Using ‘living fossils’, graduate student investigates evolution and antibiotic resistance

All gardeners know what it’s like to try and weed a garden. Even when you keep up with it, sometimes you miss a root or a seed, and the weeds grow back.

As it turns out, this experience applies not only to human gardeners but also to a type of ant that farms its own garden of fungus.

PhD candidate Kirsten Gotting studies evolutionary biology and fungus-growing ants as a member of the Currie Lab in the Department of Bacteriology and the Genetics Training Program. The Currie Lab’s collection of leaf-cutter ants, one of many types of fungus-growing ant, offers a window into the relationships between the ants, the fungus, and other pathogens and bacteria.