Dalial Freitak



I joined TEAM::ANTZZ in June 2012 as a postdoctoral researcher to work on the immunity of the ant Formica exsecta. In general I am interested in the molecular mechanisms standing behind the phenotypic plasticity. Central argument has been made by West-Eberhard (2003), that for understanding the evolution we have first to understand phenotypes, including their development and their responsiveness to environment. How the environmental signals are perceived, how they are dealt with and how organisms are optimizing their fitness accordingly are the central questions intriguing me.

The main interest of my studies is the midgut mediated responses to the environmental stressors in the insects. I will use the immunocompetence as a “costly” trait, what is in trade-off with other life-history parameters. I will be studying the effects of different levels of inbreeding on the immunity and ROS resistance in the wild F. exsecta colonies around Tvärminne. Further on we will compare the immunity in the social and solitary insects and the trans-generational priming of specific defense mechanisms against various stressors and pathogens.

In cooperation with Prof. Johanna Mappes’s group in the University of Jyväskylä I will study the interaction between the color polymorphism in the Wood Tiger Moth Parasemia plantaginis and resistance to the parasites and predators. In addition we will examine the trans-generational transmission of specific immunity and defense against predators.