About me

I am a behavioural ecologist, interested in species interactions, social insects, and evolutionary questions in general.

In my current research project, I investigate the phylogeographic history and the evolution of cooperative communication in the mutualistic association between ants and lycaenid butterflies (Iridomyrmex spp. and Jalmenus spp.). I use next-generation sequencing (ddRADseq) to elucidate the population genetics of both the butterflies and ther attendant ants.

For my Ph.D. thesis, I worked on risk evaluation and decision making in the slave-making ant Protomognathus americanus. I combined detailed behavioural observations with chemical analyses, using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Additionally, I co-supervised two diploma student projects on dominance hierarchies in Temnothorax ants and their recently discovered "slave rebellion" behaviour.
Furthermore, I assisted in field work on army ants and their myrmecophiles in the rainforests of Costa Rica and Malaysia.

When I'm not studying ants, I like to spend my time travelling and photographing.