Sacha Zahnd

I am broadly interested in evolution, with a particular interest in speciation and hybridization.

Hybrid Zone
Hybrid zones are ideal systems to study evolution in real time. The ant species Formica selysi and Formica cinerea hybridize in the Rhône Valley, in the Swiss Alps. In this context, I am interested in disentangling the genetic, behavioural and ecological mechanisms leading to the maintenance of distinct the species.

Maintenance of a social polymorphism
The ant Formica selysi shows two types of social organization. Colonies can be headed either by one queen (monogynous) or by several queens (polygynous). Interestingly, this variation is determined by a genetic variation at a “social chromosome”.  My project aims to investigate how ecological factors contribute to maintain this social polymorphism at micro and macro scale.

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Member of Chapuisat group