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Clare Lab Research

The impact of landscape alterations on species interactions

How do communities partition the available resources and how do these interactions vary in time and space and with changes in the environment?

We use a variety of techniques to track food webs in both tropical and temperate systems using high-throughput sequencing technologies. We have constructed and compared food webs among frugivores, insectivores, parasites and pollinators in both temperate and tropical environments.

We first incorporation DNA into molecular networks here and in doing so found a new form of hunting in nectar bats here and a new form of anti-predator defense and acoustic camouflage here.

In South East Asia we have looked at the response of bats to fragmentation here and here and we have used leech blood meals to compare mammal diversity here. In the fragmented Brazilian Atlantic Forests we have looked at flexibility of bat diets here and the response of microbiome to forest fragmentation here. In Central America we documented the impact of El Ninio on seed dispersal here and individual insect specializations here.

BIOSCAN & BIOSCAN CANADA

The Clare lab is pleased to join BIOSCAN, a seven-year, $180 million global research program to revolutionize our understanding of biodiversity and our capacity to manage it. Involving scientists, research organizations, and citizens, BIOSCAN will explore three major research themes: Species Discovery, Species Interactions, Species Dynamics.

For more information on BIOSCAN and iBOL visit: ibol.org

BIOSCAN and the Clare lab have received support from Genome Canada and the Transformation 2020 awards. For more information see press release here. To see our preliminary work on symbiomes inspired by BIOSCAN see papers on solitary bees here and here, and on batflies and their microbial parasites here.

Developing New Environmental DNA Technologies

From extracting eDNA from the air to using leeches and dung beetles to collect eDNA and sequencing DNA in a jungle we love using DNA and technologies in new ways. In the Clare lab we are happy to try some crazy ideas to solve problems.... because they just might work!

To hear our work sucking DNA out of the sky listen to the interview on Genetics Unzipped and Quirks and Quarks

To hear an interview on our work try Science Friday or Short Wave on NPR

To hear an interview on eDNA on radio Australia's Future Tense

For a french language TV documentary see coverage on Découverte

To see an interview about our work with airborne eDNA on tv try CTV

To see a short TV news clip see here

Click here to see TV coverage in Mandarin or Cantonese or radio coverage in German

To hear an interview about sucking mole rat DNA out of the air try BYU radio

To hear an interview about eDNA try the Naked Scientist podcast (starts half way in)

To hear an interview in french (translated) try Radio Canada - Les Annees Lumiere

To read about leeches as a mammal sampling method see here

To read about dung beetles as a biodiversity sampler see here

See a short video about our work from SciShow

Another video report (not by us) can be found here

Molecular Dietary Analysis

The Clare lab were among the first to use DNA and metabarcoding to perform dietary analysis. We developed many of the early techniques and we have continued to refine these over the last 15 years. We have analyzed the diet of insects, small mammals, reptiles, birds, spiders and even carnivorous plants. Most of our work has been on bats and their insect, fruit and pollen diet.

Our first ever paper on the topic is here

Our recent paper on marine foraging bats and their exposure to mercury is here

An analysis of diet in a lemur community can be found here

An analysis of foraging in aquatic invertebrates can be found here

Some urban ecology of fruit bats can be found here