Research   Theses  CV  Publications  Presentations  Awards  Teaching  help    to staff list 

Current Research (1):

Crustaceans colonized land several times independently, with the insects as the most successful group. We are interested in the strategies terrestrial crustaceans use to locate odor sources. Using a crab wind tunnel we record the behavior the terrestrial hermit crab Coenobita clypeatus displays in an odor plume and investigate the impact of different factors like wind speed, plume structure, but also different appendages of the animal itself. The results will be compared with the strategies insects or marine crustaceans use to follow an odor plume.

Current Research (2):

The detection of volatile cues is central for many insect behaviors, for example host detection or identification of viable mates. Odors are detected by olfactory receptors (ORs) localized in the dendritic membrane of olfactory sensory neurons. Insect ORs function as heteromultimers composed of at least one ligand specific receptor and one coreceptor (ORCo). In comparison to the ligand specific ORs that are extremely variable, ORCo is highly conserved within the insects with homologues identified in Diptera, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Orthoptera, etc. ORs are hypothesized to have a common ancestry with gustatory receptors (GRs). In contrast to the insect specific ORs, GRs were identified across arthropods. Recently, members of a distinct group of receptors related to ionotropic glutamate receptors (IRs) were established to function as olfactory receptors as well. These IRs are expressed in olfactory organs across Protostomia. Several questions are obvious: When did the OR gene family appears during evolution? What is their ancestry? When did ORCo appear?
My research is focused on an primary wingless insects, as Archaeognatha (jumping bristletails), Zygentoma (firebrats, silverfishes) and the hexapods .Using transcriptom analysis and fluorescent in situ hybridization we study the presence or absence of chemosensory receptors and binding proteins in the olfactory tissue of these animals to find out when the different gene families appeared during the evolution of insects.
last updated on 2015-05-29