This week, I presented a talk at Entomology 2015. The conference was a great opportunity to catch up with some of my favorite entomologists from around the country, while also learning about some of the cutting-edge research in the field! For instance, I saw a talk about moth migration research that investigated which genes are up or down regulated in flight (Jones et al., Rothamsted Research). I also saw talks on the Colorado potato beetle genome (Schoville et al., UW-Madison), and models that predict ladybird populations across a habitat that varies in time (Gratton et al., UW-Madison).
For my talk, I presented an update on the WisAsp project, detailing the relationship of various aspen traits (bud phenology, tree size, leaf area) and associated insect communities. This information informs community genetics since it identifies some of the key plant traits that structure insect communities while also highlighting how the trait changes insect species composition within the community. The next step is to identify the plant genes involved in these particular traits and insect community composition.