Do pre-adaptations to climate change exist in current insect populations?

Climate change is one imminent problem disrupting our ecosystem and affecting its living organisms, with a very strong impact on the various insect populations. We therefore aim to understand if innate olfactory behaviour of vinegar flies is a plastic trait that differs among individuals and would allow them to cope with the consequences of climate change. We will begin our study of adaptive plasticity with a large-scale screening to select single flies that exhibit an altered odour preference for attractive and aversive odours. We will then evaluate the impact of elevated concentration of O3 and NOx on individual olfactory preferences in adult flies. Finally, we will link the altered preferences to specific patterns of odour-induced neural activity in the fly brain by investigating the underlying individual changes at the neuronal level along the olfactory circuitry.

Postdoctoral Researcher: Dr Karen Rihani (MPI-CE)

Supervision: Dr Silke Sachse (MPI-CE) Dr Bill Hansson (MPI-CE), Dr Markus Knaden (MPI-CE), Dr Sharon Hill (SLU), Dr Rickard Ignell (SLU).

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