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Biological Invasions – Department of Biology - University of Copenhagen

Social Evolution > CSE Research > Biological Invasions

Biological Invasions

After habitat loss, invasive species rank second in importance to the decline in global biodiversity. We generally aim to understand why certain species are successful invaders (e.g.  raccoon dog, harlequin ladybird and Japanese rose) while closely related species are not.

We mostly study ants as they are overrepresented among the world’s worst invasive species.

Populations of invasive ants form vast supercolonies without obvious family structure or aggression between neighbouring nests. The evolution of the “hypersocial” traits that characterize supercolonies is poorly understood, but likely related to habitat saturation and release from parasites outside the native range.

We use a wide range of model systems and techniques to better understand the evolutionary origins, long-term stability and special adaptations of ant supercolonies.

Model Organisms

Myrmica ants

Pharaoh ants

Garden ants


Behavioural experiments

Chemical analyses

Genetic analyses


Immune assays

Laboratory colonies




Principal Investigator

Co-PI (Internal)

Jes Søe pedersen

Associate Professor

Jacobus (Koos) Boomsma


Close Collaborators

Heikki Helanterä

Research Fellow

Academy of Finland

University of Helsinki

Tim Linksvayer

Assistant Professor

Department of Biology

University of Pennsylvania

Guest Researcher



Lisbeth W. Børgesen

MSc students

June Buxbom