Postdoc Orlando Schwery Presents at Entomology Annual Meeting
Orlando Schwery, a Postdoc in Emma Goldberg’s Lab at the New Mexico Consortium and Visiting Scholar at the University of Idaho, recently presented his work at the 2021 Entomology Annual Meeting which was held in Denver, CO from October 31-November 3, 2021.
The Entomological Society of America (ESA) is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and individuals in related disciplines. The Entomology Annual Meeting is attended each year by approximately 3,500 entomologists and other scientists who gather to exchange scientific information. This meeting offers a program of symposia, conferences, submitted papers, and continuing education seminars, and provides attendees the opportunity to hear and present research results. The meeting also provides a chance to interact informally with peers and prospective employers.
Schwery is a macroevolutionary biologist who develops and uses software to answer questions about diversification. His research goals are to develop rigorous tests that ensure our inferences are correct, and to integrate biological knowledge from other fields into our inferences, in order to bridge the gap between micro- and macro-ecology and -evolution.
Schwery’s presentation was titled, Investigating mammal/dung beetle co-diversification, and was a collaboration with David Černý, a grad student at the University of Chicago.
Dung beetles (Scarabaeinae) occupy a unique ecological niche depending on the dung of other organisms (largely mammals) for nurture and reproduction. This dependence, together with their diversity and near-global distribution, gave rise to the idea that dung beetle diversification might at least partly have been fueled by the diversity of available mammalian dung producers. However, whether and to what degree this is true has been difficult to establish with certainty. In this study, environment-dependent diversification models are employed in order to test whether past mammal diversity over time – as estimated from the fossil record – may have influenced dung beetle speciation and extinction rates. Beyond that, Schwery also discussed the limits and caveats of these approaches and possible future avenues in answering this question.