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Carolina Doran - Collective and individual flexibility in the nest-searching behaviour of ant colonies

The Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour seminar series. All welcome.

Event details


Social insect colonies provide some of the richest examples of complex systems in nature. They are an excellent model for experimental investigation into questions of how group decisions are made as they allow direct manipulation of their components and observation of the collective behaviour. Temnothorax albipennis ant colonies inhabit rock crevices, whose fragility leads to frequent colony emigrations. Hence, individuals must be able to choose an appropriate target nest and reach a consensus whilst maintaining the group together. Interestingly, colonies will emigrate to new homes even if their current nest remains intact, whenever the value increase in relation to their current home compensates for the risks and costs of emigrating. We further investigate these move-to-improve emigrations by analysing how housing conditions affect both the exploration and emigration dynamics. During my talk I will show (1) how colonies adjust their nest searching effort with regard to the value of their current home; (2) how, both the decision to upgrade to a better home and how much effort to put into the search for a higher quality nest is driven by flexibility both at the collective and individual level; and (3) how experience is crucial for efficient task performance.

Miss Carolina Doran from University of Bristol, will be giving a seminar with the title 'Collective and individual flexibility in the nest-searching behaviour of ant colonies'.

The CRAB seminar series is organised by Elisa Frasnelli (


Washington Singer 105