Gruppe Foitzik

Keywords: Host-parasite coevolution, Social parasites, Animal personality, Division of labor, Inbreeding, Sexual selection, Sociobiology, Chemical ecology, Population genetics, Genomic.


Our group is interested in the evolution of animal behavior taking an integrative approach from ecology over chemical ecology to genetics. We focus on ants as model organisms as behaviors in these social animals are selected on different levels, and they allow studying cooperation and conflict in their societies.

Currently, we focus on the following research questions:

  • How do insect societies defend themselves against parasites?
  • Which traits are under selection in host-parasite coevolution?
  • Which fitness advantages have different behavioral types in ants and how do they relate to division of labor?
  • What is the evolutionary importance of variance in behavior and other traits?
  • Which genes underly the evolution of slavemaking behavior in ants?
  • How can ant societies buffer the costs of inbreeding or parasitic infection?
  • How did slave rebellion evolve?


Group leader

PhD student

Master student

  • Sara Beros