Ph.D. Student - Heather Axen

Heather Axen

Heather Axen, Ph.D. Student

Contact Information
Email: Heather Axen

Marsh Life Science Building, Rm 307
Phone: (802) 656-2952
Advisor: Sara Helms Cahan


I'm interested in behavioral ecology and hybridization, such as the causes, consequences, and dynamics of hyrid zones. My study system consists of two species of fire ants and their hybrids, which occur in south and central Texas. These hybrid colonies show various interesting behaviors, including genetic caste determination. In genetic case determination genotype determines the caste (worker or future queen) that individual will develop into, a very unusual system for eusocial insects. One of these species Solenopsis geminata has also been introduced into new habitats worldwide, and may become invasive. Other projects I am working on focus on phylogeographic studies of this potentially invasive species.

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