Salvatore Brunetti, MSc
I am doing a PhD in the working group of Molecular Ecology at Innsbruck University. While I am generally fascinated by the diversity of organisms and how they interact with each other, I am particularly interested in the study of animal behaviour, and most of all in the study of ants.
In the course of my PhD, I will focus my research on a broad topic concerning population- and social-genetic aspects of a Central-European fungus-breeding ant, Lasius fuliginosus, with an emphasis on reproductive patterns. By conducting genetic and population studies, as well as conducting field observations, I aim to enhance my understanding of parthenogenesis in this species and its implications on inter- and intra-colonial social relationships with colonies of the same and different ant species. Additionally, I am also interested in enhancing our understanding of the ecology and behaviour of L. fuliginosus, their association with the endosymbiont bacterium Wolbachia, and their symbiotic associations with the arthropods and fungi that live inside their nest.
In my opinion, biology should not be seen as compartmentalised but rather as a collection of different topics that are tying into each other and should therefore be studied by looking at it as a whole. Knowing the biology of organisms, how they interact, and their behaviour allows us to understand the world and how to protect biodiversity.
Population genetics and genomics