Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

KJELDGAARD Lecture - Daniel Kronauer, PhD

The next virtual Kjeldgaard speaker is Professor Daniel Kronauer, PhD, from the Laboratory of Social Evolution and Behavior at The Rockefeller University, NY. You can read more and find Zoom link here.

2021.03.26 | Magnus Kræpping Andersen

Date Thu 08 Apr
Time 16:00 17:00
Location Online via Zoom

‘Differentiation, Communication, and Emergence in Ant Societies’

Virtual Kjeldgaard Lecture – April 8 @ 4PM



Professor Daniel Kronauer will talk about genetics, molecular l mechanisms and evolution of communication in ants;

"Ant colonies function as higher-order complex biological systems, or “superorganisms”, in which the individual ants are analogous to cells in a body, or neurons in a brain. Ants are therefore uniquely suited to address a range of interesting and interconnected problems that cannot be studied in the same way in more conventional model systems. In this talk, I will discuss our recent and ongoing work with the clonal raider ant, a species that uniquely combines the fascinating biology of ants with experimental accessibility. In particular, we use this species to study the following main questions:

-How does behavioral and developmental plasticity arise from the interplay between molecular, environmental, and social factors? This ultimately determines the properties of the individual components, the individual ants, in an ant colony. In a multicellular organism, this would be analogous to cell-type differentiation.

-How do ants perceive and process their sophisticated pheromone language at the level of the brain? Communication between ants in a colony would be analogous to neural or endocrine signaling in a multicellular organism.

- How does communication between the differentiated units give rise to adaptive, group-level phenomena? For example, just like a brain, an ant colony has to integrate different inputs to produce a coherent and appropriate behavioral response.

By pursuing these questions, we hope to gain a better understanding of how ant colonies function at different hierarchical levels, from genes and neurons to individual ants and entire colonies."


Daniel Kronauer studied Biology in Würzburg, Germany. From an early career stage on, he was fascinated by ants and did a PhD in Evolutionary Biology in Copenhagen. After postdocs in Copenhagen and Lausanne, Switzerland, he leads the laboratory for Social Evolution and Behavior at Rockefeller University, New York. His group was among the first creating CRISPR/cas9 mutant ants, and he uses genetic and molecular biology studies to understand how different castes and the division of labor develops in colonies, allowing the "superorganism" to form a complex society.

Prof. Kronauer is also an excellent wildlife photographer and has published the book "Army Ants: Nature's Ultimate Social Hunters" (Harvard University press, 2020) with stunning illustrations.


Host: Anne von Philipsborn

You can check out the poster here

Event, PhD students, Dandrite, Dandrite, Seminar, Academic staff