Pepijn Kooij

Research Interests

Coevolution is one of the major forces in the origin and maintenance of biodiversity. The fungus-farming ant mutualism is a model coevolutionary system, typified by the leaf-cutting ants (genera Atta and Acromyrmex), however, fungal symbiont diversity as well as symbiont maintenance remain poorly understood. The student will join a research group exploring fungal diversity and its evolutionary history, in which I primarily focus on the biodiversity of fungus growing ant fungi and identifying the factors involved in maintaining a stable mutualism. The DPhil project would be developed in discussion with the student, but is likely to include a range of methodologies such as DNA-barcoding, genome sequencing, fluorescence and electron microscopy, and potentially some fieldwork in Panama.

Personal Research Keywords

Ants, fungi, mutualism, evolution, biodiversity, cooperation, ecology