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Collective temperature homeostasis in bumblebees

  • Monash University, Clayton Room G12A Australia (map)

Collective temperature homeostasis in bumblebees: social environment modulates individual fanning behavior

  • Friday, November 3, 2017
  • 2:00pm - 3:00pm
  • Monash Clayton, 14 Rnf Room G12A (map)

Anja Weidenmüller
Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Germany


Workers within social insect colonies show division of labor, where individuals perform only a subset of all tasks necessary for colony life. The mechanisms underling the behavioral differentiation among workers of colony are only partly understood. Morphological and genotypic variations, and age play important roles. In addition, feedback loops between an individual’s actions, its shared stimulus environment and interactions with its nest mates presumably modulate individual task selection, playing an important role in integrating the behavior of many individuals into a functioning unit.

I will discuss our recent experiments, addressing the question (1) whether individual response behavior is modulated by effectiveness experienced while performing a task and (2) how the social environment modulates individual stimulus-response behavior. Specifically, I ask whether bumblebee workers (Bombus terrestris) measure and respond to their own effectiveness and the presence and behavior of nest mates when thermoregulating their brood.