The Adams lab broadly aims to understand the evolution of traits that drive community assembly in ant-centric symbiotic species networks. This position focuses on comparative questions relating to venom evolution in Megalomyrmex ants. The 1-2 year project will explore the variation in transcripts expressed in the venom glands of free-living and parasite species. Social parasites exploit ant societies by invading and stealing resources. Megalomyrmex ants enter host nests using chemical weaponry made from alkaloid-based venom (e.g., pyrrolidines, pyrrolizidines, piperidines, and pyrrolines). We have characterized the venom alkaloids of many species and would now like to explore and compare transcriptomes to understand the underlying genes responsible for venom toxicity.
More information can be found here.