Profiles of Leading Women Scientists on AcademiaNet – an initiative of the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Search among the members of the Leopoldina for experts in specific fields or research topics.
|Year of election:||2004|
|Section:||Organismic and Evolutionary Biology|
Jürgen Heinze investigates the evolution of group structures and reproductive tactics in social insects. He could show that the societies of ants are often not harmonious superorganisms, in which all individuals cooperate to increase the fitness of the society as a whole. They may instead be structured by complex networks of mutual manipulation and policing. Individuals attempt to pursue their own interests at the cost of others, which leads to aggression and punishment. The seemingly smooth functioning of the society relies on a well-balanced compromise between individual and group interests.
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