Title

Heterogeneous activity causes a nonlinear increase in the group energy use of ant workers isolated from queen and brood

Presenter Information

Kyara Holloway

Department

Biological Sciences

Major

Biological Sciences

Research Advisor

Hou, Chen

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Increasing evidence has shown that the energy use of ant colonies increases sub-linearly with colony size so that large colonies consume less per capita energy than small colonies. It has been postulated that social environment (e.g., in the presence of queen and brood) is critical for the sublinear group energetics, and a few studies of ant workers isolated from queens and brood observed linear relationships between group energetics and size. In this paper, we hypothesize that the sublinear energetics arise from the heterogeneity of activity in ant groups, that is, large groups have relatively more inactive members than small groups. We further hypothesize that the energy use of ant worker groups that can move freely increases more slowly than the group size even if they are isolated from queen and brood. Previous studies only provided indirect evidence for these hypotheses due to technical difficulties. In this study, we applied the automated behavioral monitoring and respirometry simultaneously on isolated worker groups for long time periods, and analyzed the image with the state-of-the-art algorithms. Our results show that when activity was not confined, large groups had lower per capita energy use, a lower percentage of active members, and lower average walking speed than small groups; while locomotion was confined, however, the per capita energy use was a constant regardless of the group size. The quantitative analysis shows a direct link between variation in group energy use and the activity level of ant workers when isolated from queen and brood.

Biography

As a rather active female student, Kyara Holloway is a lover of all things living, from microscopic, to photosynthetic, to enormous. With this love, comes a lust for understanding, and thus, along with theatre and dance, she partakes heavily in research. Due to her efforts, a new understanding of ant dynamics has surfaced in the paper recently published, with her and a fellow undergraduate, Nolan Ferral as first authors. While she is very much proud of this achievement, this is hardly the end, as there is more work to be done, and plenty of polishing for her presentation skills! She is very happy to apply for this opportunity, as well as pave an encouraging path for other female African-Americans interested in STEM.

Research Category

Sciences

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium/Hall

Start Date

4-11-2017 9:00 AM

End Date

4-11-2017 11:45 AM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Apr 11th, 9:00 AM Apr 11th, 11:45 AM

Heterogeneous activity causes a nonlinear increase in the group energy use of ant workers isolated from queen and brood

Upper Atrium/Hall

Increasing evidence has shown that the energy use of ant colonies increases sub-linearly with colony size so that large colonies consume less per capita energy than small colonies. It has been postulated that social environment (e.g., in the presence of queen and brood) is critical for the sublinear group energetics, and a few studies of ant workers isolated from queens and brood observed linear relationships between group energetics and size. In this paper, we hypothesize that the sublinear energetics arise from the heterogeneity of activity in ant groups, that is, large groups have relatively more inactive members than small groups. We further hypothesize that the energy use of ant worker groups that can move freely increases more slowly than the group size even if they are isolated from queen and brood. Previous studies only provided indirect evidence for these hypotheses due to technical difficulties. In this study, we applied the automated behavioral monitoring and respirometry simultaneously on isolated worker groups for long time periods, and analyzed the image with the state-of-the-art algorithms. Our results show that when activity was not confined, large groups had lower per capita energy use, a lower percentage of active members, and lower average walking speed than small groups; while locomotion was confined, however, the per capita energy use was a constant regardless of the group size. The quantitative analysis shows a direct link between variation in group energy use and the activity level of ant workers when isolated from queen and brood.