Introduction and aims of the project
The dissertation deals with the phylogeny and evolution of Aculeata. Using microCT scans and 3D reconstructions we investigate the skeletal musculature of the thorax in wasps from all over the world. Structural characters are elaborated to develop a broad morphological data set for clarifying phylogenetic relationships. The single structures are/will be freely accessible via the MfN (https://doi.org/10.7479/dft0-yy6m) and the Hymenoptera Anatomy Ontology Portal.
The extremities and the gaster are cut off the specimens that are stored in alcohol. They are stained with iodine-ethanol and carefully dried (critical point drying). Then, 3D pictures are made with a micro-computer tomography scanner (µCT). All muscles are labelled manually with the 3D software AmiraZIB to enable a turning on and off of single structures. Thus, a muscle can be analysed individually. One half of the thorax is analysed. In comparison with genetic work our results will complement the knowledge about the relationships among and within the taxa.
Comparing the specimens our work shows significant differences in number and structure of the musculature. That is explainable with their different way of life. More than 40 muscles can be found in one half of a meso- and metathorax of a wasp.
Associated student projects
Two theses were made within this PhD project:
- Master’s thesis (German): “Die Morphologie des Mesosomas aculeater Hymenopteren mit reduzierten Flügeln“ by Ivo Jurisch, University of Rostock, 2016.
- Bachelor thesis: Comparative morphology of the sting apparatus in digger wasps by means of µ-computed tomography” by Stefan Graf, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2017.
- Zuse Institute Berlin: Provision of the software AmiraZIBEdition
- Dr Frank Friedrich, University of Hamburg: Software training and contact person for 3D-visualisations and muscle structures
- Hymenoptera Anatomy Ontology, USA: Portal for public access to morphological data
The Phylogeny and Evolution of the aculeate Hymenoptera
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG until 30.09.2017