|seit April 2020||Continuing remainder of the Doctoral Candidature at JGU Mainz|
|Okt. 2018 - März 2020||Doctoral candidate at the University of Freiburg|
|Juli 2017 - Mai 2018||Research assistant with UC-Davis (Coupled Nature and Human Systems Project in Kerala, India)|
|Jan. 2017 - März 2017||Research Volunteer, MacacaNemestrina Project, Malaysia|
|2016 - 2017||MSc. University of Melbourne (Zoology)|
|2014 - 2016||BSc. Ramnarain Ruia College Mumbai (Zoology)|
I am generally interested in sociality and how group-living introduces new challenges to fitness while solving many hassles that solitary living individuals face. Through field studies made during my MSc in Australia and then as a field assistant on projects in Malaysia and India, I tried to help explore such facets in ants and two species of macaques. Understanding the evolution of and causes for interesting behaviour such as co-operation, signaling, defense etc., especially marrying cutting-edge molecular analyses with behavioural experiments or field observations is something I wish to do in the long term.
Reversal of the fecundity/longevity trade-off across social transitioning in ants
Co-advised by Dr. Volker Nehring, Prof. Dr. Susanne Foitzik and Dr. Romain Libbrecht
The quest to understand ageing is not new. It has gripped the imaginations of the alchemists trying to brew immortality potions and explorers looking for the fountain of youth. Every individual undergoes regular wear and tear of the body, which must be repaired. Additionally, reproduction, which ensures that genes pass on to the next generation, is a costly affair. This cost must be borne by individuals and could be a cause for senescence and a shorter lifespan. Social insects like ants are a novelty because they form colonies containing reproductive members, usually a single queen, and workers that do not or cannot reproduce.
Yet it is the reproducing queens that live the longest compared to workers. And what about the workers? Could they reverse or suspend ageing if they too became fecund? How closely intertwined are the pathways affecting ageing, fertility and sociality? To address some of these questions, I will use a suite of experimental manipulations and transcriptomic analyses to compare the workers of around 15 species of ants to determine if those capable of reproduction are also the ones that live longer.
Freelance, C. B., Majoe, M., Tierney, S. M., and Elgar, M. A. (2018) Antennal asymmetry is not associated with social behaviour in Australian Hymenoptera. Austral Entomology, https://doi.org/10.1111/aen.12368.