Chemical communication in insects

Supervisor: Prof. Russell Bonduriansky

Synopsis

Stick insects inhabit a complex three-dimensional habitat (the host plant) that presents a challenge to individuals seeking to locate mates or fend off rivals. Males of the stick insect Megacrania batesii search for females on Pandanus host plants, and fight rivals over access to females. Chemical signals (pheromones) could play important roles in signalling between individuals.

Aims

This project will explore the role of pheromones in male-male and female-male interactions in M. batesii.

Benefits to student

You will learn how to design and carry out experiments, how to carry out sophisticated statistical analysis, and how to write a scientific paper. Honours students in the Bonduriansky lab often publish their work in prestigious journals, such as The American Naturalist, Functional Ecology, Animal Behaviour, and Scientific Reports.