Janine Wong

University of Basel
Department of Environmental Sciences
Evolution & Zoology
Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel


+41 (0)61 267 03 27

+41 (0)61 267 03 62


Janine Wong

Graduate student in the group of Dr Mathias Kölliker. Works on family interactions and maternal-care using the common European earwig (Forficula auricularia) as model species.

Research interest

I am generally interested in interactions between individuals, especially cooperation and conflicts. Thus, I investigate how conflicts can be solved or maybe even avoided and which factors might be crucial for the outcome of a conflict. I also try to identify the costs and benefits for both sides. Furthermore, I am curious about communication between individuals and how cues might be used for signaling or manipulation.

Current research

The focus of my dissertation lies on environmental influences on maternal care, family dynamics and family odors in the European earwig (Forficula auricularia), a sub-social insect species. Here, females provide maternal care in the form of egg and offspring attendance, and food provisioning to their nymphs. Maternal care enhances offspring survival, but comes at a cost to the female regarding her future reproductive success. This leads to a conflict between the mother and the offspring about the amount and duration of care provided. A key-question in conflict resolution is whether parents or offspring behaviorally control parent-offspring interactions. Some of my conducted and planned projects test behavioral control, within and between family dynamics as well as kin recognition mechanisms. Moreover, I investigate cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of distinct treatment groups to better understand communication between individuals. I use behavioral experiments and chemical ecology to answer my questions.

Previous research

Sex allocation theory predicts that in small, outcrossing mating groups simultaneous hermaphroditism is the optimal form of gender expression. Under these conditions, male allocation is predicted to be very low and overall per-capita reproductive output maximal. This is particularly true for monogamy, but since it is highly susceptible to cheating by both partners, the question is how monogamy can be maintained in hermaphrodites. In my Diploma (Master) thesis I investigated the influence of group size on pair stability and molting cycles in a pair-living protandric simultaneous hermaphroditic shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis). The effect of group size was very strong: Supernumerous individuals were killed in aggressive interactions, resulting in a group size of two individuals and hence in monogamy.

Curriculum vitae

1982 born in Stuttgart, Germany
currently Research Associate at University of Basel, Kölliker group
2009 - 2013 Graduate student at University of Basel, Kölliker group
2008 Diploma in Biology, University of Tübingen
Thesis: "Sex allocation and social structure in the marine shrimp Lysmata amboinensis"; supervised by Prof. Nico Michiels
2002 - 2008 Studies in Biology at University of Tübingen, Germany