van de Kamp T., Schwermann A.H., dos Santos Rolo T., Losel P.D., Engler T., Etter W., Farago T., Gottlicher J., Heuveline V., Kopmann A., Mahler B., Mors T., Odar J., Rust J., Tan Jerome N., Vogelgesang M., Baumbach T., Krogmann L.

in Nature Communications, 9 (2018), 3325. DOI:10.1038/s41467-018-05654-y


© 2018, The Author(s). About 50% of all animal species are considered parasites. The linkage of species diversity to a parasitic lifestyle is especially evident in the insect order Hymenoptera. However, fossil evidence for host–parasitoid interactions is extremely rare, rendering hypotheses on the evolution of parasitism assumptive. Here, using high-throughput synchrotron X-ray microtomography, we examine 1510 phosphatized fly pupae from the Paleogene of France and identify 55 parasitation events by four wasp species, providing morphological and ecological data. All species developed as solitary endoparasitoids inside their hosts and exhibit different morphological adaptations for exploiting the same hosts in one habitat. Our results allow systematic and ecological placement of four distinct endoparasitoids in the Paleogene and highlight the need to investigate ecological data preserved in the fossil record.

Schmelzle S., Heethoff M., Heuveline V., Losel P., Becker J., Beckmann F., Schluenzen F., Hammel J.U., Kopmann A., Mexner W., Vogelgesang M., Jerome N.T., Betz O., Beutel R., Wipfler B., Blanke A., Harzsch S., Hornig M., Baumbach T., Van De Kamp T.

in Proceedings of SPIE – The International Society for Optical Engineering, 10391 (2017), 103910P. DOI:10.1117/12.2275959


© 2017 SPIE. Beamtime and resulting SRμCT data are a valuable resource for researchers of a broad scientific community in life sciences. Most research groups, however, are only interested in a specific organ and use only a fraction of their data. The rest of the data usually remains untapped. By using a new collaborative approach, the NOVA project (Network for Online Visualization and synergistic Analysis of tomographic data) aims to demonstrate, that more efficient use of the valuable beam time is possible by coordinated research on different organ systems. The biological partners in the project cover different scientific aspects and thus serve as model community for the collaborative approach. As proof of principle, different aspects of insect head morphology will be investigated (e.g., biomechanics of the mouthparts, and neurobiology with the topology of sensory areas). This effort is accomplished by development of advanced analysis tools for the ever-increasing quantity of tomographic datasets. In the preceding project ASTOR, we already successfully demonstrated considerable progress in semi-automatic segmentation and classification of internal structures. Further improvement of these methods is essential for an efficient use of beam time and will be refined in the current NOVAproject. Significant enhancements are also planned at PETRA III beamline p05 to provide all possible contrast modalities in x-ray imaging optimized to biological samples, on the reconstruction algorithms, and the tools for subsequent analyses and management of the data. All improvements made on key technologies within this project will in the long-term be equally beneficial for all users of tomography instrumentations.