Social insects – ants, bees, wasps, and termites – provide key ecosystem services (e.g., pollination, seed dispersal, soil turnover) to natural and anthropogenically-driven ecosystems. Consequently, understanding their biology is a key focus of ecologists and evolutionary biologists.
In addition, their unique social lifestyle makes them an excellent system in which to investigate host-parasite interactions. We focus on understanding the epidemiology, evolution of virulence, and resistance mechanisms of social-insect/parasite interactions, mainly in bees (bumblebees and honeybees) and ants.
We also work on understanding the basic biology of bumblebees and other social insects, which is still surprisingly unknown, despite decades of study. There are always ongoing and potential research projects available to PhD students, so for further information, please contact me.