Koos Boomsma

Koos Boomsma

Professor

Researcher ID

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Current research

I am interested in the biology of cooperation and conflict to understand adaptive design by natural selection, particularly when social interactions make it ambiguous what optimal design might be. An explicit “gene’s-eye” focus on the social insects has allowed me to unravel deep-seated potential conflicts between the sexes, between castes, and between hosts and mutualistic symbionts, and to address questions about the origins of major evolutionary transitions in organizational complexity. I have done fieldwork on fungus-growing ants for 25 years, hosted by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and initiated other field-based research programs on a variety of social insects and their mutualists or parasites in Denmark, Europe, Africa and SE Asia – this research normally uses molecular methods to confront questions emanating from kin-selection theory and natural history.  In recent years, I also obtained access to Danish public health data to test whether poorly understood aspects of human health and disease can be illuminated by evolutionary conflict hypotheses.

My research is or has been supported by the Danish Natural Science Research Council, the Danish National Research Foundation  - Centre for Social Evolution, the Carlsberg Foundation and the European Commission (advanced ERC grant, two research-training networks, participation in several thematic networks, and more than 20 individual Marie Curie fellowships).

Primary fields of research

  • Social Evolution
  • Social Insects
  • Conflict/Cooperation
  • Mating systems
  • Coevolution
  • Genomics
  • Evolutionary Medicine
  • Conservation

Teaching

  • Conservation (3rd year students)
  • Population Ecology (4th year students)
  • Evolutionary Ecology (4th year students)
  • Entomological Field Course (4th year students)
  • Evolutionary Medicine (4th year students)
  • Tropical Behavioral Ecology and Evolution (4th year and PhD students)
  • Various Social Evolution PhD courses

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Chemically armed mercenary ants protect fungus-farming societies

    Adams, R. M. M., Liberti, J., Illum, A. A., Jones, T. H., Nash, D. R. & Boomsma, J. J., 2013, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110, 39, p. 15752-15757 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  2. Published

    Specificity and stability of the Acromyrmex–Pseudonocardia symbiosis

    Andersen, S. B., Hansen, L. H., Sapountzis, P., Sørensen, S. J. & Boomsma, J. J., 2013, In : Molecular Ecology. 22, 16, p. 4307-4321 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  3. Published

    Evolutionary biology: Farming writ small

    Boomsma, J. J., 2011, In : Nature. 469, 7330, p. 308-309 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  4. Published

    Only full-sibling families evolved eusociality

    Boomsma, J. J., Beekman, M., Cornwallis, C. K., Griffin, A. S., Holman, L., Hughes, W. O. H., Keller, L., Oldroyd, B. P. & Ratnieks, F. L. W., 2011, In : Nature. 471, 7339, p. E4-5; author reply E9-10 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  5. Published

    Laccase detoxification mediates the nutritional alliance between leaf-cutting ants and fungus-garden symbionts.

    De Fine Licht, H., Schiøtt, M., Rogowska-Wrzesinska, A., Nygaard, S., Roepstorff, P. & Boomsma, J., 2013, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110, 2, p. 583-587 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  6. Published

    Seminal fluid mediates ejaculate competition in social insects

    Den Boer, S. P. A., Baer, B. & Boomsma, J. J., 2010, In : Science. 327, 5972, p. 1506-1509 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  7. Published

    Dynamic disease management in trachymyrmex fungus-growing ants (Attini: Formicidae)

    Fernández-Marín, H., Bruner, G., Gomez, E. B., Nash, D. R., Boomsma, J. J. & Wcislo, W. T., 2013, In : American Naturalist. 181, 4, p. 571-582 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  8. Published

    Random sperm use and genetic effects on worker caste fate in Atta colombica leaf-cutting ants

    Holman, L., Stürup, M., Trontti, K. & Boomsma, J. J., 2011, In : Molecular Ecology. 20, 23, p. 5092-5102 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  9. Published

    Caste-specific expression of genetic variation in the size of antibiotic-producing glands of leaf-cutting ants

    Hughes, W. O. H., Bot, A. N. M. & Boomsma, J. J., 2010, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences. 277, 1681, p. 609-15 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  10. Published

    Reproduction and dispersal in an ant-associated root aphid community

    Ivens, A. B. F., Kronauer, D. J. C., Pen, I., Weissing, F. J. & Boomsma, J. J., 2012, In : Molecular Ecology. 21, 17, p. 4257-4269 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  11. Published

    Colony fusion and worker reproduction after queen loss in army ants

    Kronauer, D. J. C., Schöning, C., d'Ettorre, P. & Boomsma, J. J., 2010, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences. 277, 1682, p. 755-63 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  12. Published

    Large-Scale Evolutionary Patterns of Host Plant Associations in the Lepidoptera

    Menken, S. B. J., Boomsma, J. J. & van Nieukerken, E. J., 2010, In : Evolution. 64, 4, p. 1098-1119 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  13. Published

    Wingless virgin queens assume helper roles in Acromyrmex leaf-cutting ants

    Nehring, V., Boomsma, J. J. & D'Ettorre, P., 2012, In : Current Biology. 22, 17, p. R671-R673 3 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalLetterResearchpeer-review

  14. Published

    The genome of the leaf-cutting ant Acromyrmex echinatior suggests key adaptations to advanced social life and fungus farming

    Nygaard, S., Zhang, G., Schiøtt, M., Li, C., Wurm, Y., Hu, H., Zhou, J., Ji, L., Qiu, F., Rasmussen, M., Pan, H., Hauser, F., Krogh, A., Grimmelikhuijzen, C. C., Wang, J. & Boomsma, J. J., 2011, In : Genome Research. 21, 8, p. 1339-1348 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  15. Published

    Leaf-cutting ant fungi produce cell wall degrading pectinase complexes reminiscent of phytopathogenic fungi

    Schiøtt, M., Rogowska-Wrzesinska, A., Roepstorff, P. & Boomsma, J. J., 1 Jan 2010, In : B M C Biology. 8, p. 156

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  16. Published

    Genetic variation in virulence among chalkbrood strains infecting honeybees

    Vojvodic, S., Jensen, A. B., Markussen, B., Eilenberg, J. & Boomsma, J. J., 2011, In : P L o S One. 6, 9, 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  17. Published

    Regulation and specificity of antifungal metapleural gland secretion in leaf-cutting ants

    Yek, S. H., Nash, D. R., Jensen, A. B. & Boomsma, J. J., 2012, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 279, 1745, p. 4215-4222 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  18. Published

    High Symbiont Relatedness Stabilizes Mutualistic Cooperation in Fungus-Growing Termites

    Aanen, D. K., de Fine Licht, H. H., Debets, A. J. M., Kerstes, N. A. G., Hoekstra, R. F. & Boomsma, J. J., 2009, In : Science. 326, 5956, p. 1103-6 3 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  19. Published

    The life of a dead ant -the expression of an adaptive extended phenotype

    Andersen, S. B., Gerritsma, S., Yusah, K. M., Mayntz, D., Hywel-Jones, N. L., Billen, J., Boomsma, J. J. & Hughes, D. P., 2009, In : American Naturalist. 174, 3, p. 424-433 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  20. Published

    Sperm length evolution in the fungus-growing ants

    Baer, B., Dijkstra, M. B., Mueller, U. G., Nash, D. R. & Boomsma, J. J., 2009, In : Behavioral Ecology. 20, 1, p. 38-45

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  21. Published

    Lifetime monogamy and the evolution of eusociality

    Boomsma, J. J., 2009, In : Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences. 364, 1533, p. 3191-207 16 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  22. Published

    Rethinking crop-disease management in fungus-growing ants

    Boomsma, J. J. & Aanen, D. K., 2009, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America. 106, 42, p. 17611-2 1 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  23. Published

    Prudent sperm use by leaf-cutter ant queens

    Den Boer, S. P. A., Baer, B., Dreier, S. A. J., Aron, S., Nash, D. R. & Boomsma, J. J., 2009, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences. 276, 1675, p. 3945-3953 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  24. Published

    Caste-specific symbiont policing by workers of Acromyrmex fungus-growing ants

    Ivens, A. B. F., Nash, D. R., Poulsen, M. & Boomsma, J. J., 2009, In : Behavioral Ecology. 20, 2, p. 378-384 7 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  25. Published

    A mosaic of chemical coevolution in a large blue butterfly.

    Nash, D. R., Als, T. D., Maile, R., Jones, G. R. & Boomsma, J. J., 2008, In : Science. 319, 5859, p. 88-90 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  26. Published

    Graveyards on the Move: The Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Dead Ophiocordyceps-Infected Ants

    Pontoppidan, M-B., Himaman, W., Hywel-Jones, N. L., Boomsma, J. J. & Hughes, D. P., 2009, In : PLoS ONE. 4, 3, p. e4835

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  27. Published

    Ephemeral windows of opportunity for horizontal transmission of fungal symbionts in leaf-cutting ants

    Poulsen, M., Fernández-Marín, H., Currie, C. R. & Boomsma, J. J., 2009, In : Evolution. 63, 9, p. 2235-2247 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

ID: 10088