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The adaptive significance of communication and learning for colony success in honey bees

Gesuchsteller/in Grüter Christoph
Nummer 142628
Förderungsinstrument Ambizione
Forschungseinrichtung Département d'Ecologie et d'Evolution Faculté de Biologie et de Médecine Université de Lausanne
Hochschule Universität Lausanne - LA
Hauptdisziplin Oekologie
Beginn/Ende 01.09.2013 - 30.09.2017
Bewilligter Betrag 508'808.00
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Alle Disziplinen (2)

Disziplin
Oekologie
Zoologie

Keywords (6)

collective behaviour; honeybee; communication; learning; social learning strategies; meliponini

Lay Summary (Deutsch)

Lead
Das Ziel dieses Projektes ist es besser zu verstehen, wie Arbeiterinnen eines Honigbienenstaates Information aus ihrer Umgebung verwenden und aufgrund dieser Information ihr Verhalten anpassen. Ausserdem soll untersucht werden, wie diese Verhaltensregeln den Erfolg des ganzen Insektenstaates beinflussen.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojektes

Insektenstaaten benötigen eine effiziente Organisation um eine optimale kollektive Leistung zu erbringen. Verschiedene Gruppen von Arbeitnehmern sind verantwortlich für die diversen Arbeiten, die in einer Kolonie erledigt werden müssen. Zu diesen Aufgaben gehören z.B. Brutpflege, Kolonie-Verteidigung oder die Futtersuche. Insektenstaaten zeigen eine beeindruckende Fähigkeit auf plötzliche Veränderungen in der Umwelt durch positive und negative Feedback-Mechanismen, die zur Umverteilung der Arbeiterinnen führen, zu reagieren. Attraktive und hemmende Pheromone während der Nahrungssuche bei Ameisen oder der Schwänzeltanz bei Bienen sind Beispiele für solche positiven und negativen Feedbacks. Der Schlüssel zu einer erfolgreichen Organisation und Regulation der kollektiven Arbeit ist die Fähigkeit der Arbeiterinnen, auf Information aus dem lokalen Umfeld zu reagieren. Das Ziel dieses Projektes ist es besser zu verstehen, wie Arbeiterinnen Information aus ihrer Umgebung verwenden und aufgrund dieser Information ihr Verhalten anpassen.

Diese Verhaltensregeln und deren Konsequenzen für den Erfolg des Insektenstaates sollen im Bereich des kollektiven Futtersammelns bei Honigbienen (Apis mellifera und Meliponini) untersucht werden. Eine Biene hat grundsätzlich drei Möglichkeiten einen Futterstandort zu finden. Sie kann die Ortsangaben eines Schwänzeltanzes einer Nestkameradin verwenden (soziale Information), sie kann individuell eine neue Futterquelle suchen (Exploration) oder sie kann Futterstandorte aufsuchen, die die Biene bereits kennt (private Information).

Wissenschaftlicher Kontext

Verschiedene Experimente mit Honigbienen in der Schweiz und tropischen Honigbienen in Brasilien sind geplant um zu untersuchen, wie ökologische Umstände den Erfolg dieser verschiedenen Strategien beeinflussen. Ausserdem werden Simulationsmodelle verwendet, welche die Experimente komplementieren.

Direktlink auf Lay Summary Letzte Aktualisierung: 20.06.2013

Verantw. Gesuchsteller/in und weitere Gesuchstellende

Mitarbeitende

Publikationen

Publikation
Worker size in honeybees and its relationship with season and foraging distance
Sauthier R I'Anson-Price R. Grüter C. (2017), Worker size in honeybees and its relationship with season and foraging distance, in Apidologie, 48, 234-246.
Individual learning performance and exploratory activity are linked to colony foraging success in a mass-recruiting ant
Pasquier Grégoire, Grüter Christoph (2016), Individual learning performance and exploratory activity are linked to colony foraging success in a mass-recruiting ant, in Behavioral Ecology, in press, 1-8.
Inter-caste communication in social insects
Grueter Christoph, Keller Laurent (2016), Inter-caste communication in social insects, in CURRENT OPINION IN NEUROBIOLOGY, 38, 6-11.
Collective decision making in a heterogeneous environment: Lasius niger colonies preferentially forage at easy to learn locations
Grüter Christoph, Grüter Christoph, Maitre Diane, Blakey Alex, Cole Rosemary, Ratnieks Francis L W (2015), Collective decision making in a heterogeneous environment: Lasius niger colonies preferentially forage at easy to learn locations, in Animal Behaviour, 104, 189-195.
Soldier production in a stingless bee depends on rearing location and nurse behaviour
Segers Francisca H. I. D., Menezes Cristiano, Vollet-Neto Ayrton, Lambert Dorothee, Grueter Christoph (2015), Soldier production in a stingless bee depends on rearing location and nurse behaviour, in BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY, 69(4), 613-623.
Trail Pheromones: An Integrative View of Their Role in Social Insect Colony Organization
Czaczkes Tomer J., Grueter Christoph, Ratnieks Francis L. W. (2015), Trail Pheromones: An Integrative View of Their Role in Social Insect Colony Organization, in ANNUAL REVIEW OF ENTOMOLOGY, VOL 60, 60, 581-599.
Why, when and where did honey bee dance communication evolve?
I'Anson Price Robbie, Grüter Christoph (2015), Why, when and where did honey bee dance communication evolve?, in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 3, 125-125.
Dancing Bees Improve Colony Foraging Success as Long- Term Benefits Outweigh Short-Term Costs
Schürch Roger & Grüter Christoph (2014), Dancing Bees Improve Colony Foraging Success as Long- Term Benefits Outweigh Short-Term Costs, in PLoS ONE, 9(8), e104660.

Zusammenarbeit

Gruppe / Person Land
Formen der Zusammenarbeit
University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto Brasilien (Südamerika)
- vertiefter/weiterführender Austausch von Ansätzen, Methoden oder Resultaten
- Publikation
- Forschungsinfrastrukturen
- Austausch von Mitarbeitern
University of Sussex Grossbritannien und Nordirland (Europa)
- vertiefter/weiterführender Austausch von Ansätzen, Methoden oder Resultaten
- Publikation

Wissenschaftliche Veranstaltungen

Aktiver Beitrag

Titel Art des Beitrags Titel des Artikels oder Beitrages Datum Ort Beteiligte Personen
IUSSI Central European Section Vortrag im Rahmen einer Tagung Leader-follower size mismatch affects tandem running in Temnothorax nylanderi 04.10.2017 Würzburg, Deutschland I'Anson Price Robert; Grüter Christoph;
Biology 2016 Poster Honey bees learn to ignore low quality dance information 11.02.2016 Lausanne, Schweiz I'Anson Price Robert; Grüter Christoph;
ESEB 2015 Poster Local differences in parasitism and competition shape defensive investment in a polymorphic eusocial bee 01.08.2015 Lausanne, Schweiz Grüter Christoph;
IUSSI Central European Section Vortrag im Rahmen einer Tagung The evolution of worker differentiation: lessons from stingless bees. 10.03.2015 Lausanne, Deutschland Grüter Christoph;


Auszeichnungen

Titel Jahr
Haller Medaille 2013, University of Bern 2013

Verbundene Projekte

Nummer Titel Start Förderungsinstrument
123648 Decision making in social insects when facing multiple information sources 01.08.2008 Stipendien für angehende Forschende

Abstract

Insect societies, like human societies and many other complex biological systems need an efficient regulation of collective tasks to achieve optimal performance. In social insects different groups of workers perform vital collective tasks, such as brood care, nest-defence or foraging. Insect colonies also show an impressive ability to adapt to sudden changes in the environment by means of positive and negative feedback mechanisms, which lead to the reallocation of workers to new tasks or cause recruitment of inactive workers to locations where work is needed. Attractive and inhibitory pheromones produced by foraging ants or dancing in bees are examples of such positive and negative feedbacks. Key to this process of dynamic self-organisation is the ability of workers to acquire, process and act upon information from their local environment. Therefore, in order to understand self-organisation of insect societies it is important to understand how individual workers use information to adjust their behaviour and how these decision-making rules increase the efficiency of the overall system. The best studied context of self-organisation is social insects is collective foraging. A wide range of social information cues and signals that are involved in foraging-regulation have been identified in the last century. Apart from social information, that is information provided by other nest-members, workers also use information acquired directly during interactions with the environment, such as spatial memories about good food source locations, i.e. private information. Alternatively, workers might ignore both social and private information and try to locate completely new food sources, often called scouting. Most researchers have studied the role of one particular information source at a time, e.g. a particular pheromone or a memory, but also our understanding of how individual foragers use different simultaneously occurring information sources has improved in recent years. However, there is a lack in understanding of how important different kinds of information are for colony performance, i.e. how individual information-use and decision-making strategies affect collective success. This is needed to understand the adaptive significance of information for colony performance and, therefore, the selection pressures that led to the evolution of different communication systems. This project will address this gap in understanding and test the importance of key information sources for colony performance, using ecologically and economically important model systems: European and tropical honey bees (Apis mellifera and Meliponini). I will use observational, experimental and theoretical approaches to study how individual information-use strategies affect collective performance. To do this, I will test the role of spatial communication (social information; the waggle dance) and learning ability (private information; tactile appetitive learning) for foraging success, mainly measured as the amount of honey and brood produced by a colony. Because the value of information about the environment is likely to depend on the characteristics of this environment, I will explore if communication about food sources and individual learning are more relevant under certain conditions, such as a stable versus an unpredictable foraging environment.Project 1 explores if and how the spatial information of the honey bee waggle dance improves colony foraging success in a naturally changing temperate habitat. Project 2 tests the prediction, that spatial communication is particularly important in rapidly changing environments. In project 3, I will test if and how the learning performance of colonies (workers of different colonies vary in their learning speed) affects colony foraging performance. In project 4, I will develop an agent-based simulation model to test the effect of different information-use strategies (use social information: waggle dance, use private information: route memory, use no information: scouting) on colony performance and how this depends on the characteristics of the foraging environment. Project 5 studies the importance of social information and different types of communication systems at a species level. I will study 12 sympatric species of stingless honey bees (Meliponini) in Brazil and explore how colonies of different species that rely on communication to varying degrees perform in foraging environments that change in stability.I will be based in the Evolutionary Genetics and Ecology of Social Life laboratory of Prof. Laurent Keller at the University of Lausanne. Laurent Keller heads one of the world leading laboratories in the study of social insect biology. This provides me with a stimulating environment for the proposed project. In addition, cooperations with colleagues in Brazil and the UK are involved in projects 4 and 5.
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