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Applications of nano CT-scan to the interpretation and documentation of the skeletomuscular anatomy of bees

Grant number: 22/11349-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2022
Effective date (End): November 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Eduardo Andrade Botelho de Almeida
Grantee:Odair Milioni de Meira
Supervisor: Hans Pohl
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Research place: Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:21/07258-0 - Comparative anatomic thoracic musculature of bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila): classical and contemporary techniques, BP.DR


Bees comprise more than 20,000 species and display disparate morphologies (e.g., body length varying from 2 to 40 mm) and variations in behaviors that include pollen harvesting, nest parasitism, and social organization. It is expected that throughout the evolutionary history of bee diversification, there have been phenotypic changes in several traits, particularly those related to the musculature and skeletal morphologies. The available knowledge of bee musculature encompasses approximately 200 muscle groups, resulting in a complex system, considering the intricacy of some muscles and the challenges of interpreting their connection points (i.e., skeletomuscular association). Most of the knowledge about bee musculature was generated more than 50 years ago before modern imaging techniques opened exciting avenues of anatomical research. This project aims to comparatively investigate the musculature and associated skeletal structures of two bee species belonging to the genera Thyreus (Apidae: Melectini) and Augochlora (Halictidae: Augochlorini). This goal will be pursued by applying nano-computed tomography, a modern technique of anatomical research. This approach will allow an improved understanding of the morphology of the skeletomuscular anatomy, which is still almost unexplored for bees from this perspective to build a solid knowledge. The level of detail and quality of the documentation aimed in this research will be unprecedented, and the expected refinement will be fundamental to foster progress in phylogenetic studies and allow adaptive and morphofunctional interpretation of the morphological variation. One of the main interests of reconstructing the history of species is to provide a framework for further investigations, particularly in the evolution of morphological and life-history traits. The internship abroad will be carried out under the supervision of Dr. Hans Pohl, Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany), who leads a research group responsible for some of the prime examples of morphological investigation of different insect taxa in recent years. This research is fully integrated into the candidate's doctoral studies and will allow greater accuracy in identifying muscle groups and their documentation in high resolution. (AU)

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