Marius Pohl

PhD Student

© Marius Pohl

Molecular Evolution and Sociobiology
Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity
University of Münster
Hüfferstr. 1
48149 Münster, Germany
Phone: +49 251/83-210921
m_pohl16@uni-muenster.de
Nationality: German De

Education

  • Since 2020:
    PhD in the Molecular Evolution and Sociobiology Group, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster, Germany
  • 2018-2020:
    Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Biosciences, University of Münster, Germany
  • 2014-2017:
    Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Biosciences, University of Münster, Germany

Work Experience

  • 2017-2020
    Student Assistant, Molecular Evolution and Sociobiology Group, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster, Germany
  • 2019-2020
    Student Assistant in the undergraduate course "Evolution and Biodiversity of Animals", University of Münster, Germany

Supervisors

  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Gadau, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Molecular Evolution and Sociobiology Group, University of Münster
  • Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz, Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, Animal Evolutionary Ecology Group, University of Münster
  • Prof. Dr. Christoph Schäfers, Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, Schmallenberg, Germany

Research interests

  • Social insects
  • Phylogenetics
  • Systematics/Taxonomy of Formicidae/Mantodea
  • Population and sociogenetics

PhD project description

Influence of genetically modified organisms and their substances on indirectly affected organisms, ants (Formicidae)

The use of genetically modified organisms, such as GM maize, is used to control certain parasitic insects and thus increase the yield of the crop. The respective pests are thereby killed by certain substances, e.g. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cry toxins. So far, only the influence of such substances on direct other organisms has been tested, i.e. those that have direct contact with the genetically modified plants. It is not yet known whether and what influence these substances have on indirectly influenced organisms, such as ants. Since many species of ants in Germany are omnivorous, which means that they feed on both plant and animal sources, they can also accumulate these substances in the organism by consuming insects that have previously been killed with Bt toxins. Furthermore, ants have a social stomach, i.e. that certain workers go actively hunting and collect food, which is later passed on to other workers, brood and also the queen, through so-called trophallaxis (choking up food). The whole colony is thus affected by the respective substance and exposed to the respective effects. Thus, ants can also serve as bioindicators for the influence of genetically modified organisms on indirectly influenced organisms and thus help to confirm or refute an exact specificity of the substances.
In my project, 3 omnipresent German ant species should be used to develop a standardized and replicable method to check the influence of genetically modified organisms and their substances. This includes, among other things, the development of optimal keeping and rearing conditions for ants under laboratory conditions and an efficient method for administering the respective substances. Some of the main investigations are the influence on the fertility of the queen, an increased accumulation of toxins in larvae or queen, as these require significantly more resources, and a general lethality with regard to the colony.