Seth M. Bybee, Department of Biology, December 2017
Evaluation of how well the academic objectives of the proposal were met The proposal had three main aims: 1). Produce a phylogenetic estimate of aeshnid dragonfly evolution from transcriptomes. 2). Use the phylogeny from Aim I and the photopigments isolated from the transcriptome data to examine the evolution of aeshnid color visual systems and 3) Using independent and complimentary methods (in situ hybridization, qPCR and transcriptome data) to examine both the distribution and level of expression for each photopigment for one focal species (Anax junius).
Goals one and two were both successful, however goal three became bogged down and only a portion of this research was ultimately carried out. In situ hybridization and qPCR proved more difficult to carry out than expected. However, the major limiting factor was not the techniques but instead the length of the experiments that ultimately made this project difficult. We tried three separate experiments to raise immature dragonflies to the last instar before they emerge as adults. Each time we had 70-100% die off before the final instar. The last experiment was most successful, with ~70% die off but we could not build on this experiment due to the change in season and a lack of access to dragonfly eggs. We plan to continue to try to rear dragonflies in the lab with our new found knowledge as a result of this reseach. Further, goals one and two were successful for a subset of our focal taxon so we can certainly build on what we have done so far into the future. Still, despite the setbacks we were able to present these findings at several meetings and have a manuscript in prep and publish another.
As mentioned goals one and two were successful. Instead of focusing on the entire family of Aeshinidae we focused more closely on a single large genus (32 species). With a focus on this genus we reconstructed the first phylogenetic result of the genus Anax (one of the most diverse color visual systems known among terrestrial organisms). We sequenced the transcriptomes of three species from this genus and were able to reconstruct the color vision system. By doing so we were able to address all our original questions but in a more focused group of organisms. Each goal has been met at a high level, with student training, publication and/or national meeting attendance resulting from the MEG funding.
Goal 1: We recently saw our first publication from this research (Suvorov et al., 2017). Further, this research was also highlighted by the journal and two authors, independent of our lab (Owens and Rennison, 2017, Evolutionary 2 ecology of opsin gene sequence, expression and repertoire, Molecular Ecology) The research demonstrated how opsins, the proteins in the eye of all animals including humans that detect color, have evolved. It included three graduate coauthors and one undergraduate student that was heavily mentored by the graduate students and Bybee.
Goal 2: As mentioned we changed this goal to focus on the phylogeny of a single genus. A phylogeny of Anax was presented at meetings and is approaching publication. Final analyses are currently being run for this manuscript and we anticipate submitting it in 2018. We have presented our findings at two national meetings (The Entomologicaly Society of America and the Dragonfly Society of America) and one international meeting (Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Symposium II, Uberlandia Brazil)
Goal 3: Although we have not yet conducted the In situ hybridization or qPCR we plan to in the future as we become more adept at rearing Anax in the lab. We will attempt to again rear these colonies during mid summer 2018. We’ve learned quite a bit about rearing Anax in the lab since our first efforts. With a only a bit more success we will have the sample sizes to carry out our proposed experiments.
Evaluation of the mentoring environment
I measure the success of the mentored environment on student success in terms of academic products (meeting attendance, grants, publications, etc.). Each student below has achieved at a high level, showing that the mentoring environment is working well. Further, something that is less measurable is the impact that this research has on aspects of the BYU student experience (spiritually strengthening, character building and service). Several of my students have gone onto serve mission, one even choosing a mission over a fellowship to graduate school. The research we do in our lab helps students confront touchy topics such as the relationship of science and religion. Specifically, students in my lab are constantly working in the field of Evolutionary Biology. As they work and see the evidence for evolution in the organisms they work with, at both the molecular and the anatomical levels, it is a natural way for them to consider how to reconcile their research with LDS doctrine. It is also an excellent chance for me as a mentor to discuss the neutrality of LDS doctrine towards evolution. Character building is one of the aspects that I think my research develops most in students. As they take on their own research project they are required to push if forward. This requires them to read, write and develop ownership of the project. Students are required to not only “own” the project in the lab, but also to “own” it on an national and international setting at meetings and even in print. It is fun to watch students develop from timid, uncertain scientists into actual scholars of the subject matter. The service portion is harder to measure however each of my students is part of a team and it is satisfying to see them each use their strengths to push each others’ projects forward.
List of students who participated & academic deliverables
In addition to the tree main goals listed above, there was a goal to include six total students in this research and produce some sort of academic outcome. We have exceeded this goal in every way.
Preston Arnold – Senior author on publication, 4 meeting presentations, now on a fellowship for MD/PhD program at Texas A&M
Becca Clement – manuscript in prep, 3 meeting presentations, now on a fellowship for a PhD at George Washington University studying insect populations genetics.
Samantha Smith – manuscript in prep, 3 meeting presentations, now on a Presidential Fellowship at UC-Riverside studying insect systematics.
Mitchel Young – Contributed to tools developed as part of objective 3. Worked on a complimentary project involving color evolution across Odonata. Has presented preliminary results at one meeting, his poster won first prize.
Kyle Warren – Contributed to tools developed as part of objective 3. Worked on a complimentary project involving color evolution across Odonata. Has presented preliminary results at one meeting, his poster won first prize.
Description of the results/findings of the project
For all citations below, U = Undergraduate, g = Gradaute student and p = Postdoc co-authors mentored at least in part in the Bybee lab.
g Suvorov, A., N.O. Jensen U, M.S. Fujimoto G, P. Bodily, H.M. Cahill Wightman G, C.R. Sharkey
P, T.H. Ogden, M.J. Clement, S.M. Bybee. 2017. Opsins have evolved under the permanent heterozygote model: insights from phylotranscriptomics of Odonata. Molecular Ecology. 26(5): 1306-1322. doi: 10.1111/mec.13884
PBüsse, S., S. Heckmann, T. Hornschemeyer, S.M. Bybee. 2017. The phylogenetic relevance of thoracic musculature: a case study including a description of the thorax anatomy of Zygoptera (Insecta: Odonata) larvae. Systematic Entomology. 42: 11-14
P Büsse, S., S.M. Bybee. 2017. Nymph and Naiad – a response to the replies to Bybee et al. and the results of a survey within the entomological community. Systematic Entomology. 10.1111/syen.12246
Bybee, S.M., A. Córdoba-Aguilar, M.C. Duryea, R. Futahashi, B. Hansson, M.O. Lorenzo-Carballa, R. Schilder, R. Stoks, A. SuvorovG, E. Svensson, J. Swaegers, Y. Takahashi, P.C. Watts, M. Wellenreuther. 2016. Odonates as a bridge between ecology and evolutionary genomics. Frontiers in Zoology, 13:46 DOI 10.1186/s12983-016-0176- 7
UArnold, P.R., N.P. Lord P, A.N. SmithG, S.M. Bybee. 2016. The effects of non-ideal temperature regimes on RNA quality from samples stored in RNAlater: an attempt to replicate field conditions. Journal of Analytical and Molecular Techniques. 2(1): 8
Bybee, S.M., Q. Hansen, S. BuesseP, H. WightmanG, M.A. Branham. 2015. For consistency’s sake: the precise use of larva, nymph and naiad within Insecta. Systematic Entomology. 40(4): 667-670
UClement, R.A., UP. Arnold, S.M. Bybee. (Nov. 2017) Discovering relationships and geographic barriers in Anax dragonflies. Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Denver, CO.
USmith, S., J.P. Drury, R. Guillermo-Ferreira, G. Grether, M. Sanchez Herrera, J. Ware, S.M. Bybee. (Nov 2017) Solving the rubyspot mystery, a phylogeny of Hetaerina and Mnesarete (Odonata: Calopterygidae). Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Denver, CO.
gErickson, R.J., S.M. Bybee. (Nov. 2017) Compiling the Odonate Phylogeny to assess ancestral relationships. Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Denver, CO.
GPacheco, Y.M., UM.T. Young, UJ.K. Warren, UM.M. Layne, UL.T. Marx, GA. Suvorov, J.P. Renoult, J. Dale, S.M. Bybee. (Nov. 2017) Color Diversification in Odonata. Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Denver CO.
USmith, S., J.P. Drury, R. Guillermo-Ferreira, G. Grether, M. Sanchez Herrera, J. Ware, S.M. Bybee. (June 2017) Rubyspot phylogeny, monophyly and wing evolution of Hetaerina and Mnesarete (Odonata: Calopterygidae). Behavioral Ecology and Conservation Symposium II, Uberlandia Brazil
UClement, R., UP. Arnold, S.M. Bybee. (July 2016). Phylogeny of Anax, a preliminary attempt. Dragonfly Society of America Meetings, Provo, UT.
P Sharkey, C., S.M. Bybee. (July 2016). Shedding light on dragonfly vision. Dragonfly Society of America Meetings, Provo, UT.
USmith, S. UClement, R., S.M.
Bybee. (July 2016). Discovering the phylogeny of rubyspot damselflies. Dragonfly Society of America Meetings, Provo, UT. Bybee, S.M. (July 2016) Odonata Genomics: Why it matters. Dragonfly Society of America Meetings, Provo, UT.
GSuvorov, A., C.R. Sharkey P, S.M. Bybee. 2016. Opsin and color evolution among the most molecularly complex terrestrial visual system (Odonata). International Congress of Entomology, Symposium: Nextgeneration ecology, morphology & genomics: What can we learn about the evolution of odonata? Orlando Florida.
PSharkey, C.R., N.W. Roberts, J.C. Partridge, S.M. Bybee. (Nov. 2015) Exploring the vision of larval odonates. International Congress of Odonataology, La Plata, Argentina.
U Arnold, P., T. King U, S.M. Bybee. (Nov. 2015) Phylogeny of Anax with special attention to the common green darner (Anax junius). Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Minneapolis, MN.
UKing, T., P. Arnold U, Y. PachecoU, P. Pessacq, S.M. Bybee. (Nov. 2015) A population-level study of Cyanallagma (Odonata: Coenagrionidae) in Patagonia utilizing EPIC DNA sequence markers. Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America, Minneapolis, MN.
Description of how the budget was spent
The funding provided by ORCA was combined with NSF funds to support lab supplies, travel, and student salaries. My lab is deeply grateful for this support.