In the context of the Cooperative Agreement, PI Nico Franz will train students and postdoctoral researchers in the systematics, morphology, evolution, biogeography, and natural history of weevils (Insecta: Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and other insect groups of economic relevance. Weevils in particular constitute a mega-diverse lineage of highly specialized plant feeding beetles estimated to include some 220,000 species worldwide. Because no more than a third of this diversity has so far been described, advancing a natural classification of weevils remains one of the greatest systematic challenges today. Moreover, hundreds or weevil species are among the world's most damaging pests of cultivated plants, whereas other species are used as bio-control agents of terrestrial and aquatic weeds. The great diversity and economic relevance of weevils stands in great disparity to the lack of students and early career scientists in North America who have been trained in the taxonomy of this critical group. The U.S. Agricultural Research Service has identified Dr. Franz as one of the few specialists working at a major public research university and capable of addressing the need to train students and postdoctoral researchers in the systematics of weevils and other relevant insect groups. Therefore Dr. Franz will use the resources to recruit and support young scientists who will join his research team and conduct ground-laying morphological and molecular systematic research on specific problem taxa. The trainees will receive practical as well as theoretical training using state-of-the-art resources for systematic and biodiversity informatics research.
|Effective start/end date||9/29/11 → 8/1/16|
- US Department of Agriculture (USDA): $110,000.00