Termite collecting in the Top End

Four MEEP lab members recently went on a field trip to the Northern Territory with other termite scientists from Queensland, Japan, and Belgium. We collected the giant Australian termite Mastotermes darwiniensis and other species. M. darwiniensis represents the most primitive termite lineage and is only found in the top end of Australia, where it is the most economically significant termite pest. We are performing a transcriptomic study of M. darwiniensis in order to identify key genes in the caste determination process. Other collected species will contribute to phylogeographic studies underway in the lab.

Sorting termites for transport; Dai, Toru, and Tim next to a cathedral termite mound.