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Title: The effect of nest value on exploration and emigration dynamics of ant colonies
Author: Doran, Carolina
ISNI:       0000 0004 5914 5925
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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The rules underlying the formation of complex patterns have been at the centre of several research fields. In Biology, understanding what brings animal groups together and how they maintain group cohesion has received a fair amount of attention. This thesis focuses on these processes in social insects, in particular we study collective decision making in Temnothorax albipennis ant colonies. These 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 also 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. The results presented, show (1) how colonies adjust their nest searching effort with regard to the value of their current home and (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, (3) with experience being crucial for efficient task performance. Animals in groups are able to achieve a lot more than the sum of the efforts of each individual working alone, however, one should not underestimate the capacities of each individual. Further research should focus on how intelligent individuals contribute effectively to collective intelligence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available