PhD student (2007-2012)

Current affiliation:

Postdoctoral researcher
Animal Ecology I
University Bayreuth
D-95440 Bayreuth
e-mail: simon.tragust (AT)


Functional aspects of collective immunity in ants

Aim of my PhD-thesis was to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms leading to collective disease resistance in the ant Lasius neglectus against the fungal pathogen Metarhizium anisopliae. I combined behavioural, physiological and chemical analyses to study both the individual and group level. My main focus was hygienic brood care, i.e. the removal of fungal spores from contaminated larvae or pupae, or the removal of the whole brood item from the ant colony.

Interplay between endo- and ectoparasitic fungal infections in ants

During my PhD I was also interested in a newly formed host-parasite system between Laboulbenia formicarum, an ectoparasitic fungus, and the ant Lasius neglectus. I compared different populations for their infestation loads and tried to assess the impact of the ectoparasitc fungus on its hosts’ fitness and immune function, as well as possible interactions with other fungal pathogens, namely M. anisopliae.


2012-                Postdoctoral researcher at University of Bayreuth, Germany

                         (Group of Heike Feldhaar)


2007-2012        PhD thesis, University of Regensburg, Germany

                               (Social immune defense in the ant Lasius neglectus, Cremer group)

2005-2007        Diploma thesis, University of Vienna, Austria

                               (Orientation in the ant Cataglyphis fortis, Barth group in collaboration with Wehner; group Zurich)

2000-2005        Biology studies at the University of Vienna, Austria