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February 27, 2019

Beaty Biodiversity Museum Auditorium
2212 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

The seminar will be hosted by the Aviles Lab.

Cookies will be served at 11:30am in the Beaty Biodiversity Centre atrium (cookie providers: Sam S. and Patrick T.).

Seminar will begin at 12:00pm in the Beaty Biodiversity Museum auditorium. 

Social immunity: protecting the superorganism against disease

Social insects form societies of highly interactive members. Like in all social groups, infectious disease can use their hosts’ social interaction routes to quickly spread among colony members. Yet, epidemics are very rare in insect societies, due to their highly sophisticated cooperative disease defenses, forming from a combination of behavioral, organizational, and physiological adaptations. In contrast to most other social groups, however, group members in insect colonies are not equal. Instead, they fall into two distinct groups, the reproductive caste (the queens and males) and the sterile caste (the workers). Insect colonies are hence often referred to as a superorganism, in analogy to multicellular organisms that are similarly separated into the reproductive organs, the germline, and the somatic body tissues. Selection pressures on insect colonies hence resemble that of individual organisms, and the social immune system of the colony acts surprisingly similar to the physiological immune system in our own bodies.

Sylvia Cremer

IST Austria

Am Campus 1

A-3400 Klosterneuburg

Tel +43 2243 9000 3401

Biodiversity Research Seminar Series (BRS)

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