Ayla Kesim

Marine Evolutionary Ecology Group

Room 615

phone +49 (0) 431 880 5197

Email: a.kesim@zoologie.uni-kiel.de

research interest

I am an evolutionary biologist with a background in experimental biology, evo-devo, and field ecology. During my undergraduate studies I explored a wide variety of evolutionary topics with different methodological approaches. For my PhD I am combining physiology, genomics and transcriptomics to investigate male pregnancy and immunity in our model species, the syngnathid fishes.

Sex, immunity, and male pregnancy

Sexual immune dimorphisms are found across the whole animal kingdom. This is often claimed to be rooted in sex, that is, the production of large and costly gametes versus small and inexpensive ones. Recent theory predicts, however, that immune differences between the sexes arise from a difference in life-history strategies (or sex role) that are tied to parental investment. Syngnathid fishes and their male pregnancy gradient allow us to keep sex and sex role separate in experimental setups to investigate these life-history strategies. In my PhD, I aim to quantify parental investment, find immunological reasons for unsuccessful pregnancies, and determine embryonic adaptations to the evolution of this highest form of parental care.


Scientific contributions


      *equal contribution

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