WIR - Würzburg Insect Research is based on a strong tradition (with eminent researchers like Martin Heisenberg, Bert Hölldobler, Martin Lindauer, Karl Eduard Linsenmair, and Theodor A. Wohlfahrt) and a strong research focus on social insects and Drosophila. WIR is an active network of collaborating laboratories that transcends institute and faculty borders at the University of Würzburg. WIR includes researchers at the Neurobiology and Genetics, Zoology II, Zoology III, and further groups at the Biocenter belonging to the Biological or Medical faculty, as well as the Center for Computational and Theoretical Biology.
The common topic behind most of the current research is the fundamental question how animals adapt their behaviour to cope with a complex and changing environment, a question that has become especially pertinent in the time of global change. Behaviour is the final product of a complex interplay between endogenous and exogenous factors and critically determines interactions of organisms with their environment. The prime goal of WIR is to understand the mechanisms underlying insect behaviour and its adaptability using an integrative approach – from the molecular, sensory and neuronal mechanisms to the function of social and ecological interactions, up to their evolutionary foundations and consequences.
To reach this goal, WIR fosters a conceptual and methodological broadness, ranging from the molecular and neuronal to the organismic levels of insect research such as neurobiology, individual behaviour, social interactions, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. This makes interdisciplinary collaborations easy, especially as most researchers are based at the Biocenter.