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Mutualistic microbes, their abundances and functions within nests of fungus-farming weevils

Applicant Biedermann Peter
Number 151134
Funding scheme Advanced Postdoc.Mobility
Research institution Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Ökologie
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Zoology
Start/End 01.03.2014 - 28.02.2015
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Zoology
Experimental Microbiology

Keywords (10)

ambrosia beetle; in-vitro assays; insect agriculture; sociality; symbiosis; mutualism; fungi; bacteria; nitrogen fixation; fungiculture

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Die Abundanz und Funktion von Bakterien und Pilzen in Nestern pilzzüchtender Käfer Mutualistic microbes, their abundances and functions within nests of fungus-farming weevils
Lay summary

Tierischen Ackerbau kennen Biologen vor allem von pilzzüchtenden Ameisen in den Tropen. Weitgehend unbekannt ist, dass auch hierzulande Ambrosiakäfer Pilzgärten im Holz abgestorbener Bäume kultivieren. Für die Forschung von besonderem Interesse sind dabei die Mechanismen der Pilzzucht. Offenbar unterdrücken die Käfer erfolgreich das Wachstum von Schimmelpilzen, die – in geringer Dichte – immer in den Pilzgärten vorkommen. Welche Massnahmen sie dabei ergreifen, ist noch unerforscht. Interessant ist hierbei besonders, wie die Käfer die Schimmelpilze daran hindern, Resistenzen gegenüber diesen Massnahmen zu entwickeln – und das seit 60 Millionen Jahren. Die Nahrungspilze scheinen hingegen durch die Käfer im Wachstum angeregt zu werden, wiederum ist unklar wie. Um diese Fragen zu klären, ist ein genaues Verständnis des Käferverhaltens, der chemischen Interaktionen zwischen Käfern und Pilzen sowie der anderen Symbionten in den Käfernestern erforderlich.

Während meines ersten SNF-Postdocs habe ich die Pilz- und Bakteriengemeinschaften von zwei heimischen Ambrosiakäferarten charakterisiert. Diese Analysen zeigen, dass die Gärten der Käfer mehrere Nahrungspilze beherbergen, und zwar vermutlich in Sukzession, was darauf hindeutet, dass die Pilze unterschiedliche Funktionen für die Käfer haben. Die Bakteriengemeinschaft wird von Arten dominiert, die vermutlich fähig sind Stickstoff wiederzuverwerten und möglicherweise als „Dünger“ dienen.

In diesem Projekt werde ich die Sukzession der Pilzgemeinschaft genau untersuchen und überprüfen ob/wie sich diese durch experimentelle Manipulation der Käferpräsenz beeinflussen lässt. Des Weiteren möchte ich herausfinden, wie die Ambrosiakäfer ihre Pilze im Wachstum anregen und dazu bringen nahrhafte Fruchtkörper zu produzieren: Dafür werde ich Käfersekrete und Bakterien auf die Pilzgärten auftragen und den Effekt beobachten. Im letzten Teil des Projektes soll die Rolle symbiontischer Bakterien für den Stickstoffkreislauf innerhalb der Pilzgärten untersucht werden.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 29.12.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Publications

Publication
Defensive symbioses of animals with prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms.
Florez Patino Laura V., Biedermann Peter H. W., Engl Tobias, Kaltenpoth Martin (2015), Defensive symbioses of animals with prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms., in Natural Products Reports, 32(7), 904-936.
Evolution and diversity of bark and ambrosia beetles.
Kirkendall Lawrence R., Biedermann Peter H. W., Jordal Bjarte H. (2015), Evolution and diversity of bark and ambrosia beetles., in Vega Fernando E. (ed.), Academic Press, San Diego, 85-156.
Three genera in the Ceratocystidaceae are the respective symbionts of three independent lineages of ambrosia beetles with large, complex mycangia
Mayers Chase G., McNew Douglas L., Harrington Thomas C., Roeper Richard A., Fraedrich Stephen W., Biedermann Peter H. W., Castrillo Louela A., Reed Sharon E. (2015), Three genera in the Ceratocystidaceae are the respective symbionts of three independent lineages of ambrosia beetles with large, complex mycangia, in Fungal Biology, 119, 1075-1092.
Convergent Bacterial Microbiotas in the Fungal Agricultural Systems of Insects
Aylward Frank O., Suen Garret, Biedermann Peter H. W., Adams Aaron S., Scott Jarrod J., Malfatti Stephanie A., del Rio Tijana Glavina, Tringe Susannah G., Poulsen Michael, Raffa Kenneth F., Klepzig Kier D., Currie Cameron R. (2014), Convergent Bacterial Microbiotas in the Fungal Agricultural Systems of Insects, in MBIO, 5(6), e02077-14.
Käfer als Pilzzüchter: Die Biologie der Ambrosiakäfer und wie man sie beobachtet.
Biedermann Peter H. W. (2014), Käfer als Pilzzüchter: Die Biologie der Ambrosiakäfer und wie man sie beobachtet., in Artenschutzreport, 33, 43-45.
New Synthesis: The Chemistry of Partner Choice in Insect-Microbe Mutualisms
Biedermann Peter H. W., Kaltenpoth Martin (2014), New Synthesis: The Chemistry of Partner Choice in Insect-Microbe Mutualisms, in JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL ECOLOGY, 40(2), 99-99.
Bacterial and fungal symbionts of parasitic Dendroctonus bark beetles
Dohet Loic, Gregoire Jean-Claude, Berasategui Aileen, Kaltenpoth Martin, Biedermann Peter H. W., Bacterial and fungal symbionts of parasitic Dendroctonus bark beetles, in FEMS MICROBIOLOGY ECOLOGY, 92(9).
Genetic diversity in fungal symbionts of ambrosia beetles in Europe.
Van de Peppel Lennart, Wisselink Margo, Aanen Duur K., Biedermann Peter H.W., Genetic diversity in fungal symbionts of ambrosia beetles in Europe., in DGaaE Nachrichten.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Michael Taborsky, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. Jean-Claude Gregoire, Université Libre de Bruxelles Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. Thomas Harrington United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Duur Aanen, Laboratory of Genetics, Wageningen University Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Kolloquium der Österreichischen Entomologischen Gesellschaft Poster Farmers under the bark: The fungal symbioses of wood-boring beetles. 22.03.2015 Graz, Austria Biedermann Peter;
Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution seminar series, University of Cambridge Individual talk Cooperation Under the Bark: Studying Sociality & Symbiosis in Ambrosia Beetles 27.01.2015 Cambridge, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Biedermann Peter;
Internationale Naturschutztagung Talk given at a conference Inzucht, Kinderarbeit, Ambrosia: Einblicke in Sozialverhalten und Pilzzucht heimischer Ambrosiakäfer 15.11.2014 Bad Blankenburg, Germany Biedermann Peter;
Conference on Behavioural Biology Poster Defence against pathogenic fungi in the ambrosia beetle Xyleborinus saxesenii 17.07.2014 Prag, Czech Republic Biedermann Peter;
Seminar at school for life and art studies Individual talk Biology of bark and ambrosia beetles 23.05.2014 Asheville, NC, United States of America Biedermann Peter;
Bark & Ambrosia Beetle Academy Talk given at a conference Ambrosia beetle sociality and lab breeding. 07.05.2014 Gainesville, FL, United States of America Biedermann Peter;
Seminar Series Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology Individual talk Inzucht, Kinderarbeit, Ambrosia: Einblicke in Sozialverhalten und Pilzzucht heimischer Ambrosiakäfer. 24.04.2014 Jena, Germany Biedermann Peter;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
141472 Microbial symbionts and their functions in fungus culturing beetles 01.09.2012 Fellowships for prospective researchers

Abstract

Fungus farming insects are one of the most exciting examples for the success of symbioses in nature. Ants, termites and ambrosia beetles started to grow fungi for food about 40-60 million years before the rise of human agriculture. Given the insects’ long-term success in agriculture and pest-management, it is promising to examine their sustainable solutions for possible applications in human agriculture. Research on leaf-cutter ants has already revealed the use of nitrogen fixing bacteria as fungus fertilizers and the application of antibiotics produced by symbiotic bacteria to control co-evolved garden parasites.My overall research aim during my time as a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (MPI-CE) is to unravel the behavioural and chemical mechanisms of fungus-farming by ambrosia beetles. The result will strongly shape our understanding of how beetles sustainably culture fungi for millions of years and will possibly provide novel ideas for biological control of invasive weevils. In the first part of this project (SNF Early Postdoc.Mobility), I already characterized the microbial communities of two focal ambrosia beetles and determined major bacterial and fungal players. Subsequently, I will test if and how some symbionts defend beetle nests against pathogenic moulds. Preliminary results show that (i) multiple ambrosia fungi are transmitted and simultaneously co-occur within fungus gardens of Xyleborinus saxesenii and Xylosandrus germanus; (ii) ambrosia fungi appear in gardens in succession, suggesting different roles and (iii) a major part of the associated bacterial communities are made up by bacterial groups possibly having either nitrogen-recycling or nitrogen-fixing capabilities. These symbionts may be involved in the beetle´s ability to enhance growth in their crop fungi, which I plan to investigate in the project I propose here.In this follow-up project, I will investigate the succession of ambrosia fungi and moulds within gardens over time and if/how experimental removal of farming beetles influences fungal succession using target-specific primers and quantitative PCR (qPCR). Furthermore, I will focus on synergistic effects between beetles and associated symbionts. Specifically, I will quantify and test experimentally how ambrosia beetles can trigger the fruiting of their cultivars and whether this effect involves the application of other symbionts. Finally, I want to investigate the role of nitrogen-recycling and nitrogen-fixing bacteria in this nitrogen limited environment.Dr. Kaltenpoth’s group at the MPI-CE is among the world-leading institutions to study insect-microbial symbioses. Many state-of-the-art molecular and chemical techniques, which I want to learn or deepen my knowledge in, belong to the standard repertoire of my colleagues there. Thus, I cannot think of a better environment to conduct high-profile research and to grow as an interdisciplinary scientist, professionally and personally.
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