Scale insects are often associated to fungus. Females secreting honeydew trigger sooty mold growth and harm the host-plant. Induced undesirable sooty mold on plants makes scale insects some of the most damaging phytophagous insects. For instance, Cryptococcus fagisuga, a felt scale insect living on beech trees is associated to a fungus called Neonectria coccinea that will grow from the holes created by the insect’s puncture hole from which it feeds. Ultimately, the mold growth becomes more lethal to the tree than the insect. This is so true that I remember my Master mentor telling me that beech trees have almost disappeared from Paris because of this species!
Sooty mold are also harmful to scale insects, as the female secreting honeydew are sessile and they would literally die in their own moldy poop. This is when ants comes into play as essential mutualistic animals: by profiting from scale insect honeydew droplets as a food source, ants naturally clean their secretive waste, preventing sooty mold growth.
In an extraordinary situation, a species of scale insects from the mealybug family (Pseudococcidae) has taken advantage of mold and developed a unique symbiosis with a fungus species. Orbuspedum machinator, a newly described species from bamboo twigs of Thailand, has legless females and uses hyphae of a fungus Capnodium species to make herself a roof. In exchange, the mealybug secretes honeydew and feed the fungus.
If you have read the Preprint , you know that I am trying to act and become 100% open access with my manuscripts. I made a list of the publications with links to the PDFs available online without a paywall (if the paper is open access or available in other websites) but there are still a few publications that require a subscription to the journal.
I thought it would be interesting to write about my “becoming open access” process as it seems that it will be tricky (but I am sure feasible) for a few reasons:
1- Which version of the manuscript is acceptable to make a preprint of when the manuscript has already been published?
Should I use the first submission version (but sometimes major changes have been done before the second submission)?
Can I make a preprint of the resubmission (without the publisher’s proofreading)?
Or can I make a preprint of the last version of the manuscript before they prepared the layout?
2- Are there any publishers that do not allow at all to have a preprint version of my work after I published it?
For instance, what does that mean??
Please don’t judge me for signing things I don’t understand, I was a naive Ph.D. student that wanted to have a publication (Okay you can judge me….)
This is an update that I just moved to Edinburgh in January 2017 to start a Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh. I will be working with Laura Ross on paternal genome elimination in scale insects and B chromosomes!
Today, all biologists use computers on a daily basis, produce and analyse data. A lot of us now have to learn programming (even just some bits of it).
I am not a computer scientist/engineer, and I am far from a bioinformatics person (yet), but I have started to discipline myself to make my published research as reproducible as possible and this is not only by depositing DNA sequence data to NCBI, but also analysis pipelines and command lines made available to the public on GitHub.
GitHub is a great public repository hosting service for publishing programming source code, but it can also be used to detail your analysis pipeline and code, and even create tutorials on softwares or pipelines for others.
As a biologist, to support my recent publication on scale insect phylogenetics, I created a GitHub repository that details all the steps and command lines in MrBayes and R analyses. This provides transparency to the reader and more rapid reproducibility.
Tip: If you are worried about your analysis pipeline or data being online during the manuscript review process, academic researchers can apply for free space for 5 private repositories. For more information, check here.
Nowadays, a lot of biologists will come to work in a multidisciplinary environment, and it implies learning new skills. In bioinformatics in particular, workshops are available but the internet is a great resource to learn skills by ourselves and GitHub can help both learning how a software works, but also making the details of informatics methods available to other biologists that are also learning how to use these softwares (from command lines for de novo assembly using Trinity or making a simple plot with R).
The 10th International Conference on Juvenile Hormone will be held at Tsukuba (not far from Tokyo) between June 9th and 13th.
This conference takes place every four years or so. The last one was in 2007 though, and this one was supposed to happen in 2011 in Japan but was cancelled because of the earthquake (Dr Minakuchi, pers. com.).
This will be my first conference outside the field of systematics/phylogeny/scale insects, in which I will present our preliminary results on scale insect sexual dimorphism linked with Juvenile Hormone.
Five big names in the field of JH will give plenary lectures: Xavier Belles, Marek Jindra, Reddy Palli, Alexander Raikhel and Lynn Riddiford.
Additionally, there are some exciting talks I am looking forward to, such as the action of JH in insect embryos (J.W. Truman), JH and aphid polyphenism (T. Miura) etc.. There seems to have quite a diverse range of study organisms as well, which is exciting!