Emeritus Academy Lecture Series

David Denlinger, Professor Emeritus
How to Survive in Antarctica: Lessons from an Insect
David Denlinger
Department of Entomology

"How to Survive in Antarctica: Lessons from an Insect"

October 3, 2018
4-5 p.m.
Grand Lounge, Faculty Club

Although insects are among the dominant forms of life on most continents, only one insect, a wingless midge, Belgica antarctica, is endemic to Antarctica.   The midge is locally abundant but has a patchy distribution along the Antarctic Peninsula.  This insect has a remarkable set of adaptations allowing it to survive not only low temperatures, but also desiccation, UV radiation, and extremes of salinity and pH.  This presentation will highlight the environment of the midge and the field site at Palmer Station and discuss our experimental results demonstrating physiological and molecular adaptations used by the midge to survive in this hostile environment.  Our recent sequencing project indicates that this midge has the smallest genome yet described for an insect and opens new doors for discovery of mechanisms used by animals to survive in a harsh, cold environment.