Susan Swensen (biology department) and Marty Condon (Cornell College, Iowa) have recently been awarded a 2-year, $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.
This collaborative research project is entitled "C-RUI: Evolution of host use: phylogenetic analysis of Blepharoneura (Diptera: Tephritidae) and its hosts in the subtribe uraniinae".
Swensen and Condon will work with collaborators from the USDA and the Smithsonian Institution to collect tropical fruit flies and "rainforest cucumbers" that serve as their hosts. Swensen will study the evolutionary relationships among the plant hosts using DNA analysis which will then be compared to the evolutionary history of the flies.
Ultimately, this work will determine whether flies and plants have co-evolved. Ithaca College students will participate in a tropical workshop in Ecuador in 2005 and will visit collaborators at the USDA.
Contributed by Nancy Pierce