Flight is one of the most important factors allowing insects to be as ecologically vital and biodiverse as they are, and insect flight is one of the most important evolutionary developments to our knowledge (relationships between pollinators and angiosperms, parasite vectors and humans etc.). Wingbeat frequency is an interesting characteristic of flight in flying insects, but the relationship between phylogeny, body mass, and wingbeat frequency is not well studied despite its importance and potential implications across a range of subjects, from physiology across through to evolution and ecology (though see Byrne et al., 1988).

I’ll be measuring wingbeat frequency across a range of insect species by using a high speed camera. I can then measure wing area and body mass to calculate wing loading. Using these data, I can then explore the relationship between wingbeat frequency and body mass, factoring in phylogeny as a variable.

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