trying to stay above the ground...
Current inspiration: Brunei, Borneo. 7th sampling expedition in the framework of WWTF COCY project

Current inspiration: Brunei, Borneo. 7th sampling expedition in the framework of WWTF COCY project

Voluntary self-sacrifice in exploding ants: a mechanism to defend so-evolved microbiomes?

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Latest news

September 08, 2017
Ecology Super User

The fate of the forest

Logging in Brunei is very small. Here are some excerpts from the official websites: Logging In the natural production forests, controlled harvesting of commercial and obligatory timber is permitted by the Government, under the supervision of the Forestry…
September 07, 2017
Borneo Super User

Bandar Seri Begawan

Bandar Seri Begawan is the capital of Brunei inhabited by over 50 000 people. It is nice but the problem of staying there is the heat. Because of the heat, people tend to spend most of their time indoors. Almost all buildings in Brunei have air condition.…

COCY nests

May 30, 2016 383
COCY ants is a group of polydomous ants from the Colobopsis cylindrica clade. They are…

4th Borneo sampling expedition

<div style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;Climbing in Borneo</div>

 Climbing in Borneo

Its almost like flying ...

Shorea johorensis Climbing trees is fun. Climbing huge trees in the tropical rain forest is a double fun. Climbing a very rare and critically endangered trees like Shorea johorensis from the Dipterocarpaceae family is simply a great honor (and fun too of cource). These photos were made on Shorea johorensis the main host tree of the YG (yellow goo) ants from Componotus colobopsis group, the main object of the research project. Location: Brunei, Borneo, Temburong district, KBFSC (Kuala Belalong Field Studies Center).

 My recent publication in Biotropica with Diane W. Davidson as the first author and Irina Druzhinina as the last: Nutrition of Borneo's ‘Exploding’ Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Colobopsis): A Preliminary Assessment DOI: 10.1111/btp.12323

Sampling on trees

The ants live in large colonies occupying one or more trees. When the night comes they return to their nests which may be located inside dead brunches as well as in the living wood and even inside the tree stem.

More on nests here

YG ants at the entrance to the artificial nest. it took them more than a year to occupy the nest but now they are at home here. This nest can provide shelter for several hundreds ants at the same time.

In order to reach for the nests located on the highest branches one have to climb these immense trees which can be a tough task in the hot and humid conditions of the lowland rain forest.

Youtube channel on my Borneo expeditions

Arboreal filming: Filming Yellow Goo ants on their foraging tree (Shorea johorensis). This was the main original arboreal nest of these ants. It was sampled and delivered to Vienna with all ants successfully surviving the journey.

Interesting find: Phallus mushroom: a rare sight in the forest due to their ephemerous nature and the fact that insect would quickly eat the fungus. The next day it was gone entirely. Edible but extremely expensive.

Working on now:

Building website Mycocode.com

Mycocode.com is the website of Microbiology group of the Vienna Technical University.

Its research was initially focused on the diversity and molecular evolution of filamentous fungi and on the development of the bioinformatic tools for their identification. Currently we are challenged by the comparative genomics of filamentous fungi as the genomes of industrially important and plant beneficial mold Trichoderma and numerous related fungi have been sequenced.

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