Hidden helpers: symbiotic partnerships between microbes and insects
Dr Ailsa McLean talk about the hidden partnerships between microbes and insects
Microbes are everywhere in nature: all animals interact with them constantly. Some interactions are negative, such as with pathogens that cause disease, but we now understand that many microbes are in fact beneficial to animals.
In insects, close and ongoing relationships with microbes are particularly intricate and important. For example, some insects rely on microbes to defend them against lethal attack by pathogens or parasites. My research is focused on these defensive relationships. Why do some insects carry protective microbes? Why don’t all insects have them? And what are the costs and benefits of forming these associations?
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