Corrie Moreau, "Ants, Plants, and Bacteria: Symbiosis and Evolutionary Diversification "

Nov 03, 2014 (Mon) | 4:00 PM -5:30 PM
318 Campus Drive, Clark Auditorium S001 : Stanford, CA

To fully understand the macroevolutionary factors that have promoted the diversification and persistence of biological diversity varied tools and disciplines must be integrated. By combining data from several fields including molecular phylogenetics, biogeographic range reconstruction, stable isotope analyses, and microbial community sequencing to study the evolutionary history of the ants, we are beginning to understand the drivers of speciation and the interconnectedness of life. Molecular phylogenetic analyses are providing a stable framework for the ant tree of life and divergence dating suggests that the ants originated ~140 million years ago and diversified after the rise of the angiosperms (Moreau et al. 2006; Moreau 2009; Moreau & Bell 2011; Moreau & Bell 2013). Biogeographic range reconstruction suggests that the Neotropics were historically (museum) and continue (cradle) to be an important geographic region for the evolution of the ants (Moreau & Bell 2013). While studies combining stable isotope analysis to infer the trophic ecology of the ants and microbiome sequencing of gut-associated bacteria of ants highlight the importance of this association in the evolution of herbivory (Russell, Moreau et al. 2009; Kautz et al. 2013). These multiple lines of evidence are illuminating a more complete picture of ant evolution and providing novel insights into the factors that promote biological diversity.

Department:  Biology

Contact: Maria Magana-Lopez | 650-723-2413 |


  • Corrie Moreau Field Museum of Natural History