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Mutualism evolution and stability are major outstanding questions in evolutionary biology. To address these questions, I have adopted subterranean ant-trophobiont-microbe interaction networks as a study system. My research is organised into three empirical and one theoretical research lines, and employs a broad range of methods, from computer simulation to advanced microscopy, field sampling, high-throughput sequencing and behavioural experiments. With all these combined, I aim to contribute to a better understanding of the emergence and persistence of cooperation between species.

Education/Academic qualification

Theoretical Biology, PhD, Rijksuniversiteit 

Evolutionary Biology, Master, Rijksuniversiteit 

Biology (Ecology), Bachelor, Wageningen University


  • QH301 Biology
  • evolution theory
  • ecology
  • entomology
  • mutualism
  • cooperation
  • ants
  • aphids
  • species interactions
  • microbiome
  • ecological networks

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Aniek Ivens is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

social partnerships Agriculture & Biology
mutualism Agriculture & Biology
Aphidoidea Agriculture & Biology
Formicidae Agriculture & Biology
Ants Medicine & Life Sciences
Microbiota Medicine & Life Sciences
ant Earth & Environmental Sciences
Pseudococcidae Agriculture & Biology

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2009 2018

  • 9 Article
  • 1 PhD Thesis - Research external, graduation external

Can social partnerships influence the microbiome? Insights from ant farmers and their trophobiont mutualists

Ivens, A. B. F., Gadau, A., Kiers, E. T. & Kronauer, D. J. C., 1 Apr 2018, In : Molecular Ecology. 27, 8, p. 1898-1914 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
social partnerships

Studying the Complex Communities of Ants and Their Symbionts Using Ecological Network Analysis

Ivens, A. B. F., von Beeren, C., Bluethgen, N. & Kronauer, D. J. C., 2016, In : Annual Review of Entomology. 61, p. 353-+

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Cooperation and conflict in ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) farming mutualisms - a review

Ivens, A. B. F., Sep 2015, In : MYRMECOLOGICAL NEWS. 21, p. 19-36

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Evolution of microbial markets

Werner, G. D. A., Strassman, J. E., Ivens, A., Engelmoer, D. J. P., Verbruggen, E., Queller, D. C., Noë, R., Collins Johnson, N., Hammerstein, P. & Kiers, E. T., 2014, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 111, 4, p. 1237-44 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Cooperative Behavior
Microbial Interactions

Ants farm subterranean aphids mostly in single clone groups - an example of prudent husbandry for carbohydrates and proteins?

Ivens, A. B. F., Kronauer, D. J. C., Pen, I., Weissing, F. J. & Boomsma, J. J., 2 Jul 2012, In : BMC Evolutionary Biology. 12

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access