Dr. Frida Ben-Ami

Hebrew University , 2005

Phone: (Office) +972-3-640-6080

E-mail: frida@post.tau.ac.il
Room#: 304, Sherman Building
Member's portrait

Personal Information

Period of Study

Name of University




Tel Aviv University

Department of Zoology



University of Basel

Institute of Zoology



Research Interests

The research in my laboratory focuses on the evolution and ecology of host-parasite dynamics using invertebrates, mainly molluscs and waterfleas. Examples of research questions include: What are the adaptive consequences of parasite virulence? Is virulence adaptive for the parasite? What is the adaptive significance of genetic variation in hosts and parasites?

I am also interested in understanding the reasons for the persistence of sexual reproduction, asking questions such as what is sex good for, if only half of a parent’s genes are transmitted to its offspring? How can a sexual population compete with an asexual population that, all else equal, produces twice as many individuals? Do coevolutionary interactions between hosts and their parasites account for the widespread occurrence of sexual versus asexual reproduction (e.g., Red Queen hypothesis)?

The observation of hybridization events in molluscs raises questions about the establishment and maintenance of hybrid zones, and the effects of biotic and abiotic factors on hybrids.

We are in an age with a rapidly declining biodiversity. Unfortunately, the value of biodiversity has not been fully recognized today, and little is done to prevent its decline. Many species will go extinct before they have been investigated properly. My work aims to help fill this gap for molluscs in Israel , by studying their taxonomy and biogeography.

Full Publications

• Ben-Ami, F., Rigaud, T. & Ebert, D. 2011. The expression of virulence during double infections by different parasites with conflicting host exploitation and transmission
strategies. Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

• Duneau, D., Luijckx, P., Ben-Ami, F., Laforsch, C. & Ebert, D. 2011. Resolving the infection process reveals striking differences in the contribution of environment, genetics and phylogeny to host-parasite interactions. BMC Biology.

• Luijckx, P., Ben-Ami, F., Mouton, L., Du Pasquier, L. & Ebert, D. 2011. Cloning of the
unculturable parasite Pasteuria ramosa and its Daphnia host reveals extreme
genotype-genotype interactions. Ecology Letters 14: 125-131.

• Ben-Ami, F., Ebert, D. & Regoes, R. R. 2010. Pathogen dose infectivity curves as a method to analyze the distribution of host susceptibility: A quantitative assessment of maternal effects after food stress and pathogen exposure. The American Naturalist 175 : 106-115.

• Qi, W., Nong, G., Preston , J. F., Ben-Ami, F. & Ebert, D. 2009. Comparative metagenomics of Daphnia symbionts. BMC Genomics 10 : 172.
• Ben-Ami, F., Mouton, L. & Ebert, D. 2008. The effects of multiple infections on the expression and evolution of virulence in a Daphnia -endoparasite system. Evolution 62: 1700-1711.
• Ben-Ami, F., Regoes, R. R. & Ebert, D. 2008. A quantitative test of the relationship between parasite dose and infection probability across different host-parasite combinations. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 275: 853-859.
• Ben-Ami, F. & Heller, J. 2008. Sex versus parasitism versus density. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 93: 537-544.
• Sivan, N., Ben-Ami, F. & Heller, J. 2007. Taxonomy of Pliocene and quaternary Thiaridae (Gastropoda) of Israel . Journal of Conchology 39: 411-424.
• Ben-Ami, F. & Heller, J. 2007. Temporal patterns of geographic parthenogenesis in a freshwater snail. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 91: 711-718.
• Ben-Ami, F. 2006. First report of the invasive freshwater snail Tarebia granifera (Lamarck, 1816) (Gastropoda: Thiaridae) from Israel . The Nautilus 120: 156-161.
• Lefcort, H., Ben-Ami, F. & Heller, J. 2006. Terrestrial snails use predator-diet to assess danger. Journal of Ethology 24: 97-102.
• Ben-Ami, F., Gold, D. & Fried, B. 2005. Differential infectivity of Transversotrema patialense for naïve fish. Journal of Parasitology 91: 949-950.
• Heller, J., Mordan, P., Ben-Ami, F. & Sivan, N. 2005. Conchometrics, systematics and distribution of Melanopsis (Mollusca: Gastropoda) in the Levant . Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 144: 229-260.
• Ben-Ami, F. & Hodgson, A. N. 2005. Ovoviviparity and the structure of the brood pouch in Melanoides tuberculata (Gastropoda: Prosobranchia: Thiaridae). Journal of Morphology 263: 322-329.
• Ben-Ami, F. & Heller, J. 2005. Spatial and temporal patterns of parthenogenesis and parasitism in the freshwater snail Melanoides tuberculata . Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18: 138-146.
• Heller, J., Sivan, N. & Ben-Ami, F. 2002. Systematics of Melanopsis from the coastal plain of Israel (Gastropoda: Cerithioidea). Journal of Conchology 37: 589-606.
• Hodgson, A. N., Ben-Ami, F. & Heller, J. 2002. Ultrastructure of oogenesis in an ovoviviparous and an oviparous freshwater snail (Caenogastropoda). Invertebrate Reproduction and Development 41: 1-11.
• Ben-Ami, F. & Heller, J. 2001. Biological control of aquatic pest snails by the black carp Mylopharyngodon piceus . Biological Control 22: 131-138.

• Ben-Ami, F. & Sivan, N. 2000. A survey of landsnails from southwestern Jordan . Israel Journal of Zoology 46: 181-191.


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