New paper out in Ecology and Evolution lead by Aryel Goes: Distinct and enhanced hygienic responses of a leaf-cutting ant toward repeated fungi exposures. link



I was interviewed in relation to a paper on farming pocket gophers by the dutch newspaper De Volkskrant. link



New paper out in Fungal Ecology lead by Tatiane Pietrobon: Escovopsioides nivea is a non-specific antagonistic symbiont of ant-fungal crops. link



I gave an online talk entitled "Evolution to live with ants" at the British Mycological Society Autumn Meeting 2021, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK.



New paper out in Journal of Fungi lead by Rodolfo Bizarria Jr.: Climate Change Influences Basidiome Emergence of Leaf-Cutting Ant Cultivars. link



I gave an online talk in Portuguese entitled "Evolução para viver entre as formigas" for Semana da Biologia, UFSCar Lagoa do Sino. You can rewatch it here!



Received an extension of two years for my new position as Young Talent Researcher at the group of Andre Rodrigues, Laboratory of Fungal Ecology and Systematics, at UNESP - Rio Claro, Brazil. The position is funded under the PROGP-PrInt program from CAPES.



New paper out in Oecologia lead by Mark Lee: Relationships between resource availability and elevation vary between metrics creating gradients of nutritional complexity. link



New blog out briefly explaining my latest paper. link



I organised an online workshop in collaboration with Andre Rodrigues, Sabrina Almeida, Ilara Budzinski and Javi Jiménez-López entitled "The benefits and challenges of studying/working abroad"



New paper out in Nature Ecology and Evolution lead by Jonathan Shik: Nutritional niches reveal fundamental domestication trade-offs in fungus-farming ants. link



New paper out in Genome Biology and Evolution in collaboration with Jaume Pellicer: Genome size versus genome assemblies: are the genomes truly expanded in polyploid fungal symbionts? link



I presented some of my previous work in an online seminar entitled "Fungus-growing ants or ant-growing fungi: a matter of perspective in studying mutualisms" for Seminários Gerais, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Biológicas (Microbiologia Aplicada), UNESP, Rio Claro, Brazil,



New paper out in Frontiers Ecology and Evolution lead by Aryel Goes: How Do Leaf-Cutting Ants Recognize Antagonistic Microbes in Their Fungal Crops?



Started my new position as Young Talent Researcher at the group of Andre Rodrigues, Laboratory of Fungal Ecology and Systematics, at UNESP - Rio Claro, Brazil. The position is funded under the PROGP-PrInt program from CAPES.



Farewell Kabam! seminar at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, entitled "Why study ants at Kew?"



Co-authored the book "Fungarium: Welcome to the Museum" with the amazing mycology team at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (David L. Hawksworth, Laura M. Suz, Pepijn W. Kooij, Kare Liimatainen, Tome Prescott, Lee Davies and Ester Gaya) and the fantastic Katie Scott. link



Together with Ester Gaya, I wrote a Spanish piece on our field work in Boyacá, Colombia for the online magazine Revista Digital Fulica: Explorando la diversidad de hongos en Boyacá, Colombia.



New paper out in Animal Behaviour after about 5 years of hard work! The scent of symbiosis: gut bacteria may affect social interactions in leaf-cutting ants.



New paper out in Insects on fried leaf-cutting ant queens from Colombia. Cryptic Diversity in Colombian Edible Leaf-Cutting Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).



New paper out in Mycologia led by Beatriz. New species of Cortinarius sect. Austroamericani, sect. nov., from South American Nothofagaceae forests.



At RBG Kew the mycologists (incl. me) present the report State of the World's Fungi together with various mycologists from around the world during a 2-day symposium.



The trailer for the documentary of our second expedition in Boyacá, Colombia, is released!






















New paper out in Chemoecology led by Paul Green. The role of chemical signalling in maintenance of the fungus garden by leaf-cutting ants.



Brown-bag seminar at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, to inform staff about our first expedition to Colombia entitled "Boyacá's Forgotten Kingdom."



Got awarded a Newton Fund prime pump grant as PI with Ester Gaya as Senior-PI in collaboration with a large part of the RBG Kew mycologists (Paul Cannon, Laura Martinez-Suz, Tuula Niskanen, Begoña Aguirre-Hudson, Lee Davies and Rowena Hill). The grant is part of the ColombiaBio project in the department Boyacá (BoyacáBIO) and aims to investigate the fungal biodiversity in the department and strengthening the local knowledge on fungal biodiversity and taxonomy.



I gave a seminar at my old lab (Centre for Social Evolution) in Copenhagen entitled "On ants, fungus and hormigas culonas: phylogenetic studies of fungus-farming ants" presenting some of my new preliminary results.



New paper out in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution lead by Thais Vasconcelos entitled "Myrteae phylogeny, calibration, biogeography and diversification patterns: Increased understanding in the most species rich tribe of Myrtaceae"



My new Kew Science Blog is online. Both available here and at the Kew website.



Tomorrow I will be presenting some of my phylogenetic work, both fungi and ants, at the Universidad del Rosario, Bogota, Colombia.



Presented how RBG Kew is using the collections with regards to science, outreach and education at a workshop in Barranquilla, Colombia, organised by the British Research Council and Colciencias. And, all in Spanish!



Presented some of my newer fungal phylogenetic work at the 8th Brazilian Mycological Congress, in Florianopolis, alongside André Rodrigues, Bryn Dentinger, Fernando Pagnocca and Cristiano Menezes.



Working hard on a newly designed website. Stay tuned for more soon!



New paper out in PNAS lead by Jon Shik entitled "Nutrition mediates the expression of cultivar–farmer conflict in a fungus-growing ant"



New paper out in BMC Microbiology entitled "Ant mediated redistribution of a xyloglucanase enzyme in fungus gardens of Acromyrmex echinatior"



Giving a seminar at QUML today at the group of Yannick Wurm



I will be giving a seminar at RBG Kew 1st February and to talk about fungus-growing ants. For details please email kewscience(at)



I have been awarded a large BES grant to investigate possible roles of a virus infecting the fungus-growing ant fungal symbionts!



I wrote a blog about the mycological research we do at RBG Kew. Read it here!



New Scientist featured the paper on polyploidy in domesticated fungi in Journal of Evolutionary Biology. Link



My paper on somatic incompatibility and possible speciation in leaf-cutting ant fungi is now online at Fungal Ecology



My paper on polyploidy in domesticated fungi is now online at Journal of Evolutionary Biology



Two new papers accepted for publication (Journal of Evolutionary Biology and Fungal Ecology). I will post links to full versions as soon as they are online.



Today is the first official day at my new position at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Still trying to settle in, but soon I will be growing Leucoagaricus at full speed!



It’s official, today I signed a 3-year contract at the department of Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology (lead by Dr. Paula Rudall) Jodrell Laboratory, Kew Gardens, to work in the Comparative Fungal Biology section lead by Dr. Bryn Dentinger. I will continue my research on the fungal symbiont of fungus-growing ants, and will focus on the role and mechanisms of the asexuality of the fungus is this wonderful mutualism.



It’s been a while since last update. I’ve been working on some new projects in collaboration with Jon Shik. This Monday (the 15th) I will present some of our new results at the Northwest European section IUSSI winter meeting.



Back in Copenhagen, had a great conference in Australia.



Soon off to Cairns, Australia, for the IUSSI2014 world conference. I will present data on ploidy levels in the fungal symbionts on Monday 14 July, at 16.45, at the “Social insect host-microbe interactions”.



Two of my pictures got featured in a little story and interview with Rachelle Adams about leaf-cutting and other farming ants. Link here



In Gamboa, Panama, for 2 weeks of fieldwork



Paper entitled “Differences in forage-acquisition and fungal enzyme activity contribute to niche segregation in Panamanian leaf-cutting ants” now online at PLoS ONE



Successfully defended my PhD-thesis. PDF available at publications



Field work in Panama is planned from May 1 to 17



Paper entitled “Differences in forage-acquisition and fungal enzyme activity contribute to niche segregation in Panamanian leaf-cutting ants” accepted for publication at PLoS ONE



Date, time and location for PhD defense are set. For information please visit:



Abstract accepted for oral presentation at the IUSSI2014 world conference in Cairns, Australia



Website launched!



Now online at the ISME Journal: Leucoagaricus gongylophorus uses leaf-cutting ants to vector proteolytic enzymes towards new plant substrate.



PhD-thesis submitted



Paper Acromyrmex echinatior fecal fluid proteases accepted for publication in the ISME Journal



Awarded best oral presentation at the 1st annual PhD-Day of the Department of Biology, Copenhagen University


©Copyright 2022 Pepijn Kooij

p.kooij (at)

pepijn.kooij (at)