SYSTEMATICS OF BEETLES IMPORTANT TO AGRICULTURE, ARBORICULTURE, AND BIOLOGICAL CONTROL
Project Number: 1275-22000-257-00
Start Date: May 21, 2010
End Date: Sep 30, 2010
Systematics of beetles. Investigate and characterize the systematic relationships and key discriminatory characters of economically important beetles. Specific research foci will include: an investigation of selected longhorned beetle taxa (Cerambycidae) that attack living trees, woody plants and timber, particularly those that are potentially invasive and commonly transported through commerce; a generic level revision of the flea beetle fauna of Eurasia (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae: Alticini) (220 genera) including known crop pests, as well as prospective biological control agents of noxious introduced weeds; species level studies of several small predatory coccinelline genera (Coccinellidae) from the Neotropics, and a higher level study of some poorly differentiated tribes of world wide distribution that feed on plant-sucking Homoptera and mites.
Scientists make use of a number of microscopy techniques (scanning electron
microscopy, phase-contrast compound microscopy, standard dissection microscopy, and auto montage systems to assess homology and variation in structural characteristics. Specimens are examined whole or disarticulated. Measurements and the calculation of basic statistical data are often an important part of this phase of the research. The examination of so-called "type" specimens is critical to revisionary Cladistic analysis is currently the most widely accepted method of phylogenetic reconstruction because of the explicit nature in which data are presented and analyzed, and the logical way of using characters in the phylogenetic reconstructions. Pertinent data will be collected and coded in matrices that will enable easy comparison among taxa for character state changes. In addition to morphological/anatomical characters, host plant and prey preferences, as well as other bionomic information, will be mined from museum collections and the literature. The analysis of any sizeable dataset is usually facilitated by the use of one or more computer programs such as Hennig86, and PAUP.