In 1999-2000, I have done my master diploma under the supervision of Prof. Laurent Keller. My work focused on the influence of genetic diversity on colony performance in ants. I have reared both low and high genetic diversity colonies of Argentine ants (Linepithema humile). Colony efficiency was assessed in several experiments , which included foraging, exploration, nest moving, corpse removal and production of sexuals. The only difference between low and high genetic diversity colonies was found in the corpse removal experiment, where colonies with more genotypes dealt more rapidly with their dead ants.
Since spring 2001 I have started a Ph.D. with Michel Chapuisat. The main theme of my work is related to kin discrimination in ants. I study a population of Formica selysi in Finges (Switzerland), which contains both monogyne and polygyne colonies. I have measured the sex investment ratio, which is split among colonies, but does not seem to correlate with relatedness asymmetry. I am currently studying nestmate discrimination, and will try to disentangle the genetic, social and environmental factors affecting recognition in these socially polymorphic ants.