Petr Klimeš


(Head of Laboratory of Ecology and Evolution of Social Insects)

Petr is interested in the ecology and diversity of insects, particularly of ants. His current research projects are focused on the arboreal ant communities of New Guinea. He is interested in what factors are structuring their species and functional diversity along environmental gradients. His other research interests include the interactions of insects and their food resources (of ground beetles and ants to plant seeds, relationships between plants, herbivores and ants etc.), and changes of communities along ecological gradients.

tomfaylenewTom Fayle

Researcher (part time)

Tom is an ecologist at Queen Mary University of London, UK, with interests in community ecology, conservation biology and behavioural ecology. His work focuses on tropical ants, but he also studies a range of other groups. His fieldwork takes him to Malaysian Borneo and Papua New Guinea.

PavelPavel Fibich

Researcher (part time)

Pavel is a plant ecologist at University of South Bohemia, with interests in plant community ecology and statistics, in particular in spatial modelling and species co-existence patterns. He works with us on analysis of the data from various projects in Papua New Guinea and beyond.

DannyDanny Haelewaters

Researcher (part time)

Danny is an ecologist at University of Ghent, with interests in fungi community ecology and taxonomy, in particular in fungi pathogens of arthropods and bats. He is working part time currently on the project of Tom about the role of entomopathogenic fungi in shaping the insect diversity in Borneo.

milan newMilan Janda

Researcher (part time)

Milan is researcher at National Laboratory for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, UNAM, Mexico and in Institute of Entomology BC CAS in Ceske Budejovice. He is curator of and New Guinea regional pages on His research interests include ecology, biogeography and phylogeny of ants, and of other arthropods.


Phil-HoenlePhilipp Hönle

postdoc (2022-current)

Phil is interested in ants, and in all topics surrounding them, such as their ecology, taxonomy, chemistry, genetics and behavior. He did his phd with Nico  Bluthgen lab in Darmstadt in Germany on functional diversity of ant assemblages across stratification and successional gradients in Ecuador. He joined our lab to work on the canopy ant projects in Papua New Guinea.

Jiri TumaJiří Tůma

Postdoc (2020-current, part time). 

Jiří is interested in ecology, environment protection, and soil biology. His previous PhD study targeted the ant-termite interactions and their influence on soil properties through fragmentation of the Bornean rain forests.


Martin Brožák

Master student (2022-in current) 

Thesis topic: Effect of grazing on ant communities in reserves in Czech Republic (supervisor: P. Klimeš & M. Konvička)

Martin  worked previously on ground-dwelling ants from Papua New Guinea for his bachelor thesis with Petr previously. He recently joined our team for Masters programme to work on a project in pastures around Czech Republic and their associated ant fauna

Qian Qun Koid

Phd student (2022-now) 

Thesis topic: The impact of global anthropogenic change on arthropod-entomopathogenic fungus interactions (supervisor T. Fayle & V.Novotný).

Qian (Yvonne) has worked previously on her masters on canopy ant community ecology in Sabah, Borneo, with Dr. Kalsum Yusah.  She has joined the project about arthropod-fungi interactions of Dr.  Fayle, in which she will focus on the potential of those interactions to influence arthropod species richness in disturbed and pristine habitats.

Nils-Christian Schumacher

Phd student (2021-now) 

Thesis topic: The effects of interspecific interactions on the community structure of tropical forest ants. (supervisor P. Klimeš & V.Novotný).

Nils has worked previously on his masters on ant community ecology in Peru and Africa at Wuerzburg University. His PhD focuses on bait datasets collected previously by Petr’ team, as well as on the novel project using baits and artificial cavity nest experimental manipulations across forest plots in Papua New Guinea, to answer the role of interspecies dominance and interactions for the structuring of the canopy ant communities.

Frederik De Wint

Phd student (2021-now) 

Thesis topic: Entomopathogenic fungi as drivers of arthropod diversity along elevational gradients (supervisor T. Fayle & V.Novotný).

Frederik is greatly interested in the ecology and biodiversity of insects (mainly ants) and their symbionts. He has collaborated on multiple biodiversity projects concerning ants and other arthropods, but also bats (Europe, Central America and Africa). During his masters thesis he studied ecological and evolutionary fundamentals of the association between Red wood ants and Common rough woodlouse (Antwerp University). For his PhD project, he is interested in looking at how arthropods-entomopathogenic fungi interaction alters the arthropod diversity across the elevational gradient in tropical rainforest of Sabah.

Shafia Zahra

Phd student (2019-now) 

Thesis topic:Reverse Janzen Connell between ants and trees in Papua New Guinea Rainforest(supervisor: T. Fayle, co-advisers: P. Klimes and V. Novotny)

Shafia obtained her master from Northern Arizona University with research concerning the association between invasive tree species and native insect species. She also previously worked in several ecological projects in Indonesia such as the occupancy of the Javan warty pig with Chester Zoo and human-wildlife conflict with Komodo Survival Program. Her PhD is focussing on Reverse Janzen Connel hypothesis involving ant and trees in PNG rainforest.

Dan Leština

Phd student (2016-now) 

Thesis topic: Adverse effects of dispersal limits of mutualist ants and plants on fragmented populations’ persistence and whole ecosystem regeneration. (supervisor: T. Fayle)

Dan’s main interest is in the dispersal of species, populations and individuals across various temporal and spatial scales and its implications for biological conservation. His favourite model group before coming to the Ant Lab was butterflies, but he is interested in the natural history of many different taxa. Currently, he focuses on the effects of habitat degradation on the Macaranga-Crematogaster mutualism.


Pavel Potocký

Lab technician (since 2018)

Pavel help us with all skills regarding the insects. He masters ant specimen sorting, preparation, pinning, morphometry and photo-documentation. He has also a great taxonomic knowledge of and personal interests in Lepidoptera and Orthoptera; and he is learning now the ant species of Czech republic and New Guinea.

misa newMichaela Borovanska

Molecular lab manager (since start of our lab)

Michaela uses molecular methods to study phylogeny, population relationships, and social structure of insects. She is responsible for managing our molecular lab and works on processing and interpretation of population genetic and phylogeographic data as well as barcoding much of our Melanesian ant material (M. Janda, P. Klimes projects).

Jana-smallJana Šlancarová

Lab support (2014-2018 full time, 2019-part time)

Jana helps with the managment and technical support for projects in Borneo (PI: T. Fayle). She has expertise also with ecological and molecular work with insects in general. As a  postdoctoral researcher, she works in community ecology and life history of butterflies.

michal newMichal Němec

part-time contracts (technical support of data and ant images)


janJan Zima

Lab Technician (2011-2015)
Jan worked on various molecular aspects for our group including sequencing, and work with microsatellites and SNPs on ants.
He collaborated with M. Janda and P. Matos Maravi on ant molecular and population studies from the Pacific and PNG region.

simonsegarSimon Segar

researcher (part-time 2014-2018).

Simon is expert on the community phylogenetics in insect and plant ecology. His work ranges from fig wasp-figs mutualism to plant- and ant- herbivore interactions.

In current, he is based at Harper Adams University, UK, but he continues to collaborate with our lab and Department of Ecology at institute of Entomology.

mickalMickal Houadria

postdoc (2016-2018)

Mickal studied his Masters on “Trophic and temporal specialization in tropical ants and its relation to species coexistence and ecosystem functioning” previously in University of Mainz (research in Borneo and French Guyana).He has joined as postdoc the project of Tom Fayle on mutualism of Crematogaster ants with Macaranga trees in Sabah, Borneo. He is interested in the ecological factors driving species coexistince, coevolution and ecological function. He continues to collaborate with us from France in current on this project data

shuangShuang Xing

postdoc (2019-2021)

Shuang Xing is interested in community ecology, distribution patterns and conservation biology. Her research focuses on species distribution along environmental gradients and biodiversity conservation under global change impacts. She seeks to understand changes in interaction networks along natural and anthropogenic gradients with LifeWebs project. She continues to collaborate with us from China in current on this and other projects.


Jimmy Moses

Phd student (2016-2021) 

Thesis topic: Ecology of ants along elevational forest gradients in the tropics. (supervisor P. Klimeš & V.Novotný)

Jimmy has worked previously on his masters at University of Papua New Guinea with us and NGBRC. He sampled ants at Mt. Wilhelm; in his Phd thesis he focused on the Exxon pipeline project ant and botany monitorings along in the South of New Guinea, and on elevational patterns of ants at Mt. Wilhelm and beyond.

Jiri TumaJiří Tůma

PhD student (2014-2020). 

Thesis topic: Ants and termites interactions and their influence on soil properties in Bornean rain forest(supervisor T. Fayle, co-advisers: J. Frouz, V. Novotny)

Jiří is interested in ecology, environment protection, and soil biology. His PhD study targeted the ant-termite interactions and their influence on soil properties through fragmentation of the Bornean rain forests.

Ondra newOndřej Mottl

Phd student (2015-2019) 

Thesis topic: Spatial structure and community dynamics of arboreal ants in tropical rain forests (supervisor P. Klimeš).

Master´s student (2013-2015) Thesis topic: Structure and dynamics of arboreal ant communities along successional gradient in a mountain tropical forest of New Guinea. (supervisor P. Klimeš)

nic newNichola Plowman

PhD student (2012- November 2018).

Postdoctoral researcher (November 2018 – May 2019) 

Thesis topic: Mechanisms structuring arboreal ant communities along ecological gradients in New Guinea rainforests. (Supervisor: P. Klimeš).

Nic is interested in ecology, conservation and diversity in the tropics and especially the behavioural and community ecology of ants. Her PhD research focused on describing how the diversity, community composition and functional role of arboreal ants in Papua New Guinea changes along ecological gradients. She also participated as postdoctoral fellow on the project about Macaranga-ant association (PI T. Fayle) in Sabah and our lab.

pavel newPavel Matos Maravi

PhD student (2012-2016)

Thesis topic: Phylogeography and evolution of South Pacific ants. (Supervisor: M. Janda)

Pavel is interested in molecular phylogenetics, population genetics and phylogeography of insects, as well as historical biogeography and patterns of diversification in tropical regions. His PhD work aims to understand the origin and maintenance of ant diversity in Melanesia and the South Pacific, using molecular methods, ecological and biogeographical data. contact:

Martin Brožák

Bachelor student (2016-2019) 

Thesis topic: Effects of succession, stratification and temporal turnover on ant communities in a lowland rainforest. [Bc. Thesis, in Czech]. Faculty of Science, The University of South Bohemia.(supervisor: O. Mottl & P. Klimeš)

Martin  worked on sorting the samples of ground-dwelling ants, which were sampled by Petr previously in plots in New Guinea before trees were felled to explore canopy ants. This made an unique opportunity for the first time to see, how many different ant species are able to coexist in single piece of a primary and secondary lowland rainforest. from litter up to canopies, and how the sampling is affected by the methods and forest strata.

LenkaLenka Nosková

Bachelor´s student (2012-2014)

Thesis topic: Preferences of the basic components of food by central European species of ants. [Bc. Thesis, in Czech]. Faculty of Science, The University of South Bohemia. (supervisor P.Klimeš). Lenka worked on relative nutrient preferences of Czech ants, using Nate Sanders et al. sampling protocol. She used partly the previous datasets sampled by Petr, and added also few more  own sites. Results showed surprisingly low affinity of species and habitats sampled to particular nutrient preference in our country.

Karel Kopejtka

Bachelor´s student (2010-2011)

Thesis topic: Assessement of molecular methods for study of social organisation in ant colonies. [Bc. Thesis, in Czech] 48 pp, Faculty of Science, The University of South Bohemia. (supervisor M.Janda).

Lukáš Drag

Bachelor´s student (2007-2008)

Thesis topic: The effect of ants predation risk for herbivorous insect [Bc. Thesis, in Czech]. Faculty of Science, The University of South Bohemia. (supervisor M.Janda).

Klára Doubnerová

Bachelor´s student (2007-2008)

Thesis topic: Review to molecular phylogeography of Crematogaster polita [Bc. Thesis, in Czech]. Faculty of Science, The University of South Bohemia. (supervisor M.Janda).

Antonín Macháč

Bachelor´s student (2007-2008)

Thesis topic: Dominance of ants (macroecological and evolutionary meta-analysis [Bc. Thesis, in Czech]. Faculty of Science, The University of South Bohemia. (supervisor M.Janda).