A study led by the University of Turku has found that small, fiercely predatory damselflies catch and eat hundreds of thousands of insects during a single summer – in an area surrounding just a single pond. In terms of weight, this equates to a total prey mass of just under a kilo. Dragonflies mostly catch different kinds of midges, but also large numbers of other insects.
Keyword: Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku
A research group from the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku studies the diversity of parasitoid insects around the world. Parasitoid wasps (Hymenoptera) are one of the most species rich animal taxa on Earth, but their tropical diversity is still poorly known. In the latest study, the group discovered 15 new, sizeable species that parasitise spiders in the lowland rainforests of the Amazon and the cloud forests of the Andes.
Scientists at the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku have studied the diversity of tropical parasitoid wasps for years. Parasitoid wasps are one of the most species rich animal taxa on Earth, but their tropical diversity is still poorly known. Recently, the research group sampled Afrotropical rhyssine wasps, which are among the largest wasps. Scientists from three countries and research institutes participated in the research which was led by the University of Turku research group.
New Information on Tropical Parasitoid Insects Revealed — Investigating the Species Vital for Environmental Protection
The diversity and ecology of African parasitoid wasps was studied for over a year during a project run by the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku. Parasitoid wasps are one of the animal groups that are the most rich in species. However, the tropical species are still very poorly known. Understanding the diversity of parasitoid wasps inhabiting rainforests is important, because tropical biodiversity is dwindling at an accelerating rate.
The staff of the Biodiversity Unit is teaching on the courses of the Department of Biology. The Biodiversity Unit is also supporting the teaching by offering a diverse range of infrastructure. Part of the teaching taking place at the Department of Biology is arranged at the field stations, natural history collections and Botanic Garden of the Biodiversity Unit. Several theses are completed yearly in the unit and we also offer students possibilities of practical training and project work.
Multidisciplinary research and teaching lie at the heart of the activities of the Biodiversity Unit. As well as these, the unit also focuses on public outreach.
We study biodiversity and disseminate knowledge of it both academically and outside the academic community.
In a new study, researchers at the University of Turku and the University of Helsinki identified the diet of the most common Finnish bat species. The diet of the bats included a considerable amount of various invertebrates, including ground dwelling beetles, gnats, mosquitoes, and a wealth of moths. The researchers were able to determine a total of over 500 different prey species from the approximately 1,200 bat droppings collected for the study.
Research at Biodiversity Unit focuses broadly on biodiversity and ecosystem functions and –services.
Mr Sakari Alhopuro, (Finnish honorary title of) lääkintöneuvos, has donated €1.5 million to the University of Turku for establishing three professorships. One of the professorships is focused on subarctic ecology, another one on the Archipelago Sea research, and the third on biodiversity.