Project proposal details
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The phylogeny of hoverflies from whole mitochondrial genomes
Project based at
Natural History Museum
Hoverflies (Syrphidae) have received renewed interests as a major group of pollinators. They share similar appearance with the other group of major pollinators, the bees and wasps in the order Hymenoptera, which they mimic, but they are members of the Diptera (true flies). The Syrphidae are ecologically highly diverse, particularly in the larval stages, whose lifestyle ranges from saprophagy, phytophagy, mycophagy to insectivory, frequently associated with ants, and many species are aquatic in the larval stages. Hoverflies are also widely tagged in metabarcoding studies of pollinators that need a precise identification against a reference set of well characterised mitochondrial genomes. This project will build on a set of ~100 mitogenomes, most of them unpublished, that cover most major groups of Syrphidae. The phylogenetic tree will be used to map larval life history characters and the molecular-clock dating of major transition in the evolution of the lineage. In addition, the tree will be used to place existing (meta)barcode sequences in a solid phylogenetic framework, for a much needed reference system to characterise the diversity and distribution of UK pollinators.
Project proposal limitations
The project proposer has indicated that there are some limitations to the availability of this project. It may only be available at certain times of year or suit a specific project length. It may also need skills taught to students on a particular course or courses.
Research project proposals are usually part of an active research programme. If supervisors have stated limitations to a proposal, then they are unlikely to have any flexibility. If you are very interested in the topic but have problems with the stated limitations, the supervisor may still be happy to talk to you about other options around the proposal, but you should not expect that any alternative arrangements can be made.
Project length limitations
3.5 months, 5 months
Available date limitations
Ecology Evolution and Conservation, Taxonomy and Biodiversity [NHM MSc], Biosystematics [NHM MRes]