SEMINARIO del Prof. Jürgen Heinze 27/03/2017
AVVISO DI SEMINARIO:
27 MARZO 2017 - Ore 15.30
CENTRO S. ELISABETTA (CAMPUS, UNIVERSITA’ DI PARMA)
SEMINARIO del Prof. Jürgen Heinze
LS Zoologie / Evolutionsbiologie, Universität Regensburg (Germany)
The queens, the workers, and the grim reaper: aging and reproduction in social insects
Why organisms age and die and why they do so at very different paces are still major puzzles in evolutionary biology. Perennial social insects (honeybees, ants, termites) provide suitable systems to tackle this fundamental problem. In particular, ants are characterized by the extraordinarily long lifespan of their reproductive females (queens), which may live tens or hundreds of times longer than non-social insects of similar body size. Furthermore, while many animals show the well-known trade- off between longevity and reproductive success, highly fertile ant queens by far outlive their non- reproductive nestmates.
In my talk I will summarize recent findings from our studies on Cardiocondyla ants, which indicate that both mating and egg laying prolong queen life span. Furthermore, our studies show that individual life span is greatly affected by the queen’s social environment without any changes in external mortality risks. The genome of Cardiocondyla obscurior has recently been fully sequenced and we currently use functional genomics and bioinformatics to disentangle the genomic interrelations between reproduction and senescence in social evolution.