Technology service platforms
The technology service platforms - specifically the Bielefeld Paternity and Metabolomic Platforms and the Münster Endocrinology Platform - will play a central role in the proposed CRC. They will deliver essential genetic, metabolomic and endocrinological data in support of all but two of our empirical projects. Each of the platforms will be headed by highly experienced researchers with appropriate skills and knowledge to drive diverse but related projects to completion. Additionally, the platforms will make an important contribution towards the harmonisation of data generation across the CRC, which will maximise comparability, strengthen connections among projects, and improve overall research integrity.
The Bielefeld Paternity Platform, will generate microsatellite and molecular sexing datasets that are essential for the successful completion of five different projects within the CRC. Our laboratory has several decades of collective experience in the generation of large and high quality microsatellite datasets, as well as in sexing reactions. Genotyping protocols have already been established and succesfully applied to the majority of the proposed study organisms. In addition to facilitating all aspects of genetic data collection, analysis and publication, the Bielefeld Paternity Platform will also provide more specialist advice where required, for instance in the analysis of inbreeding from high throughput sequencing data.
The Bielefeld Metabolomics Platform, will use cutting edge approaches such as gas chromatographgy mass spectrometry (GCMS) to generate chemical data, using state of the art technology. This is essential for quantifying phenotypic differences among individuals as well as for analysing the influence of specific chemical compounds on interactions between organisms and their social or ecological niches. Due to the diversity of study species, ranging from aquatic to terrestrial organisms and from insects to vertebrates, the Bielefeld Metabolomics Platform will also play an important role in developing new protocols for chemical data acquisition and analysis.
The third and final platform, the Münster Endocrionology Platform, will use competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and related approaches to determine plasma, saliva and faecal concentrations of key hormones including cortisol, corticosterone, testosterone and progesterone. This will crucially allow five different projects to investigate the underlying neuroendocrine mechanisms and consequences of niche choice, conformance and construction.