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SYMBionts in Insect Societies: reproductive manipulation and the fitness effects of Wolbachia in leaf-cutting ants

SYMBionts in Insect Societies: reproductive manipulation and the fitness effects of Wolbachia in leaf-cutting ants

Objective

Social insects include some of the most ecologically dominant species in both temperate and tropical areas, and represent a major evolutionary transition in the development of complexity. Insect societies are consequently of considerable interest for biologists and the general public. One emergent field of special interest is the interaction between social insects and their parasites both because of the role these are likely to have played in the evolution of sociality in insects and the parallels with the challenges presented to our own societies by disease. However, most studies of social insect parasites have been limited to those that cause obvious symptoms of infection, whereas many are more cryptic. These include the ubiquitous bacterial parasite Wolbachia which has been the subject of an explosion of research in non-social insects in recent years. This project will use leaf-cutting ants as a model system to examine for the first time experimentally the fitness effects of Wolbachia infections in social insects. It will involve interdisciplinary collaboration and advanced training in key scientific skills (ecology and population genetics) that my molecular genetic PhD did not include. The fellowship will greatly enhance my potential for achieving a position of professional maturity and independence as a broadly trained biologist.
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Coordinator

UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS

Address

Woodhouse Lane
Ls2 9jt Leeds

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 181 350,76

Administrative Contact

William Hughes (Dr.)

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 236467

Status

Grant agreement terminated

  • Start date

    1 March 2009

  • End date

    31 March 2010

Funded under:

FP7-PEOPLE

  • Overall budget:

    € 181 350,76

  • EU contribution

    € 181 350,76

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS

United Kingdom