Ecology & evolution in ants
We explore several avenues of enquiry, including the population ecology and social evolution of ants, the interaction between ants and their nest commensals such as fungi and bacteria in the nest mounds, and the expression of social conflicts at the individual, and genetic level. Our main study object is the mound-building ant Formica exsecta (pictured). We have extensive data on colony demographics, colony genetic structure, and dispersal behavior across 25 years. The full genome has now been sequenced for this ant, and we use the ecologial data in combination with genomic information to better understand adaptive evolution and the process of social interactions within colonies.