OIST Mini Symposium "Phylogeny and Classification of Termites"
Termites are a small insect order including about 3000 described species. However, their importance in tropical and substropical ecosystems is far higher than that suggested by their modest diversity. Termites are one of the main decomposers of organic matter in tropical terrestrial ecosystems, where they make up about one fourth of the animal biomass. Recently, comprehensive phylogenetic trees have shed light on the timing and the mechanisms that led termites to become the dominant decomposers in the terrestrial tropics. These phylogenetic trees have also revealed that several taxonomic groups are not monophyletic, pointing to the need of a nomenclatural revision of higher rank termite taxonomic names. This mini-symposium will allow the leading researchers on termite phylogeny and evolution to present their latest results. It will help determining the gaps in our understanding, and design approaches to fill them. In particular, this mini-symposium will provide a platform for researchers to determine the necessary steps to take to create a new termite classification, that takes into account phylogenetic evidences.
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