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Interaction between the chemical compounds emitted from the carcass and synanthropic insects behaviour
My research can be divided into a series of three experiments. Firstly I am interested in what chemical compounds are emitted from the various stages of a decomposing carcass. The gaseous compounds are collected by a carbotrap connected to a sampling pump and analysed by GC/MS. Secondly, what are the key compound(s) that attract flies to a decomposing carcass. The box design is capable of collecting gases and insects and a comparison will be made of the collected data. A modification of this experiment will be to determine at what stage of the decomposing process and again what chemical compounds attract beetles to the carcass . A Y-Tube experiment will be conducted presenting different chemical compounds to both flies and beetles. Finally, I would like to find out how these compounds affect the neural activity of flies and determine which neuron or cells are responsible for detecting odour from a carcass. These experiments will help answer some of the basic processes that attract insects to decomposing carcasses.
The importance of this research is to understand what chemical compounds are emitted from a carcass, and determine if these chemicals change during the decomposition process. If odour changes are predicable then these odours should also be able to help determine a post-mortem interval.