Ceraphronoidea are small, under-studied parasitoid wasps whose larvae feed on and eventually kill other insects. Many species of Ceraphronoidea are important in biological pest control programs in agricultural systems. Ceraphronoidea also appear to be the missing link that is critical for our understanding of the evolution of Hymenoptera, a lineage of insects represented by more than a million species (10% of all organisms). This project will result in broadly accessible resources that lift barriers to future research on these insects, including: a phylogeny based on molecular and anatomical data, a revised higher-level classification, images of specimens, data for tens of thousands of specimens, species-level monographs for agriculturally-relevant groups, and robust tools that use molecular and anatomical data for identification of species.
The project will also test a novel approach for describing species. This new method increases the openness and accessibility of biodiversity data and allows one to do analyses of color, texture, shape, and other phenotypes in order to look for ecological patterns and to assist in diagnosing species. The approach is broadly applicable and stands to connect data from taxonomic treatments of any organism, a first for taxonomy. A workshop in contemporary morphology methods will facilitate training and dissemination of this new approach. Two graduate students will be trained as integrative systematists and experts of Ceraphronoidea, the first in over a decade.
|Effective start/end date||8/1/14 → 7/31/19|
- National Science Foundation: $700,000.00