Francisca Segers


Email:    segers[at]

Phone:  +49 69/798 42121

Research interests:

By comparing the genomic features of closely related organisms, we can reconstruct the genomic changes that have occurred when species diverged. For example, by identifying the presence and absence of genes in the genomes of existing species we can deduct the evolutionary changes that happened at the ancestral nodes of a phylogenetic tree. In this manner, molecular correlates with evolutionary transitions can be investigated to reveal the genetic toolkits associated with certain organismic lifestyles and functional niches. Our research project employs comparative genomic methods to analyse the evolution of protein interaction networks, and how they are integrated across symbiotic partners, in a functional context. 

We concentrate on pioneering communities, i.e. meta-organisms that are the first to conquer new, and often extreme, habitats, such as saline and nutrient-poor soils. In the framework of this project we plan to sequence multiple species of the plant genus Lysimachia (family Primulaceae). A member of this genus, sea milkwort (Lysimachia maritima or Glaux maritima), is part of primary succession communities in European coastal areas, while other Lysimachia species occur mainly in non-saline inland habitats. By examining the functional content of Lysimachia genomes and their root symbionts we aim to shed light on how sea milkwort is able to grow in a pioneering community in a high saline environment and in how far this is accomplished with the help of a symbiotic metabolic toolkit. This project is financed by the LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (

Publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals:

19. Segers, F.H.I.D, Kaltenpoth, M. & Foitzik, S. (2019). Abdominal microbial communities in ants depend on colony membership rather than caste and are linked to colony productivity. Ecology and Evolution, accepted.

18. Peng, T.*, Segers, F. H.I.D.*, Nascimento, F., & Grüter, C. (2019). Resource profitability, but not caffeine, affects individual and collective foraging in the stingless bee Plebeia droryana. Journal of Experimental Biology, 222(10), jeb195503. *Both authors contributed equally.

17. Baudier, K. M., Ostwald, M. M., Grüter, C., Segers, F. H., Roubik, D. W., Pavlic, T. P., ... & Fewell, J. H. (2019). Changing of the guard: mixed specialization and flexibility in nest defense (Tetragonisca angustula). Behavioral Ecology, 30(4), 1041-1049.

16. Grüter, C., Segers, F. H., Santos, L. L., Hammel, B., Zimmermann, U., & Nascimento, F. S. (2017). Enemy recognition is linked to soldier size in a polymorphic stingless bee. Biology Letters, 13(10), 20170511.

15. Segers, F.H.I.D., Kešnerová L., Kosoy M. & Engel P. Genomic changes associated with the evolutionary transition of an insect gut commensal into a blood-borne pathogen. (2017). The ISME Journal, 11(5), 1232-1244.

14. Harms, A., Segers, F. H.I.D., Quebatte, M., Mistl, C., Manfredi, P., Körner, J., ... & Dehio, C. (2017). Evolutionary dynamics of pathoadaptation revealed by three independent acquisitions of the VirB/D4 Type IV Secretion System in Bartonella. Genome Biology and Evolution, 9(3), 761.

13. Grüter C.*, Segers F.H.I.D.*, Menezes C., Vollet-Neto A., Falcon T., von Zuben L., Bitondi, M., Nascimento F. & Almeida E. (2017). Repeated evolution of soldier sub-castes suggests parasitism drives social complexity in stingless bees. Nature Communications, 8(1), 4. *Both authors contributed equally.

12. Morales, M., Sentchilo, V., Bertelli, C., Komljenovic, A., Kryuchkova-Mostacci, N., Bourdilloud, A., Linke, B., Goesmann, A., Harshman, K., Segers, F. ... & Delapierre, F. (2016). The genome of the toluene-degrading Pseudomonas veronii strain 1YdBTEX2 and its differential gene expression in contaminated sand. PLOS ONE, 11(11), e0165850.

11. Segers, F.H.I.D., von Zuben, L.G., & Grüter, C. (2016). Local differences in parasitism and competition shape defensive investment in a polymorphic eusocial bee. Ecology, 97(2), 417-426.

10. Grüter, C., von Zuben, L.G., Segers, F.H.I.D., & Cunningham, J.P. (2016). Warfare in stingless bees. Insectes Sociaux, 63(2), 223-236.

9. Segers, F.H.I.D., Menezes, C., Vollet-Neto, A., Lambert, D., & Grüter, C. (2015). Soldier production in a stingless bee depends on rearing location and nurse behaviour. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 69(4), 613-623.

8. Couvillon, M.J., Segers, F.H.I.D., Cooper-Bowman, R., Truslove, G., Nascimento, D.L., Nascimento, F.S., & Ratnieks, F.L. (2013). Context affects nestmate recognition errors in honey bees and stingless bees. Journal of Experimental Biology, 216(16), 3055-3061.

7. Grüter, C., Segers, F.H.I.D., & Ratnieks, F.L. (2013). Social learning strategies in honeybee foragers: do the costs of using private information affect the use of social information? Animal Behaviour, 85(6), 1443-1449.

6. Segers, F.H.I.D., & Taborsky, B. (2012). Competition level determines compensatory growth abilities. Behavioral Ecology, 23 (3): 665-671.

5. Segers, F.H.I.D., & Taborsky, B. (2012). Juvenile exposure to predator cues induces a larger egg size in fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 279(1728), 1241-1248.

4. Segers, F.H.I.D., Berishvili, G., & Taborsky, B. (2012). Egg size-dependent expression of growth hormone receptor accompanies compensatory growth in fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 279(1728), 592-600.

3. Segers, F.H.I.D., Gerber, B., & Taborsky, B. (2011). Do maternal food deprivation and offspring predator cues interactively affect maternal effort in fish? Ethology, 117(8), 708-721.

2. Segers, F.H.I.D., & Taborsky, B. (2011). Egg size and food abundance interactively affect juvenile growth and behaviour. Functional Ecology, 25(1), 166-176.

1. Segers, F.H.I.D., Dickey-Collas, M., & Rijnsdorp, A.D. (2007). Prey selection by North Sea herring (Clupea harengus), with special reference to fish eggs. ICES Journal of Marine Science: Journal du Conseil, 64(1), 60-68.


Arbeitskreis Angewandte Bioinformatik

Institut für Zellbiologie & Neurowissenschaft

Prof. Dr. Ingo Ebersberger

Biologicum, Campus Riedberg
Gebäudeteil B, 3.OG
Max-von-Laue-Straße 13
60438 Frankfurt am Main

T +49 69 798 - 42112

Sprechzeiten nach Vereinbarung.

Anne Hänel
Room 3.205
T +49 69 798-42110