The project will undertake cutting-edge research on the evolution of insects, the most successful group of animals. Much controversy exists about why insects are so successful (e.g., most diverse group of animals, critical 'environmental engineers'). The project will integrate new methods in genomics, tomography, machine learning to understand the evolution of key adaptations (e.g., male and female genitalia). Hypotheses about milestone evolutionary events will be generated from total-evidence analysis of genomic and phenotypic data, and tested using behavioural experiments in the Bonduriansky laboratory. UNSW has world class facilities in genomics (Ramaciotti Centre) and tomography (Tyree X-ray CT, Petroleum Engineering, UNSW) that provide a means for undertaking this interdisciplinary research. Prof. Sowmya will enable application of machine learning and novel quantification of the insect phenotype. The availability of this research infrastructure and expertise will attract quality PhD students, enable interdisciplinary research, and make UNSW a world-leader on the evolution of animals.
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Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Computer Science and Engineering
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences