Biology, Systematics and Molecular Phylogenetics of Parasitic Wasps

27 Jul 2014

Professor Andy Austin is a key member of the Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity (ACEBB) at The University of Adelaide. His major research interests focus on the biology, systematics and molecular phylogenetics of parasitic wasps, the evolution of host-parasitoid interactions, and the biodiversity and phylogeography of groundwater arthropods. His current research on parasitic wasps is largely on the superfamily Platygastroidea, a group of tiny wasps, 1-3 mm in size, that mostly parasitise the egg stage of their insect and spider hosts. This work is funded through grants from the Australian Biological Resources Study and an NSF Planetary Biodiversity Inventory Program. The latter program encompasses a major collaboration of some 20 scientists internationally that are 1) describing all of the species that parasitize orthopteran eggs world-wide (approx. 1,200 species), some of which are important as natural enemies of pest species, 2) developing on-line tools to provide information on their identification, distribution and hosts, and 3) developing a molecular phylogeny for the group that can be used to trace the evolution of their host relationships.