Hymenoptera Tree of Life project - NSF Grant EF-0341149
Goal: Recovering the phylogeny of Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps)
Activities for the relationships between Chalcidoidea and other Hymenoptera are being coordinated with other projects at the AMNH, University of Kentucky, Florida State University and The University of Kansas. The UCR group has assumed responsibility for morphological characters addressing the antenna, head and mouthparts.
Chalcidoidea TWiG (Taxonomic Working Group)
1) A workshop on coding morphological characters for the Chalcidoidea was held from September 12-17, 2005 in Riverside. From a preliminary list of more than 700 characters, a revised list of 403 characters was developed; 141 of these still require further investigation to determine homology and coding. Our next step is a final list, and to begin coding characters for all of the molecular taxa. Our planned goal developed at the workshop was a book dealing with the phylogeny and biology of the Chalcidoidea.
2) Collecting trip to Chile: an expedition was mounted to collect Chiloe micropteron (Rotoitidae) in southern Chile. This trip included John Pinto, Jeremiah George and John Heraty (UCR) and Lubomir Masner (CNCI, Ottawa). More than 25 specimens of this rare family were collected. Material is still being sorted and distributed, but important target taxa were collected for various projects. As well, material has been sent to Dipterists and Coleopterists for inclusion as part of their TOL grants.
3) Sequencing of Chalcidoidea. To date, we have developed a matrix of 471 Chalcidoidea for the 18S (E17-35) and 28S (D2 and D3) ribosomall regions. Additional sequencing has been done for COI and wingless, but these are minor as ccompared for what has been developed for the large matrix. In all analyses, Mymaridae are the basal taxon. Several families are consistently monophyletic (Eucharitidae, Trichogrammatidae, Eulophidae, Signiphoridae, Perilampidae and others); however, some families, are not such as Aphelinidae, Eurytomidae, Chalcididae and Pteromalidae. Of these, Chalcididae is a family that is expected to be monophyletic. This fall we were finally provided samples of Chalcis sp. (the type genus of the superfamily). These have received a high priority for inclusion in the matrix of both Chalcidoidea and the skeleton matrix. Taxa used in the molecular analysis will be scored for the morphological analysis over the coming year.
4) Sequencing of 'skeleton taxa' for primary Hymenoptera matrix. We have almost completed our sequencing of the 10 target taxa (Serphitoidea and Chalcidoidea) for all of 18S and 28S (D10-D10), wingless, forkhead, partial COI, for about 6300 bp of data. Our lab is responsible for aligning the data across Hymenoptera, and results will be presented at the South Africa Hymenoptera meetings in January 2006. We have also imaged (SEM and digital) all of these same skeleton taxa for Chalcidoidea, and distributed images to all of the taxonomic working groups.
5) Johan Liljeblad (PhD) and Jeremiah George (PhD) have started working on a survey of morphological characters of the head across Hymenoptera.
6) Presentations on the phylogeny of Chalcidoidea have been presented by Heraty at various meetings: 1) Tree or Life Symposium at International Society of Hymenopterists annual meeting in Salt lake City (November 2004); 2) TOL PI workshop (May 2005); 3) plenary address for the European Workshop on Parasitic Hymenoptera in Cardiff, Wales (September 2005), 4) Workshop on Chalcidoidea (September 2005) and 5) the Entomological Society of America (ESA) annual meeting in Ft. Lauderdale (December 2005). Chrissy Romero (MSc student) presented the results of her research on scutellar sensillae of Chalcidoidea at the ESA annual meeting in Florida.