In January of 2023, Prof Seirian Sumner and post-doc Dr Cintia Oi travelled to Brazil to carry out work as part of their project Secrets to a Successful Hunt: Integrating Genomes, Chemistry and Behaviour in Neotropical Solitary Wasps (read full details of this collaborative international NERC-funded project here).
The main aims of this project are to:
- Generate genomes for solitary wasps
- Train Brazilian ecologists in bioinformatics
- Analyze the genomic basis of predator-prey sensory mechanisms and evolution
From Sao Paulo they travelled to Manaus, where they were greeted by Dr. Alexandre Somavilla, Prof Marcio Oliveira & co at INPA, Manaus, who generously shared their wonderful wasp collections as well as their expertise.
From Manaus they ventured into the Amazon, and over the course of a week collecting solitary wasp specimens for sequencing, representing 10 distinct species spanning 6 different families.
This included a charming female spider-hunting Pompilidae wasp (Pepsis plutus) along with her arachnid prey.
Back in Ribeirao Preto, they were joined by post-doc Dr Chris Wyatt, who shared his expertise in Bioinformatics with Brazilian researchers.
Many thanks to our collaborators Fabio and Marco, labceis, Alexandre and to everyone at INPA Manaus who helped make this project possible! Thanks for the warm welcome by all the Brazilians we met! The samples are now being shipped for genome sequencing. Stay tuned for the results!!