Dr. Caspar Schöning




Since September 2012:

Postdoctoral researcher in the research group „Functional Biodiversity“ at the Free University Berlin.

March 2008 – February 2011:

Postdoctoral researcher at the „Länderinstitut für Bienenkunde“, Hohen Neuendorf.

January – February 2008:

Field research at Mount Kenya with Dr. Joseph Ogutu (International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi) on the colony movements of army ants.

April – December 2007:

Field research at Bwindi (Uganda) with Dr. Martha Robbins (Max-Planck-Institut for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig) on insectivory of mountain gorillas.

December 2004 – March 2007:

Postdoctoral researcher in the research group of Prof. Jacobus Boomsma at the Department of Population Biology, University of Copenhagen (Denmark).

December 2000 – May 2004:

PhD study at the Freien Universität Berlin zum Thema “Evolutionary and behavioural ecology of Dorylus army ants“.

October 1995 – August 2000:

Biology studies at the Free University Berlin.


Research interests


Behavioural ecology of social insects


Current project

Project B3 in the Collaborative Research Centre 973 „Priming and memory of organismic responses to stress“ (funded by the German Research Foundation).



Publications (peer-reviewed)

Schöning C, Wurst S (accpeted). Positive effects of root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita) on nitrogen availability do not outweigh their negative effects on fitness in Nicotiana attenuata. Plant and Soil

Koops K, Schöning C,  Isaji M, Hashimoto C (2015). Cultural differences in ant-dipping tool length between neighbouring chimpanzee communities at Kalinzu, Uganda. Scientific Reports 77: 12456


Koops K, Schöning C, McGrew WC, Matsuzawa T (2015). Chimpanzees prey on army ants at Seringbara, Nimba Mountains, Guinea: Predation patterns and tool use characteristics. American Journal of Primatology 77: 319-329

Lechner S, Ferretti L, Schöning C, Kinuthia W, Willemsen D, Hasselmann M (2014). Nucleotide variability at its limit? Insights into the number and evolutionary dynamics of the sex-determining specificities of the honey bee Apis mellifera. Molecular Biology and Evolution 31: 272-287


Gruber K, Schöning C, Otte M, Kinuthia W, Hasselmann M (2013). Distinct subspecies or phenotypic plasticity? Genetic and morphological differentiation of mountain honey bees in East Africa. Ecology and Evolution 3: 3204-3218


Greggers U, Schöning C, Degen J, Menzel R (2013). Scouts behave as streakers in honey bee swarms. Naturwissenschaften 100: 805-809


Kleinschroth F, Schöning C, Kung'u JB, Kowarik I, Cierjacks A (2013). Regeneration of the East African timber tree Ocotea usambarensis in relation ot historical logging. Forest Ecology and Management 291: 396-403


Schöning C, Gisder S, Geiselhardt S, Kretschmann I, Bienefeld K, Hilker M, Genersch E (2012). Evidence for damage-dependent hygienic behaviour towards Varroa destructor-parasitised brood in the western honey bee Apis mellifera. Journal of Experimental Biology 215: 264-271


Kronauer DJC, Peters MK, Schöning C, Boomsma JJ (2011). Hybridization in East African swarm-raiding army ants. Frontiers in Zoology 8: 20


Schöning C, Shepard L, Sen A, Kinuthia W, Ogutu J (2011). Should I stay or should I go now? Patch use by African army ant colonies in relation to food availability and predation. Insectes Sociaux 58: 335-343


Sanz CM, Schöning C, Morgan DB (2010). Chimpanzees prey on army ants with specialized tool set. American Journal of Primatology 72: 17-24


Kronauer DJC, Schöning C, D’Ettore P, Boomsma JJ (2010). Colony fusion and worker reproduction after queen loss in army ants. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277: 755-763


Schöning C, Czusdi C, Kinuthia W, Ogutu J (2010). Influence of driver ant swarm raids on earthworm prey densities in the Mount Kenya forest: implications for prey population dynamics and colony migrations. Insectes Sociaux 57: 73-82


Schöning C, Njagi W, Kinuthia W (2008). Prey spectra of two swarm-raiding army ant species in East Africa. Journal of Zoology 274: 85-93


Schöning C, Kronauer DJK, Gotwald WH Jr, Vilhelmsen L, Boomsma JJ (2008). Taxonomy of the West African army ant Dorylus gribodoi Emery 1892 (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). Zootaxa 1749: 39-52


Schöning C, Humle T, Möbius Y, McGrew WC (2008). The nature of culture: technological variation in chimpanzee predation on army ants revisited. Journal of Human Evolution 55: 48-59


Schöning C, Moffett M (2007). Driver ants invading a termite nest – why do the most catholic predators of all seldom take this abundant prey? Biotropica 39: 663-667


Kronauer DJC, Schöning C, Vilhelmsen L, Boomsma JJ (2007). A molecular phylogeny of Dorylus army ants provides evidence for multiple evolutionary transitions in foraging niche. BMC Evolutionary Biology 7: 56


Schöning C, Ellis D, Fowler A, Sommer V (2007). Army ant availability and consumption by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes vellerosus) at Gashaka / Nigeria. Journal of Zoology 271: 125-133


Schöning C, Kinuthia W, Boomsma JJ (2006). Does the afrotropical army ant Dorylus (Anomma) molestus go extinct in fragmented forests? Journal of East African Natural History 95: 163-179


Kronauer DJC, Schöning C, Boomsma JJ (2006). Male parentage in the army ant Dorylus (Anomma) molestus. Molecular Ecology 15: 1147-1151


Schöning C, Kinuthia W, Franks NR (2005). Evolution of allometries in the worker caste of Dorylus army ants. Oikos 110: 231-240


Schöning C, Njagi W, Franks NR (2005). Temporal and spatial patterns in the emigrations of the army ant Dorylus (Anomma) molestus at Mt Kenya. Ecological Entomology 30: 532-540


Kronauer DJC, Schöning C, Pedersen J, Boomsma JJ, Gadau J (2004). Extreme queen-mating frequency and colony-fission in African army ants. Molecular Ecology 13: 2381-2388


Schöning C, Espadaler X, Hensen I, Roces F (2004). Seed predation of the tussock grass Stipa tenacissima L. by ants (Messor spp.) in southeastern Spain: the adaptive value of trypanocarpy. Journal of Arid Environments 56: 43-61


Schöning C, Flieger M, Pertz H (2001). Complex interactions of ergovaline with 5-HT2A, 5-HT1B/1D and alpha1 receptors in isolated arteries of rat and guinea pig. Journal of Animal Science 79: 2202–2209