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Dr. Mathias Franz

Mathias Franz

Rolff Group - Evolutionary Biology

Institute of Biology

Freie Universität Berlin


Königin-Luise-Straße 1-3
14195 Berlin
mathias.franz [at] fu-berlin [dot] de
2020 – present Postdoc, Rolff Group - Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Biology, Freie Universität Berlin
2019 – 2020 Researcher, Unit Epidemiology, Statistics and Exposure Modelling, Department Exposure, Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), Berlin
2015 – 2018 Postdoc, Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Berlin
2012 – 2015 Postdoc, Alberts Lab, Department of Biology, Duke University
2010 – 2012 Postdoc, Research group “Social Evolution in Primates”, Courant Research Centre “Evolution of Social Behavior”, University of Göttingen
2007 – 2009 Doctoral studies at the Department of Primatology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig

I am a theoretical biologist and biostatistician with a broad interest in ecology and evolution. In my research, I mainly address questions related to animal behaviour and the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases by (1) developing and analysing individual-based and mathematical models, and (2) developing and applying novel and established statistical methods, usually in collaboration with empirical projects.

My current research takes place within the research consortium 'Integrating insect immunity, microbiota and pathogens' funded by the German Research Council (DFG). In this consortium, we study the interaction of different insect species and their microbiotas and how this interplay shapes pathogen virulence. Some of my research projects in this context include (1) developing statistical approaches that deal with experimental limitations of measuring complex insect-pathogen interactions, (2) quantifying the effects of antimicrobials and interactions among multiple antimicrobials on pathogens, and (3) decomposing pathogen virulence into exploitation and per-parasite-pathogenicity.

Franz M*, Armitage SA, Rolff J & Regoes RR. 2023. Virulence decomposition for bifurcating infections. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 290: 20230396. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2023.0396

Hidalgo BA*, Silva LM*, Franz M*, Regoes RR & Armitage SA. 2022. Decomposing virulence to understand bacterial clearance in persistent infections. Nature Communications, 13: 5023. *shared first authors

Marescot L, Franz M, Benhaiem S, Hofer H, Scherer C, East ML & Kramer‐Schadt S. 2021. ‘Keeping the kids at home’ can limit the persistence of contagious pathogens in social animals. Journal of Animal Ecology, 90: 2523-2535.

Kaufholz T, Franz M, Hammerstein P, Müller-Graf C & Selhorst T. 2021. Community structure of domesticated pigs in livestock facilities. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 188: 105260.

Dayaram A, Seeber P, Courtiol A, Soilemetzidou S, Tsangaras K, Franz M, ... & Greenwood AD. 2021. Seasonal host and ecological drivers may promote restricted water as a viral vector. Science of The Total Environment, 773: 145446.

Prüter H, Franz M, Sönke T, Niklas B, Gudrun M, Ruben P & Czirják GÁ. 2020. Increased immune marker variance in a population of invasive birds. Scientific Reports, 10: 21764.

Levy EJ, Zipple MN, McLean E, Campos FA, Dasari M, Fogel AS, Franz M, ... & Archie EA. 2020. A comparison of dominance rank metrics reveals multiple competitive landscapes in an animal society. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 287: 20201013.

Levy EJ, Gesquiere LR, McLean E, Franz M, Warutere JK, Sayialel SN, … & Alberts SC. 2020. Higher dominance rank is associated with lower glucocorticoids in wild female baboons: a rank metric comparison. Hormones and Behavior, 125: 104826.

Tekemen D, Franz M, Bier NS, Richter M, Nöckler K, Luge E & Mayer-Scholl A. 2020. Survival time of Leptospira kirschneri on strawberries. Plos one, 15: e0237466.

Scherer C, Radchuk V, Franz M, Thulke HH, Lange M, Grimm V & Kramer-Schadt S. 2020. Moving infections: Individual movement decisions drive disease persistence in spatially structured landscapes. Oikos, 129: 651-667.

Seeber PA, Franz M, Greenwood AD & East ML. 2019. Life history stage and extrinsic factors affect behavioural time allocation in plains zebras (Equus quagga) in the Serengeti ecosystem. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 73: 1-13.

Soilemetzidou ES, De Bruin E, Franz M, Aschenborn OH, Rimmelzwaan GF, Van Beek R, Koopmans M, Greenwood AD & Czirják GÁ. 2019. Diet may drive influenza A virus exposure in African mammals. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 221: 175-182.

Müller‐Klein N, Heistermann M, Strube C, Franz M, Schülke O & Ostner J. 2019. Exposure and susceptibility drive reinfection with gastrointestinal parasites in a social primate. Functional Ecology, 33:1088-1098.

Seeber PA, Dayaram A, Sicks F, Osterrieder N, Franz M* & Greenwood AD*. 2019. Noninvasive Detection of Equid Herpesviruses in Fecal Samples. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 85: e02234-18.               * shared last authors

Riedel J, Boesch C & Franz M. 2019. Effects of large-scale knockouts on chimpanzee association networks. The Tai Chimpanzees: 40 years of Research. Cambridge University Press.

Müller-Klein N, Heistermann M, Strube C, Morbach ZM, Lilie N, Franz M, Schülke O & Ostner J. 2019. Physiological and social consequences of gastrointestinal nematode infection in a nonhuman primate. Behavioral Ecology, 30: 322-33.

Prüter H, Franz M, Auls S, Czirják GÁ, Greben O, Greenwood AD, Lisitsyna O, SyrotaY, Sitko J & Krone O. 2018. Chronic lead intoxication decreases intestinal helminth species richness and infection intensity in mallards (Anas platyrhynchos). Science of the Total Environment, 644: 151-160.

Seeber PA, Quintard B, Sicks F, Dehnhard M, Greenwood AD & Franz M. 2018. Environmental stressors may cause equine herpesvirus reactivation in captive Grévy’s zebras (Equus grevyi). PeerJ, 6: e5422.

Franz M, Kramer-Schadt S, Greenwood AD & Courtiol A. 2018. Sickness-induced lethargy can increase host contact rates and pathogen spread in water-limited landscapes. Functional Ecology, 32: 2194-2204.

Seeber PA, Franz M, Dehnhard M, Ganswindt A, Greenwood AD & East ML. 2018. Plains zebra (Equus quagga) adrenocortical activity increases during times of large aggregations in the Serengeti ecosystem. Hormones and Behavior, 102: 1-9.

Lesniak I, Heckmann I, Franz M, Greenwood AD, Heitlinger E, Hofer H & Krone O. 2018. Recolonizing gray wolves increase parasite infection risk in their prey. Ecology and Evolution, 8: 2160-2170.

Lesniak I, Franz M, Heckmann I, Greenwood AD, Hofer H & Krone O. 2017. Surrogate hosts: Hunting dogs and recolonizing grey wolves share their endoparasites. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 6: 278-286.

Franz M, Goodman LB, Van de Walle GR, Osterrieder N & Greenwood AD. 2017. Support for a virulence-transmission trade-off in a herpesvirus. Viruses, 9: 6.

van der Post DJ, Franz M, Laland KN. 2017. The evolution of social learning mechanisms and cultural phenomena in group foragers. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 17: 49.

Dayarama A, Franz M, Schattschneider A, Damianib AM, Bischofberger S, Osterrieder N & Greenwood AD. 2017. Long term stability and infectivity of herpesviruses in water. Scientific Reports, 7: 46559.

Akinyi M, Gesquiere L, Franz M, Onyango P, Altmann J & Alberts SC. 2017. Hormonal correlates of natal dispersal and rank attainment in wild male baboons. Hormones & Behavior, 94: 153-161.

Foerster S*, Franz M*, Murray CM, GilbyIC, Feldblum JT, Schroepfer-Walker K & Pusey AE. 2016. Chimpanzee females queue but males compete for social status. Scientific Reports, 6: 35404.   * shared first authors

van der Post DJ, Franz M, Laland KN. 2016. Skill learning and the evolution of social learning mechanisms. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 16:166.

Seltmann A, Franz M, Majolo B, Qarro M, Ostner J & Schülke O. 2016. Recruitment and monitoring behaviors by leaders predict following in wild Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus). Primate Biology, 3: 23-31.

Franz M, McLean E, Tung J, Altmann J & Alberts SC. 2015. Self-organizing dominance hierarchies in a wild primate population. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 282: 20151512.

Franz M & Alberts SC. 2015. Social network dynamics: the importance of distinguishing between heterogeneous and homogeneous changes. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 69:2059-2069.

Franz M, Altmann J & Alberts SC. 2015. Knockouts of high-ranking males have limited impact on baboon social networks. Current Zoology, 61: 107-113.

Bissonnette A*, Franz M*, Schülke O & Ostner J. 2014. Socioecology, but not cognition, predicts male coalitions across primates. Behavioral Ecology, 25: 794-801. * shared first authors

Franz M, Schülke O & Ostner J. 2013. Rapid evolution of cooperation in group-living animals. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 13:235.

Ostner J, VigilantL, Jyotsna Bhagavatula J,Franz M & Schülke O. 2013. Stable heterosexual associations in a promiscuous primate. Animal Behaviour, 68: 623-631.

Cooper N, Griffin R, Franz M, Omotayo M & Nunn CL. 2012. Phylogenetic host specificity and understanding parasite sharing in primates. Ecology Letters, 15: 1370-1377.

Franz M, van der Post D, Schülke O & Ostner J. 2011. The evolution of cooperative turn-taking in animal conflict. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 11:323.

Riedel J, Franz M & Boesch C. 2011. How feeding competition determines female chimpanzee gregariousness and ranging in the Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire. American Journal of Primatology,73:305–313.

Franz M & Matthews LJ. 2010. Social enhancement can create adaptive, arbitrary and maladaptive cultural traditions. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 277: 3363-3372.

Franz M & Caillaud D. 2010. Fitting Artificial Neural Network models to animal movement data: Some necessary precautions, a Comment on Dalziel et al. American Naturalist, 175: 759-761.

Franz M, Kramer-Schadt S, Kilian W, Wissel C & Groeneveld J. 2010. Can water management be adapted to rainfall regimes to reduce elephant impact on woody vegetation around waterholes? Ecological Modeling, 221: 2909–2917.

Franz M & Nunn CL. 2010. Investigating the impact of observation errors on the statistical performance of network-based diffusion analysis. Learning & Behavior, 38: 235-242.

Franz M & Nunn CL. 2009. Rapid evolution of social learning. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22: 1914–1922.

Franz M & Nunn CL. 2009. Network-based diffusion analysis: a new method for detecting social learning. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 276: 1829-1836.

Clemens S, Böttcher C, Franz M, Willscher E, von Roepenack-Lahaye E & Scheel D. 2006. Capillary HPLC Coupled to Electrospray Ionization Quadrupole Time-of-flight Mass Spectrometry. In: K. Saito, R.A. Dixon, and L. Willmitzer (eds.) Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry, Vol. 57, Plant Metabolomics. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 65-79.

von Roepenack-Lahaye E, Degenkolb T, Zerjeski M, Franz M, Roth U, Wessjohann LA, Schmidt J, Scheel D & Clemens S. 2004. Profiling of Arabidopsis secondary metabolites by capillary liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Plant Physiology, 134: 548-559.