2nd Borneo Expedition, May 2014

As scheduled, during the reporting period the two sampling expeditions on Borneo (KBFSC, Brunei) have been executed. In a course of the first expedition Prof. Davidson and Alexey Kopchinskiy have completed the following tasks:

  • located, marked, mapped and sampled 26 colonies of 12 putative COCY species (Figure 4);
  • collected buccal pellets from several most frequent COCY taxa;
  • constructed and installed ca 30 artificial nests in direct vicinity of COCY colonies (Figure 5).

The results of this expedition provide the framework for the fieldwork of the entire project (except its taxonomic tasks that require broad geographic sampling).

Artificial nests are expected to provide valuable samples for all project tasks: queen, larvae and door keeper individuals required for taxonomic and morphometric analyses; larvae and nest interior samples necessary for studies of COCY microbiomes; whole nest samples of workers required for the analysis of infraspecific morphometric polymorphism and for chemical investigations. The nests are expected to be available for sampling in March – May 2015.

Based on the review of COCY abundance and distribution of the colonies a model COCY taxon (putative species) has been selected for microbiomic and metabolomics investigations both requiring deep sampling. This role was assigned to a so-called YG (yellow goo) group that (i) forms abundant colonies; forages in the canopy of trees assessable for tree climbing in direct vicinity to the research station; (iii) performs autothysis.