|PhD Student; Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz
|10/2018 - 10/2020
M.Sc. in Biology; Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz
Thesis: “The influence of tapeworm infection on social behavior in the ant Temnothorax nylanderi”
|10/2014 - 10/2018
B.Sc. in Biology; Johannes Gutenberg-University, Mainz
Thesis: “The effect of tapeworm infection on metabolic rate, behavior and fatty acid composition in the ant Temnothorax nylanderi”
I have a keen interest in the evolution of group-living insects, their life history traits and the underlying molecular mechanisms of these traits. To me, the complexity of social insect societies is fascinating, and I aim to shed light upon some of these mechanisms from an evolutionary point of view.
In nature, most living organisms are confronted with a trade-off between longevity and fecundity. Social insects somehow are able to overcome this trade-off as the queen within social insect colonies is not only the most fertile individual, but also the most long- lived, while the sterile workers in comparison live shorter. This phenomenon leads to many questions on longevity, ageing, fecundity and sociality. Which physiological, phenotypical and genetic factors affect survival and fecundity within social insect colonies? Is there a link between sociality, ageing and fecundity in social insects? How does age affect gene expression? Is there a difference in gene expression between reproductive and non-reproductive individuals?
The aim of my PhD is to investigate the molecular and genetic basis of ageing in an evolutionary context. To address these questions, I will use experimental manipulations followed by gene expression analyses in several different ant species including Oocereaea biroi and Temnothorax rugatulus.
Beros, S., Lenhart, A., Scharf, I., Negroni, M.N., Menzel, F., Foitzik, S. Extreme lifespan extension in tapeworm-infected ant workers. Royal Society Open Science, in press