Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics of Species Interactions
To explain how biological diversity comes into existence and is maintained, it is important to identify processes involved in adaptation, differentiation and speciation. In this theme, we focus on three subthemes: chemical interactions within and between species, interactions between pollinators and plants, and symbiotic interactions between arthropod hosts, microbes and fungi.
Many interactions between individuals are through chemical communication, such as sexual communication with pheromones and plant recognition and manipulation of plant defence systems by herbivores. Symbiotic interactions turn out to be more diverse, abundant and dynamic than we thought. Many traits of arthropods, such as mode of reproduction, food plant choice, interaction with defence system of food plants and reproductive isolation, are affected or altered by their symbionts. We need to determine the molecular ecological mechanism of the traits involved in these interactions. In addition we want to understand the proximate and ultimate factors that affect the evolution of these traits and their interactions.
For a true inderstanding of ecological interactions knowlege of the molecular basis of the involved traits is necessary. The EPB group uses a large array of techniques to search for, identify, quantify and describe the genes involved in the eccological processes under study.
These techniques include microarray and RNAseq, QTL analysis, mapping of candidate genes and functional analysis, expression analysis using qRT-PCR and stable and transient gene silencing and over-expression in plants.
dr. A.T. (Astrid) Groot
dr. M. (Merijn) Kant
dr. J.A.J. (Hans) Breeuwer
prof. dr. ir. T.B.S. (Thomas) Van Leeuwen
dr. P. (Peter) Roessingh
dr. J.M. (Juan) Alba Cano
prof. dr. T. (Teun) Boekhout
dr. P.G. (Patrick) Meirmans
dr. J.G.B. (Gerard) Oostermeijer
dr. ir. M. (Michiel) van Wijk