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Dr Ana Duarte

Dr Ana Duarte

Post-doctoral Research Associate (ERC-funded)

Room F23
Office Phone: 01223 (3)34466


I did my PhD in the Netherlands at the University of Groningen, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies. Under the supervision of Prof. Franjo Weissing, I developed theoretical models on division of labour in social insects. I was particularly interested in the interaction between emergent properties of individual behaviour (self-organization) and the evolution of a colony-level trait, division of labour. I also collaborated with Prof. Laurent Keller (University of Lausanne) and Prof. Patrizia D'Ettorre (University of Paris 13). During my Masters, I worked on cooperation and conflict in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, with Prof. Joan Strassmann and Prof. Dave Queller (Washington University in St. Louis). Prior to that, I worked as a research technician on an experimental evolution project in Drosophila subobscura, with Prof. Margarida Matos (University of Lisbon). I still maintain a great interest in experimental evolution, and, in the future, would like to combine it with the study of social behaviour.

Research Interests

I am interested in understanding the evolution of cooperation and conflict. My project focuses on social immunity in burying beetles (Nicrophorus vespilloides). Burying beetles lay their eggs in carcasses of small rodents and birds, and produce anti-microbial exudates which prevent carcass decomposition. Owing to the fact that more than one breeding pair can lay eggs in the same carcass, the antimicrobial exudates can be seen as a public good, produced at a cost to the individuals. Our aim is to identify the sources of individual variation in production of the public good and investigate potential trade-offs with life-history traits. I collaborate on this project with Prof. Rebecca Kilner, Dr Sheena Cotter, Ornela de Gasperin, Dr Giuseppe Boncoraglio and Dr Martin Welch.

Key Publications

  • Palmer, W.J.*, Duarte, A.*, Schrader, M., Day, J.P., Kilner, R.M. & Jiggins, F.M. (2016) A gene associated with social immunity in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  (*equal contributions) (
  • Duarte, A., Cotter, S.C., Reavey, C.E., Ward, R.J.S., De Gasperin, O. & Kilner, R.M. (2015) Social immunity of the family: parental contributions to a public good modulated by brood size. Evolutionary Ecology  (doi:10.1007/s10682-015-9806-3)
  • De Gasperin O., Duarte, A. & Kilner R. M. (2015) Interspecific interactions explain intraspecific variation in the duration of paternal care in the burying beetle, Nicrophorus vespilloides. Animal Behaviour 109: 199-207
  • Duarte, A., Pen, I., Keller, L. & Weissing, F.J. (2012): Evolution of self-organized division of labor in a response threshold model. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 66: 947-957
  • Duarte, A., Scholtens, E. & Weissing, F.J. (2012): Implications of behavioral architecture for the evolution of self-organized division of labor. PLoS Comput. Biol. 8: e1002430
  • Duarte, A., Weissing, F.J., Pen, I. & Keller, L. (2011): An evolutionary perspective on self-organized division of labor in social insects. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 42: 91–110

Other Publications

  • Simões, P., Rose, M.R., Duarte, A., Gonçalves,  R. & Matos, M. (2007). Evolutionary domestication in Drosophila subobscura. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 62: 1817-1829.
  • Matos, M., Simões, P., Duarte, A., Rego, C., Avelar, T. & Rose, M.R. (2004). Convergence to a novel environment – comparative method versus experimental evolution. Evolution 58: 1503-1510.