Symbiotic interactions between organisms enable the exploitation of new ecological niches and can promote diversification. Prominent examples of symbiotic interactions include organelles (i.e. mitochondria and plastids) in eukaryotes and intracellular bacteria that persist in an obligate co-evolutionary relationship with specific insect host lineages. Hawaiian planthoppers provide a unique opportunity to study evolution, symbiosis, subterranean biodiversity, and island biogeography. Our research combines molecular techniques, experimental approaches, and bioinformatic tools to investigate how co-evolutionary interactions between host and intracellular symbiont drives genomic and functional evolution of symbioses, and how this contributes to generating and maintaining biodiversity.
The Chong Lab is in the School of Life Sciences (formerly Departments of Biology, Botany, and Microbiology) at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Learn more about our research or contact us.