Seminar: The Role of Diptera in Plant- Pollination in the Afrotropical Region

Event Date
Tuesday, 18 December 2018 - 2:00pm
Event Info

Seminar: The role of Diptera in plant- pollination in the Afrotropical Region

Presenter: Dr. Kurt Jordaens, Head, Entomology Section Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA, Belgium)

Time: 14:00-15:00 hour

Short profile of the presenter:

Dr. Kurt Jordaens began his career as a malacologist in 1993 at the University of Antwerp (Belgium). In 2012 he became the work leader in the Entomology Section of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA, Belgium). Kurt’s research interests are systematics, taxonomy, phylogeny and ecology of the dipteran family Syrphidae (hover flies or flowerflies) of the Afrotropical Region. He thereby combines morphological (external and genital morphology, stacking photography) and molecular techniques (DNA barcoding and sequencing, whole mitochondrial DNA sequencing). Ultimately, one of his major aims is to improve identification keys for the family, and for the genera, of the Afrotropical Region and to make the keys publically available. This will allow an easier and more accurate identification of the hover flies of the Afrotropical Region and will allow to study the ecology of the various species, of which many are significant pollinators of a large number of fruits and vegetables. Kurt has extensive field experience in Africa and organizes training courses in entomology for young and emerging African entomologists.


An emerging field in the management and conservation of biodiversity is the study of plant-pollinator networks. Moreover, pollination is a key ecosystem service which sustains significant food production. Understanding plant-pollinator interactions is thus critical, especially in the face of climate change. Surprisingly, most of the efforts to understand plant-pollinator networks has been dedicated to well-known insect groups, such as Hymenoptera (bees and wasps), Lepidoptera (butterflies) and Coleoptera (beetles), whereas the role of Diptera in these networks is strongly most neglected especially in the Afrotropical Region. As a result, there is no baseline to describe the current status of the role of Diptera in plant-pollinator networks. One of the major reasons for a lack of data of Diptera in plant-pollinator networks is a poor taxonomy of the families involved. In this talk, I will use the family Syrphidae (hover flies or flowerflies) as an example to highlight the shortcomings in the taxonomy of Afrotropical Diptera and how networking, training and increased efforts in joint taxonomic research with African partners may overcome these caveats and may lead to a better appreciation in the role of Diptera in plant-pollinator networks.

Event Venue
BOT/ZOO Lecture Theatre, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University
Category by Unit
College of Natural Sciences
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