Forschungsgruppe - Parental Investment and Immune Dynamics


Why males and females exist and how sex roles have evolved belong to the most controversial issues in evolutionary biology. We examine the evolution of male pregnancy in pipefishes and seahorses (syngnathids) by addressing its genetic basis and the modulations of the immune system. Insights into joint and distinct loss or recruitment of genes along with the establishment of novel genes for male vs. female pregnancy, will help to unravel convergent evolution of parental investment and pregnancy.


Research Group - Parental Investment and Immune Dynamics - September 2018



Olivia Roth - Group Leader
Ralf Schneider - Postdoc
Isabel Tanger - Postdoc
Henry Göhlich - PhD Student
Jamie Parker - PhD Student
Agnes Piecyk - Postdoc


Convergent evolution of immunological tolerance in female and male pregnancy DFG Project - PI: Dr. Olivia Roth

Implications of anthropogenic stressors on rapid coadaptation in a tripartite species interaction DFG Priority Programme - Rapid evolutionary Adaptation - Phase I- PI: Dr. Carolin Wendling, Co-PI: Dr. Olivia Roth

Unravelling tripartite species co-evolution under environmental change: can prophages accelerate bacterial virulence evolution DFG Priority Programme - Rapid evolutionary Adaptation - Phase II - PI: Dr. Olivia Roth & Dr. Carolin Wendling

MALEPREG: Male pregnancy - unravelling the coevolution of parental Investment and immune defence ERC Starting Grant - PI: Dr. Olivia Roth


33. Wendling CC, Göhlich H & Roth O. 2018. The structure of temperate phage-bacteria infection networks changes with the phylogenetic distance of the host bacteria. Biology Letters. In press.

32. Roth O, Beemelmanns A, Barribeau SM & Sadd BM. 2018. Recent advances in vertebrate and invertebrate transgenerational immunity in the light of ecology and evolution. Heredity: 1

31. Keller IS, Bayer T, Salzburger W, Roth O. 2018. Effects of parental care on resource allocation into immune defence and buccal microbiota in mouthbrooding cichlid fishes. Evolution. 72: 1109 – 1123.

30. Keller I, Salzburger W & Roth O. 2017. Parental investment matters for maternal and offspring immune defense in the mouthbrooding cichlid Astatotilapia burtoni. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 17: 264

29. Franke A, Roth O, De Schryver P, Bayer T, Garcia-Gonzalez L, Künzel S, Miest JJ, Clemmesen C. 2017. Poly-β-hydroxybutyrate administration during early life: effects on performance, immunity and microbial community of European sea bass yolk-sac larvae. Scientific Reports. 7: 15022

28. Egger B, Rösti M, Böhne A, Roth O & Salzburger W. 2017. Phylogenomics, demographic history and genome divergence of lake and stream populations of an East African cichlid fish. Molecular Ecology 26: 5016-5030. 

27. Franke A, Clemmesen C, De Schryver P, Garcia-Gonzalez L, Miest JJ & Roth O. 2017. Immunostimulatory effects of dietary poly-β-hydroxybutyrate in European sea bass juveniles. Aquaculture Nutrition. 48: 5707 - 5717

26. Wendling CC, Piecyk A, Refardt D, Chibani C, Hertel R, Liesegang H, Bunk B & Roth O. 2017. Tripartite species interaction: eukaryotic hosts suffer more from phage susceptible than from phage resistant bacteria. BMC Evolutionary Biology 17: 98.

25. Poirier M, Listmann L & Roth O. 2017. Selection by higher-order effects of salinity and bacteria on early life-stages of Western Baltic spring-spawning herring. Evolutionary Applications 10: 603-615.

24. Roth O & Landis SH. 2017. Trans-generational plasticity in response to immune challenge is constrained by heat stress, Evolutionary Applications 10: 514-528.

23. Beemelmanns A & Roth O. 2017. Grandparental immune priming in the pipefish Syngnathus typhle. BMC Evolutionary Biology 17: 44.

22. Theis A, Roth O, Cortesi F, Ronco F, Salzburger W & Egger B. 2017. Variation of anal fin egg-spots along an environmental gradient in a haplochromine cichlid fish. Evolution 71: 766-777.

21. Beemelmanns A & Roth O. Bacteria-type specific biparental immune priming in the pipefish Syngnathus typhle. Ecology & Evolution 6: 6735 – 6767.

20. Beemelmanns A & Roth O (2016). Biparental immune priming in the pipefish Syngnathus typhle. Zoology 119: 262 - 272.

19. Landis SH, Sundin J, Rosenqvist G, Poirier M, Oistensen Jorgensen G & Roth O (2015). Female pipefish can detect the immune status of their mates. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 12: 1917-1923.

18. Joop G, Roth O, Schmid-Hempel P & Kurtz J (2014). Balancing external and internal immune defences in an insect. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 27: 1562-1571.

17. Roth O, Sundin J, Berglund A, Rosenqvist G & Wegner KM (2014). Male mate choice relies on MHC class I in a sex-role reversed fish. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 27: 929-938.

16. Bolte S, Roth O, Philipp EER, Saphörster J, Rosenstiel P & Reusch TBH (2013). Specific immune priming in the invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi. Biology Letters 9.

15. Diepeveen E, Roth O, Salzburger W (2013). Immune-related function of the HIVEP gene family in East African Cichlid Fishes. G3-Genes Genomes Genetics, 3: 2205-2217.

14. Haase D*, Roth O*, Kalbe M, Schmiedeskamp G, Scharsack JP, Rosenstiel B & Reusch TBH (2013). Functional absence of MHC class II mediated immunity in pipefish Syngnathus typhle. Biology Letters 9, * authors contributed equally

13. Roth O, Klein V, Beemelmanns A, Scharsack JP & Reusch TBH (2012). Male pregnancy and bi-parental immune priming. American Naturalist, 180: 802-814.

12. Birrer S, Reusch TBH & Roth O (2012). Lowered salinity under global change will impair pipefish immune defence. Fish & Shellfish Immunology, 33: 1238-1248.

11. Landis SH, Sundin J, Rosenqvist G & Roth O (2012). Behavioural adjustments of a pipefish to a bacterial Vibrio infection. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 66: 1399-1405.

10. Roth O, Keller I, Landis SH, Salzburger W & Reusch TBH (2012). Hosts are ahead in a marine host-parasite coevolutionary arms race: innate immune system adaptation in pipefish Syngnathus typhle against Vibrio phylotypes. Evolution, 66: 2528-2539.

9. Landis SH, Kalbe M, Reusch TBH & Roth O (2012). Consistent pattern of local adaptation during an experimental heat wave in a pipefish-trematode host-parasite system. Plos One, 7: e30658.

8. Roth O, Scharsack, JP, Keller I & Reusch TBH (2011). Bateman´s principle and immunity in a sex-role reversed pipefish. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24: 1410 - 1420.

7. Asshoff R & Roth O (2011). Fostering students´inquirey skills: Developmental time & offspring rates of flour beetles. The American Biology Teacher 73: 232-23.

6. Roth O, Kurtz J, Reusch TBH (2010). A summer heat wave decreases the immunocompetence of the mesograzer, Idotea baltica. Marine Biology 157: 1605 - 1611.

5. Roth O, Joop G, Eggert H, Hilbert J, Daniel J, Schmid-Hempel P & Kurtz J (2010). Paternally derived immune priming for offspring in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Journal of Animal Ecology 79: 403 - 410.  

4. Roth O & Kurtz J (2009). Phagocytosis mediates specificity in the immune defence of an invertebrate, the woodlouse Porcellia scaber (Crustacea: Isopoda). Dev Comp Immunol 33: 1151 - 1155.  

3. Roth O, Sadd BM, Schmid-Hempel P & Kurtz J (2009). Strain-specific priming of resistance in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Proc R Soc B-Biol Sci 276: 145 - 151.

2. Roth O & Kurtz J (2008). The stimulation of immune defence accelerates development in the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum). Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21: 1703 - 1710.

1. Roth O, Ebert D, Vizoso DB, Bieger A & Lass S (2008). Male-biased sex-ratio distortion caused by Octosporea bayeri, a vertically and horizontally transmitted parasite of Daphnia magna. International Journal for Parasitology 38: 969-979.



Artikel über unsere Forschung


Isabel Tanger - PhD defence - May 2017
Andrea Franke - PhD defence - December 2016

Anne Beemelmanns - PhD defence - May 2016
Pipefish Experiment - June 2017