On Sunday, PhD student Adam Rork and I headed out to Penn State’s Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center, which is about 10 miles southwest of University Park and comprises 2,000 acres of land. Our hearts were set on assessing which carabids are active this time of year near the margin of the plots. It’s been getting a little cooler in central PA as we head into Fall (earlier than normal, so we’ve heard), so we weren’t quite sure what we’d find! To our delight, we found more than we expected. To read more about ground beetles that are common in our area of PA, see this article. Many are important biological control agents in agroecosystems.
Our NSF-funded CarabidQ team held its 2nd annual meeting at the Stevens Institute of Technology, hosted by Dr. Athula Attygalle’s laboratory. We had three productive days sharing recent results and learning the methods behind GC-MS. We were excited to welcome Adam Rork, a new Ph.D. student in the Renner Lab, to the CarabidQ team!
Recently, our research was featured on SDSU NewsCenter: ‘Don’t Bug this Beetle’.
‘Brachinus elongatulus, more commonly known as the bombardier beetle, is a fellow you do not want to agitate. When this beetle feels threatened, it blasts boiling hot, noxious chemicals from its body in rapid-fire fashion. And the smell is not pleasant either.
“It’s a foul-smelling liquid that is quite shocking and distasteful to predators such as toads,” said Tanya Renner, an assistant professor in San Diego State University’s biology department. If a predator tries to eat the bombardier, it gets a mouthful of this unpalatable liquid.’
Read the full SDSU NewsCenter Article here.
Elliott Kennerson reports on ‘The Bombardier Beetle And Its Crazy Chemical Cannon‘ for KQED Science’s Deep Look program. Learn about the bombardier beetle, what we know about it’s explosive chemistry, and some of our hypotheses as to how this system may have evolved. Collaborator Dr. Kip Will (UC Berkeley) stars in this video (alongside the bombardier Brachinus)!
“Insects invade Student Union for annual festival… Buzz, buzz, buzzzzzz. Most people run at the slightest detection of a buzzing bug, but people will be flocking to them this Sunday at the Student Union Memorial Center Grand Ballroom to attend the fourth annual Arizona Insect Festival.” – By Patrick O’Connor / The Daily Wildcat. Read more about it here.
Tanya and undergraduate researcher Amanda Romaine are going to Evolution 2014! Please stop by Amanda’s poster on “The implications of life history on the molecular evolution of chemoreception in predatory paussine beetles”, research supported by NIH and the PERT program at the University of Arizona.
Update: We had a great time at Evolution 2014! Amanda had many people visit her poster and Tanya’s paussine chemosensory talk was well attended. We even had a chance to visit some carnivorous plants in the wild at the Green Swamp.