Tuesday, February 8, 7:30 pm – Halictids as a Model of Social Evolution

The next meeting of the Cambridge Entomological Club will be held on Tuesday February 8 at 7:30 PM in room 101 of the Museum of Comparative Zoology. David Lubertazzi is pleased to announce that our January meeting will feature a talk by Sarah Kocher entitled “Halictids as a Model of Social Evolution.” Sarah is a postdoctoral researcher from Harvard University.

The development of eusociality is considered to be a major transition in evolutionary history. Even Darwin noted the presence of sterile castes was “a special difficulty that was potentially fatal to the whole theory” of evolution. Previous studies on the evolution of social behavior have focused on species that have fixed social structure; however, because these species no longer exhibit variation in sociality, they provide limited models for discovering the factors that led to the evolution of social behavior. Halictid bees, on the other hand, provide an excellent study system. Different populations of a species can exhibit variation in social behavior that ranges from solitary to social. Dr Kocher will describe her research, which uses molecular and biogeographic approaches, studying the evolution of social behaviors in this remarkable family of bees.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Snacks will be provided and you are also welcome to join us at 6:15 PM for an informal pre-meeting dinner at Harkness Commons, in the law school cafeteria on the second floor. For more information, contact David Lubertazzi at lubertazzi@gmail.com.