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Genes and animal behaviour

The seaweed fly species Coelopa frigida belongs to the most widespread species in the world (see picture below) and is found all along the Scandinavian coastline. The wide distribution is making it an excellent candidate to investigate how spatially disparate populations can achieve genomic adaptation to their respective ecological environments.

Part of the flies’ success in surviving this variable environment lies in a large chromosomal inversion (a part of the chromosome that got flipped around by 180°). Such chromosomal rearrangements have fascinated biologists since the 1920s and recently it has become clear that inversions are extremely widespread across the animal kingdom, and are often associated with diseases, fitness trade-offs and adaptation.

A novel insect monitoring scheme will be employed at key populations to quantify activity patterns in relation to the inversion karyotype, sex, environmental parameters, such as temperature and wind speed, and to assess the size composition (a proxy for inversion frequencies) of a population. This investigation will allow us to relate genes to behaviour, which has been described as the next great frontier in biology.

This novel scheme implements a bi-static lidar with a compact and continuous wave laser-diode and a fast line-scan camera (Image 3-4). For the body size measurements in field three measurements must be accomplished: 1) ranging, the distance must be known: This will be accomplished with lidar or stereo vision 2) Flight heading direction must be known for accurate projection of body size: This will be achieved by stereo vision and the quadrant detectors 3) Kilohertz sampling to separate the oscillatory part from the quazi-static part of the signal from the body scattering: This will be accomplished with quadrant detectors.

Large size effects

Coelpa frigida

The αβ inversion has large size effects on the Coelpa frigida.

Salinity gradient

Salinity gradient

Salinity gradient across the range (green) of C. frigida

Example of data

Example of data

Example of data acquisition from a single insect crossing event, seen as a spike (with the different harmonics left graph). Body and wing size (top graph at the right), colour spectrum (middle) and flight headings (bottom graph) can be estimated from this data.


Proposed optical setup

Proposed optical setup

Weather denotes a compact weather station, All-sky denotes an all sky camera, DAQ is a data acquisition board for wing beat measurements, Quad is a quadrant detector for recording harmonics and heading direction, LD is a Laser Diode, Line is a line scan camera, Cam is a high speed RGB camera. Measurements can be done between 1-20 m. The system can be applied close to ground for horizontal sounding.

Page Manager:

Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden