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Phylogeny and Biodiversity of Hymenopteran Biological Control Agents
Department of Entomology
The fundamental unit of biodiversity is the species and knowing the species of parasitic wasps that occur in Kentucky and their niches is the main element of my research. There are thousands of species in Kentucky and they all attack and kill other insects, many of which are pests of agricultural and forestry pests. Parasitic wasps are important in the regulation of insects that eat plant products and without them pest populations may increase to dangerous levels. My research describes new species of parasitic wasps and describes their role in the environment. The knowledge gained helps paint the complicated picture of our natural and modified ecosystems.
2010 Project Description
Our lab has given numerous presentations at various workshops and meetings, e.g., Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, The HYM Course, Organization for Tropical Studies (Costa Rica). We continue to add results to our two websites, www.sharkeylab.org and www.hymatol.org, and continue to share information through our listserve that we host email@example.com.
We continue to produce interactive keys that are being used by applied scientists in pest control to identify beneficial insects. A wasp that drills into wood has been discovered that dissolves the wood with enzymes. Research continues on this group of Hymenoptera with the hope that they can be manufactured to be used in the biofuel industry.
Wei, Shu-Jun; Shi, Min; Chen, Xue-xin; Sharkey, Michael J.; van Achterberg, Cornelis; Ye, Gong-yin and He, Jun-hua. 2010. New views on strand asymmetry in insect mitochondrial genomes. PLoS ONE. 5(9):e12708.
Wei, Shu-jun; Shi, Min; Sharkey, Michael J.; van Achterberg, Cornelis and Chen, Xue-xin. 2010. Comparative mitogenomics of Braconidae (Insecta: Hymenoptera) and the phylogenetic utility of mitochondrial genomes with special reference to Holometabolous insects. BMC Genomics. 11:371.
Sharanowski, B. J.; Robbertse, B; Walker, J; Voss, S. R; Yoder, R; Spatafora, J; Sharkey, M J. 2010. Expressed sequence tags reveal Proctotrupomorpha (minus Chalcidoidea) as sister to Aculeata (Hymenoptera: Insecta). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57:101.112.
Stary, Petr; Rakhshani, Ehsan; Havelka, Jan; Tomanovic, Zeljko; Kavallieratos, Nikolas G.; Sharkey, Michael. 2010. Review and key to the world parasitoids (Hymenoptera: Braconidae:Aphidiinae) of Greenideinae aphids (Hemiptera: Aphididae),including notes on invasive pest species. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 103(3):307.321.