Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Dr. Eckart Stolle


Dr. Eckart Stolle

room 6.06
Hoher Weg 8
06099 Ĥalle (Saale)

phone: (0049) 03455526502
fax: (0049) 03455527152
eckart.stolle --at--

GoogleScholar | GitHub
ORCID 0000-0001-7638-4061
ResearchGate | FigShare
ResearcherID G-3780-2011

Research Interests

  • entomology, particularly (social) Hymenoptera (Insecta)
  • evolutionary and functional genomics | genome and chromosome evolution
  • social insect societies, behaviour and evolution
  • biodiversity, systematics, phylogeny, conservation of hymenopteran insects
  • supergenes, recombination, transposable elements

Evolutionary and Functional Genomics of social insects

Through complex processes evolution is constantly shaping species and populations. Due to novel phenotypic traits some species can adapt to specific environmental conditions. However, little is known about specific processes and molecular mechanisms involved. Functional genomics (e.g., by RNAi and RNAseq) helps us to understand the molecular mechanisms and regulations underlying such novel phenotypic traits, and comparative/population genomics (e.g., whole genome sequencing, RESTseq/RADseq, RNAseq, with Illumina, PacBio, Nanopore) allows us to understand the evolutionary origins and processes involved.

Topics are:
  • Evolution of sociality, e.g. in bees (comparative genomics)
  • Trade-off between longevity and fecundity in social insects (functional genomics)
  • Evolution of supergenes, e.g. in ants (comparative/population genomics)
  • Evolutionary genetic processes and degeneration of supergenes or regions of limited recombination (comparative/population genomics)
  • Genomic mapping of reproduction/fecundity in bees (e.g. thelytoky, genetic queen determination) (functional/population genomics)
  • Evolution of genome structure and impact of transposable elements

Population Genetics, Conservation and Conservation Genomics

Many insect and pollinator species are threatened by habitat loss other factors and are thought to be largely in decline. Some species are more impacted than others. A decline in a species or population can have an profound impact on the health and genetic composition. Often fragmentation leads to increased inbredding with deleterious genetic effects accumulating and genetic diversity and exchange with other populations declining. In the long run, this hampers the adaptibility of a species for changing environments. But we know little about the status of many species nor their genetic diversity. We also know little about the limits a population can tolerate. Thus, we are interested in applying modern sequencing technologies to inform about:
Which species are in decline and why?
How is decline and fragmentation of populations impacting the genetic diversity?
What are the limits for a population's genetic diversity and size?
How is genetic diversity shaped in extremely rare species?

Topics are:
  • Population genetics and inbreeding avoidance in fragmented subtropical stingless bees
  • Temporal population genomics of a specialist (oligolectic) bee species with only a single small and extremely isolated population in Germany
  • Measuring genetic diversity in extremely rare / highly specialized insect species as well parasitic species
  • Red Data Books/Lists and surveys for Conservation on a local/national level

Interested to join the lab?

If you are interested in doing a Masters or PhD project in our lab on the listed or similar topics, please contact us.
Funded/open positions are published here, wehn available. Otherwise there are possibilities to get funded through a scholarship.
for nationals a DeutschlandStipendium might be an option, for internationals countryspecific funding opportunities might be an option. If you want to come to Germany for a Master or PhD, the DAAD offers stipends. Other option might be DFG, or the Humboldt Foundation.


See also [Google Scholar]
  1. Degenerative expansion of a young supergene
    Stolle E°,Pracana R, Howard P, Paris CI, Brown SJ, Castillo-Carrillo CA, Rossitter SJ , Y Wurm°
    bioRxiv doi:
  2. Fire ant social chromosomes: Differences in number, sequence and expression of odorant binding proteins
    Pracana R*, Levantis I*, Martinez-Ruiz C, Stolle E, Priyam A, Y Wurm°
    Evolution Letters 1-4: 199-210, 2017
  3. Microsatellite analysis supports the existence of three cryptic species within the bumble bee Bombus lucorum sensu lato
    McKendrick L°, Provan J, Fitzpatrick U, Brown MJF, Murray TE, Stolle E, Paxton RJ
    Conservation Genetics 18(3): 573–584, 2017
  4. Social evolution. Genomic signatures of evolutionary transitions from solitary to group living
    Kapheim KM*°, Pan H*,.., Stolle E,.., Robinson GE, Zhang G
    Science 348(6239): 1139-1143, 2015
  5. The genomes of two key bumblebee species with primitive eusocial organization
    Sadd BM°,.., Stolle E,.., Schmid-Hempel P, Worley K°
    Genome Biology 16:76, 2015
  6. The First Myriapod Genome Sequence Reveals Conservative Arthropod Gene Content and Genome Organisation in the Centipede Strigamia maritima
    Chipman AD,.., Stolle E,.., Richards S°
    PLoS Biology 12(11): e1002005, 2014
  7. Finding the missing honey bee genes: lessons learned from a genome upgrade
    Elsik CG°, Worley K°,.., Stolle E,.., Gibbs R
    BMC Genomics 15:86, 2014
  8. RESTseq – Efficient Benchtop Population Genomics with RESTriction fragment SEQuencing
    Stolle E°, Moritz RFA
    PLoS ONE 8(5): e63960, 2013
  9. Patterns of Evolutionary Conservation of Microsatellites (SSRs) Suggest a Faster Rate of Genome Evolution in Hymenoptera Than in Diptera
    Stolle E°, Kidner JH, Moritz RFA
    BMC Genomics 15:86, 2013
  10. Alternative splicing of a single transcription factor drives selfish reproductive behavior in honeybee workers (Apis mellifera)
    Jarosch A°, Stolle E, Crewe RM, Moritz RFA
    PNAS 108(37): 15282-15287, 2011
  11. A second generation genetic map of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758) reveals slow genome and chromosome evolution in the Apidae
    Stolle E°, Wilfert L, Schmid-Hempel R, Schmid-Hempel P, Kube M, Reinhardt R, Moritz RFA
    BMC Genomics 15:86, 2011
  12. Estimating the Density of Honeybee Colonies across Their Natural Range to Fill the Gap in Pollinator Decline Censuses
    Jaffé R°, Dietemann V, Allsopp MH, Costa C, Crewe RM, Dall’Olio R, de la Rúa P, El-Niweiri MAA, Fries I, Kezic N, Meusel MS, Paxton RJ, Shaibi T, Stolle E, Moritz RFA
    Conservation Biology 24(2):583-593, 2010
  13. Novel microsatellite DNA loci for Bombus terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758)
    Stolle E°, Rohde M, Vautrin D, Solignac M, Schmid-Hempel R, Schmid-Hempel P, Moritz RFA
    Molecular Ecology Resources 9(5): 1345-1352, 2009
  14. Flower visitors in a natural population of Arabidopsis thaliana
    Hoffmann MH°, Bremer M, Schneider K, Burger F, Stolle E, Moritz G
    Plant Biology 5(5): 491-494, 2003


  • 2017 University Halle, researcher/postdoc/assistant professor
  • 2015-2017 Marie-Curie IEF Fellow, Queen Mary University of London, ant evolutionary genomics group of Dr. Y. Wurm
  • 2014-15 DAAD PostDoc, Queen Mary University of London, group of Y. Wurm
  • 2014 visiting scientist University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 2014 visiting professor University Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • 2011-2014 research assistant BioSolutions GmbH, Halle
  • 2013 PhD, University Halle, Molecular Ecology group of Prof. R. Moritz
  • 2007-2010 research assistant University Halle, Molecular Ecology group of Prof. R. Moritz
  • 2007 Diploma (Biology), University Halle

Institut für Biologie, Hoher Weg 8, 06099 Halle, Germany