Back to the roots: Invasion of the Mediterranean Sea
I work with the gutless oligochaete species known as Olavius algarvensis. Around 6 million years ago, an extraordinary geological event called the Messinian salinity crisis took place in the Mediterranean region, during which the Mediterranean Sea experienced a prolonged period of desiccation followed by reflooding, our hypothesis proposes that O. algarvensis successfully invaded the Mediterranean Sea once it was flooded again.
To validate this hypothesis, I will conduct extensive sampling across various locations throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Through comprehensive investigations into the genetic, physiological, and ecological aspects of Olavius algarvensis specimens, as well as their associated endosymbionts, our aim is to acquire a more profound understanding of the symbiotic relationship dynamics and the level of symbiotic fidelity within this species.
Kiefer, J. S. T.; Bauer, E.; Okude, G.; Fukatsu, T.; Kaltenpoth, M.; Engl, T.: Cuticle supplementation and nitrogen recycling by a dual bacterial symbiosis in a family of xylophagous beetles. The ISME Journal (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41396-023-01415-y
Kiefer, J. S. T.; Schmidt, G.; Krüsemer, R.; Kaltenpoth, M.; Engl, T.: Wolbachia causes cytoplasmic incompatibility but not male-killing in a grain pest beetle. Molecular Ecology (2022). DOI: 10.1111/mec.16717
Kiefer, J. S. T.; Batsukh, S.; Bauer, E.; Hirota, B.; Weiss, B.; Wierz, J. C.; Fukatsu, T.; Kaltenpoth, M.; Engl, T.: Inhibition of a nutritional endosymbiont by glyphosate abolishes mutualistic benefit on cuticle synthesis in Oryzaephilus surinamensis. Communications Biology (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s42003-021-02057-6
Jehn, J.; Gebert, D.; Pipilescu, F.; Stern, S.; Kiefer, J. S. T.; Hewel, C.; Rosenkranz, D.: PIWI genes and piRNAs are ubiquitously expressed in mollusks and show patterns of lineage-specific adaptation. Communications Biology (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s42003-018-0141-4