UNC Ecology Seminar: Nicole Gerardo
Using Insect Systems to Study How Organisms Interact with Beneficial and Harmful Microbes
Microbial communities within animals greatly influence their hosts' ecology and evolution. These diverse microbial associates consist of commensals, pathogens and mutualists. In such systems, hosts would benefit substantially if they could selectively recognize and accept beneficial microbes while still being able to avoid or attenuate infection by microbial pathogens. Insect hosts provide an excellent opportunity to explore this dilemma, as, like humans, a single insect may often be associated with both mutualists and pathogens, but unlike humans, insect-microbe relationships have the advantage of being easily experimentally manipulated. In addition, many insect species have ancient associations with beneficial bacterial symbionts, which persist inside hosts for generations, allowing us to explore the evolutionary maintenance of microbial associations. I will overview several insect systems that our laboratory utilizes to explore ecological, physiological, behavioral and molecular responses of hosts to acquisition of diverse microbial associates.
The seminar will be held at 4:00pm on Thursday, January 20th at 4:00pm in Wilson 128. If you would like to arrange a meeting with Dr. Gerardo on Thursday, please contact Sarah Seiter (email@example.com).