Evolutionary Biology & Ecologyebe-Welcome.html
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PhD student, FRIA Research Fellow

phone: +32 (0)2 650 45 25

e-mail: scherass@ulb.ac.be











Research interests



PhD research project

Evolution of polyandry and cooperative colony founding in ants

Supervisor: Serge Aron


Ants are characterized by a tremendous variety of breeding systems involving mating and colony foundation. Depending on the species, queens will mate with a single male (monandry) or multiple males (polyandry). Moreover, mated queens can later found their colonies alone (haplometrosis) or by cooperating with other co-foundresses (pleometrosis).This project focuses on determining the differential gene expression underlying the evolution of polyandry and cooperative colony founding in ants, using Lasius niger as a biological model. First, we will investigate the consequences of multiple mating for queen physiology, in terms of fecundity, longevity and immunity. This study should help to uncover which of these factors play a part in encouraging queens to seek additional mates. Second, the differential modulation of immune responses depending on single or multiple queen colony founding will be characterized to highlight whether benefits in pathogen resistance could have influenced the evolution of colony co-founding. Third, we will study the regulation of two neurohormones involved in cooperation (inotocin) and aggression (octopamine), and their potential role in shaping queen behavior during colony founding.



Master thesis

Sperm storage and immunity in the leaf-cutting ants

Supervisors: Jacobus J. Boomsma and Morten Schiøtt (2014, Center for Social Evolution, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)




Communications



Chérasse S, Davila F, Schiøtt M, Baer B, Aron S, Boomsma JJ (2014) Sperm storage and immunity in the leaf-cutting ants. Entomology in Belgium Symposium, Brussels. 

Chérasse S, Davila F, Schiøtt M, Baer B, Aron S, Boomsma JJ  (2014) Sperm storage and immunity in the leaf-cutting ants. XVII International Congress of the IUSSI, Cairns.

Chérasse S, Davila F, Schiøtt M, Baer B, Aron S, Boomsma JJ (2013) Sperm storage and immunity in the leaf-cutting ants. IUSSI NW Europe section Winter Meeting, London.




Educational background



  1. PhD in Evolutionary Biology (2014-today, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium)

  2. Master in Biological Sciences (2014, University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

  3. Bachelor in Biological Sciences (2011, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium)
























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  1. Sarah Chérasse

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