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Jobs

MASTER’S THESIS PROJECT: Does an herbicide make ant queens want to leave?

Background: Glyphosate, a widely used herbicide, works by inhibiting a vital enzymatic pathway shared by plants and some microbes, but not animals. Toxicity of glyphosate to animals is therefore low. However, glyphosate exposure may negatively affect symbiotic bacteria, which serve many beneficial functions. It is likely that alterations to the microbiome has negative consequences for the animals. 

Our previous research indicates that queens exposed to glyphosate during development have a bigger thorax, the body part which houses the flight muscles. A hypothesis for the thorax size variation is that glyphosate exposure is a cue for bad environmental conditions, leading to an investment in dispersal ability. The queens thus have built bigger flight muscles, also making the thorax bigger. An alternative explanation is, that glyphosate has eliminated harmful bacteria from the queens, who are then able to use more resources for growth.

In this project you will handle experimental ant colonies in the lab. Using modern imaging techniques, you will measure morphological features of the ant queens and the wing muscles, to clarify the connection between glyphosate exposure and queen flight ability.

Start: Immediately 
Working group: Ass. Prof. Dalial Freitak 
Information/Application: Email: dalial.freitak(at)uni-graz.at
 

Master thesis project in Physiology

Topic: “Functional characterization of the genes involved in trans-generational immune priming in honey bee larvae”

Background: Honeybees are threatened worldwide, due to high level of various environmental stressors and management practices. Diseases are wreaking havoc in the honeybee populations around the globe. Moreover, many of the disease are spilling over to wild pollinators, meaning, that healthier honeybees lead to potentially reduced chances of spillover diseases for many endangered species.  We have identified handful of genes involved in the trans-generational immune priming against globally spread honeybee pathogen called American Foulbrood (AFB). This bacterium is one of the most devastating and hardest to treat among the diseases spreading in honeybee colonies. Using transcriptomic analysis, we have identified number of genes as candidates, which could play an essential role in the acquired resistance against AFB. In the frames of the thesis work, you will analyses the expression of these genes in the honeybee larvae and in different tissues of the bee larvae. Further, you will use RNAi to knock down the genes and study the effect on the pathogen resistance in the honeybees by using infection assays under strict laboratory conditions. 

Start: immediately
Working group: Ass. Prof. Dalial Freitak 
Information/Application: Email: dalial.freitak(at)uni-graz.at

Kontakt

Assoz. Prof. Dr.rer.nat.

Dalial Freitak

ArbeitsgruppenleiterIn

Institut für Biologie
Universitätsplatz 2
8010 Graz

Telefon:+43 316 380 - 3915


Valerie Kornschober

Sekretariat

Institut für Biologie
Universitätsplatz 2
8010 Graz

Telefon:+43 316 380 - 5597

Hilfreich

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