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Citations since 2016
10 Research Items
Abstract The evolutionary success of termites has been driven largely by a complex communication system operated by a rich set of exocrine glands. As many as 20 different exocrine organs are known in termites. While some of these organs are relatively well known, only anecdotal observations exist for others. One of the exocrine organs that has rece...
A phylogeny of the Torymidae (Chalcidoidea) is estimated using 4734 nucleotides from five genes. Twelve outgroups and 235 ingroup taxa are used, representing about 70% of the recognized genera. Our analyses do not recover Torymidae as monophyletic and we recognize instead two families: Megastigmidae (stat. rev.) and Torymidae s.s. (stat. rev.). Wit...
The higher termites (Termitidae) are keystone species and ecosystem engineers. They have exceptional biomass and play important roles in decomposition of dead plant matter, in soil manipulation, and as the primary food for many animals, especially in the tropics. Higher termites are most diverse in rainforests, with estimated origins in the late Eo...
Chileana Janšta & Křížková gen. nov. and four new species, C. cyanea Janšta & Křížková sp. nov., C. maculata Janšta & Křížková sp. nov., C. tricarinata Janšta & Křížková sp. nov. and C. penai Janšta & Křížková sp. nov., all from Chile, are described. The placement of this new genus within the tribe Monodontomerini is discussed and several character...
In every warm region of the world, a huge proportion of biomass is converted to soil by termites. Besides this well-known fact, however, the global-scale contribution of termites to organic matter cycling has not been quantified. Our team will estimate the contributions of termites and their manifold environmental-engineering activities to some of the most fundamental processes of Earth’s ecosystems, specifically soil formation and carbon dioxide release. Going beyond the insect level, we will also use a series of experiments to estimate the contribution of the termites’ symbiotic microorganisms, and document the composition and function of these communities along a decomposition gradient. We aim to convey a comprehensive, global picture, by conducting the sampling in the Afrotropics (Cameroon), the Neotropics (French Guiana), the Indomalayan (south China) and the Australasian (Papua New Guinea) ecozones, and thus focusing on the most productive terrestrial biotopes on Earth. To discriminate and quantify the roles of termites, their allied microbial consortia, and environmental factors in organic matter recycling, we will deploy a hierarchical design of field and lab experiments. Our approaches comprise quantification of the production of plant matter and its decomposition by means of termite actions, metabarcoding of microbial communities in comparable environmental samples and standard sterile wood and soil baits with and without access of termites, transcriptomic approaches in environmental samples, cultivated microorganisms and termite guts, genome and metagenome sequencing of selected termites and their symbionts, as well as laboratory assays disentangling decomposition capacities of particular termites and microorganisms and influence of xenochemicals upon the degradation processes. The combined evidence will allow us to test four fundamental hypotheses, which are as follows: (A) Does pre-digestion microbial management support termite impact on biodegradation? (B) Do the interactions between termites and microbiota differ at two fundamental levels, and are endosymbionts inherited strictly vertically while ectosymbionts origin from the pool of local microbes? (C) Do specific termite-associated microbes or fungi, rather than environmental factors, facilitate the termite-driven degradation, and are the patterns of co-evolution evidenced at genome level? (D) Do selected xenochemicals, nutrients or biocides, support or suppress particular strains of microorganisms, and are the community changes reflected by enhanced or decreased decomposition rates?
Termites are one of the main invertebrate decomposer organisms in tropical regions which is undoubtedly due to their association with both internal (endo-) and external (ecto-)symbiotic microorganisms. The microbial symbionts allow termites to break down the complex ligno-cellulose matrix of plant tissues and soil organic matter which enable termites to feed on nutrient poor but highly available organic matter. While the relationship between termites and endosymbionts has been widely studied, the understanding of the role of ectosymbionts is poor. We hypothesise that the latter may play a vital role in the successful development of termite functional groups and we aim to examine the relationships between termites, endosymbionts, ectosymbionts, and their food sources, which together with historical biogeography may explain the inconsistent intercontinental patterns of termite abundance. Mass sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA and fungal ITS genes will be used followed by analyses of co-occurrence patterns to investigate the relationships between termites and their allied microorganisms. Our aim is to understand the inconsistent global termite abundance patterns by studying the relationships between termites and their internal and external symbiotic microorganisms. Mass sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA and fungal ITS genes will be used followed by analyses of co-occurrence patterns.
Fungi and bacteria associated with European bark beetles are their important symbionts enabling them to digest phloem or wood. We would like to describe factors that influence composition of these microbial communities.