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Lehrstuhl für Evolutionsbiologie

Fakultät für Biologie und Vorklinische Medizin
Institut für Zoologie
Lehrstuhl für Zoologie / Evolutionsbiologie


Zoology and Evolutionary Biology

Animals show a large range of body plans and life histories. We test predictions from evolutionary theory to better understand the evolution of new traits and life styles in several model organisms, in particular ants and aquatic arthropods.

Research Topics and Projects



Structure and Function of Animal Societies
Why do organisms cooperate even if this may involve a cost? We study ants to determine factors that favor altruism and how conflicts among selfish group members are resolved without destroying the society as a whole.


Abb02 Social Evolution, Reproduction, and Aging
Most organisms trade-off investment in reproduction against investment in self-preservation and longevity. In contrast, highly fertile ant queens live longer than nestmates with low fecundity. We combine experimental manipulation with transcriptomics to determine the mechanisms underlying this bizarre phenomenon.


Abb03 Reproductive Strategies and Tactics
Conspecific individuals may differ in how they maximize their own fitness. We investigate alternative reproductive tactics in ants both in an interspecific and intraspecific context. This includes lethal fighting in males, the evolution of slave-making, and wing loss in ant queens.


Abb04 Communication and Decision Making in Ants
Despite their small brains, ants are famous for extraordinary cognitive performance. Finding shortcuts in trail systems or building complex nests depends on a sophisticated system of communication and feedback loops. We investigate the chemistry of communication and the role of individual vs. social information in decision making.


Abb05 Evolutionary Innovation and Rapid Adaptation
The origin of novelty is a key question in evolutionary biology. Using the invasive ant Cardiocondyla obscurior, we study the role of recombination rate, transposable elements and endosymbiotic bacteria in adaptation to novel environments.


Abb06 Phylogeny and Zoogeography
Reconstructing the phylogeny of organisms makes it possible to uncover relationships among extant taxa and to determine if particular life histories and adaptations have evolved only once or repeatedly. We use comparative morphology and molecular methods to reconstruct the phylogeny of ants and aquatic arthropods.



frontiers in zoology


  1. Fakultäten
  2. Fakultät für Biologie und Vorklinische Medizin

Lehrstuhl für Zoologie / Evolutionsbiologie

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Heinze 
Biologie I 


Heinze _juergen

Universität Regensburg 
Universitätsstraße 31
D-93053 Regensburg 
Tel. --49 941 943 -
3054 or 2475 
Fax --49 941 943 - 3304