Stoldt, Marah

Marah Stoldt
Scientific Assistent

Curriculum Vitae


2018 – present PhD student, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
2015 – 2018 M.Sc. in Applied Bioinformatics, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
2012 – 2015 B.Sc. in Molecular Biology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz



2019 6th Central European Meeting of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) in Klosterneuburg, Austria; Oral presentation “Ant behaviour and brain gene expression of defending hosts depend on the ecological success of the intruding parasite”
2018 18th Congress of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI) in Guarujá, Brazil; Poster “Learning genes identified in comparative brain transcriptome analysis of scouting and tandem-running in Temnothorax ants”



2018 Travel grant from the Equal Opportunity Commissioner of the University of Mainz for the attendance at the 18th International IUSSI conference in Guarujá, Brazil
2018 Research grant from the E.N. Huyck Preserve to investigate the molecular basis of behavior in Temnothorax longispinosus ants

Research Interests

Eusociality; Social insects; Parasites; Social parasites; Slave-making ants; Co-evolutionary arms race; Transcriptomic basis of behavior; Division of labor

My Ph.D. project mostly focuses on the role of gene expression in adaptive processes in ants of the genus Temnothorax. Especially fascinating about this genus is that it has multiple independent origins of slave-making behavior, a socially parasitic behavior, where one species enslaves another closely related species. How this behavior has evolved, how slave-making ants and their host differ and how they co-evolve on a molecular level is one of my main research interests.

Additionally, I am interested in the transcriptomic basis of behavior in general, especially how ants of the genus Temnothorax manage to divide work across workers. Previous work in our group has shown that the gene Vitellogenin-like A is a key driver of division of labor in Temnothorax longispinosus, regulating the responsiveness to brood cues of young workers which thus perform tasks like brood care (see Kohlmeier et al. 2018). A part of my research focuses on the network of genes expressed in the brain that is associated with the switch in behavior when Vg-like A is down-regulated in the fatbody. Moreover, I plan to investigate the epigenetic mechanisms underlying temporal polyethism in Temnothorax longispinosus.



Scharf, I., Stoldt, M., Libbrecht, R., Höpfner, A.L., Jongepier, E., Kever, M., Foitzik, S. Social isolation causes downregulation of immune and stress response genes and behavioural changes in a social insect. Molecular Ecology, in press.

Negroni, M.A; Stoldt, M., Oster, M., Rupp, A-S., Feldmeyer, B. Foitzik, S. Social organisation and the evolution of life-history traits in two queen morphs of the ant Temnothorax rugatulus. Journal of Experimental Biology, in press.

Stoldt, M., Klein, L., Beros S., Butter, F., Jongepier, E., Feldmeyer B., Foitzik, S. Parasite presence induces gene expression changes in an ant host and their function in immunity and longevity. Genes, in press.

Korb, J., Meusemann, K., Aumer, D., Bernadou, A., Elsner, D., Feldmeyer, B., Foitzik, S., Heinze, J., Libbrecht, R., Lin, S., Majoe, M., Kuhn M.M., Nehring, V., Negroni, M., Paxton, R.J., Séguret, A.C., Stoldt, M., Flatt T., & So-Long consortium. Comparative transcriptomic analysis of the mechanisms underpinning ageing and fecundity in social insects. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, in press.

Negroni, M.A., Macit, M.N., Stoldt, M., Feldmeyer, B. Foitzik, S. Molecular regulation of lifespan extension in fertile ant workers. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, in press.

Gstöttl C, Stoldt M, Jongepier E, Bornberg-Bauer E, Feldmeyer B, Heinze H, Foitzik S. (2020) Comparative analyses of caste, sex and developmental stage-specific transcriptomes in two Temnothorax Ecology and Evolution, 10:4193–4203

Austin Alleman, Marah Stoldt, Barbara Feldmeyer, Susanne Foitzik (in press). Tandem‐Running and Scouting Behavior are Characterized by Up‐Regulation of Learning and Memory Formation Genes within the Ant Brain. Molecular Ecology.

Rajbir Kaur, Marah Stoldt, Evelien Jongepier, Barbara Feldmeyer, Florian Menzel, Erich Bornberg-Bauer, Susanne Foitzik (2019). Ant behaviour and brain gene expression of defending hosts depend on the ecological success of the intruding social parasite. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 374 (1769): 20180192.