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Why do insects die at high temperatures? The physiological underpinnings of insect heat tolerance and how to measure it

PhD defence, Friday 15 October 2021. Lisa Bjerregaard Jørgensen.

2021.10.15 | Sunitha Satkunam

Lisa Bjerregaard Jørgensen

During her PhD studies, Lisa Bjerregaard Jørgensen researched how to characterize insect heat tolerance along with the dysfunction of physiological systems underlying heat death in insects. Using species of fruit flies with different levels of heat tolerance Lisa Bjerregaard Jørgensen studied how a simple exponential relation exists between temperature and the time until heat death and used this to reconcile methods of measuring heat tolerance. The physiological failure behind heat death in insects is unclear but, in this PhD, altered mitochondrial function (powerhouse of the cell) at high temperatures was examined as a candidate mechanism along with a breakdown of nervous function in the fruit fly brain. These findings contribute to the understanding of how to measure heat tolerance and the physiology behind heat death in insects.

The PhD study was completed at Department of Biology, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University.

This summary was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Friday 15 October at 13:00
Place: Building 1531, room119, AUD D2, Ny Munkegade 116, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C
Title of PhD thesis: The comparative physiology of Drosophila heat tolerance: Methods of assessment and physiological mechanisms
Contact information: Lisa Bjerregaard Jørgensen, e-mail: lbj@bio.au.dk, tel.: +45 23666506
Members of the assessment committee:
Professor Patricia Schulte, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Canada
CNRS Researcher Sylvain Pincebourde, Insect Biology Research Institute, University of Tours, France
Associate Professor Mark Bayley (chairman), Department of Biology, Aarhus University, Denmark
Main supervisor:
Professor Johannes Overgaard, Department of Biology, Aarhus University, Denmark
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.

The PhD thesis is available for reading at the Graduate School of Natural Sciences/GSNS,
Katrinebjergvej 89F, building 5132, 8200 Aarhus N.

PhD defence
16882 / i43