Dr. Dan-Dan Zhang
Zoologisches Institut und Museum
Allgemeine und Systematische Zoologie
Loitzer Str. 26
I am interested in chemosensation, one of the most ancient senses across a wide range of taxa, essential for behaviors such as mate search, foraging, oviposition site location and predator avoidance. My research has been focused on chemosensory receptor genes that mediate olfaction and gustation in insects, including odorant receptor, ionotropic receptor and gustatory receptor genes.
The molecular basis underlying chemosensation in arthropods beyond insects remains largely unexplored. In the DFG funded project, I investigate candidate chemosensory receptor genes in representative spider species based on transcriptomic and genomic annotation and functional characterization of the genes. The work will help resolving the evolutionary history of chemosensory receptor genes across arthropods. I also perform electrophysiological recordings to characterize the sensilla that respond to pheromones and other important environmental cues, in order to build up a spatial map of functional chemosensory receptors on the appendages of spiders.