recent research on an emerging model system in evolutionary biology that is suitable for linking micro- and macroevolution: odonates ("Dragonflies and damselflies"). Odonates is an old insect order that has deep evolutionary roots and which had ancestors during the Carboniferous time period, more than 300 million years ago. Compared to many other insect groups, odonates have a rich fossil history, and they have also long been popular as study organisms among ecologists and evolutionary biologists who study extant taxa nd ask questions about complex life-cycles, life-history evolution, sexual selection and evolution of colour. Experimental field- and laboratory research on these insects is now being complemented by phylogenetic comparative analyses of trait evolution. I will especially focus on body size and wing size evolution and the macroevolutionary consequences of female colour polymorphisms in relation to temperature, latitude and biogeographical location. I will also argue that evolutionary biology research would benefit from a greater diversity of study organisms than in the present state of the field.