Finding optimal collective strategies using individual-based simulations: colony organization in social insects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Social insects like ants and bees live in cooperative colonies containing up to millions of individuals. These colonies are sometimes termed 'superorganisms' and have evolved tightly integrated and sophisticated collective behaviours. Different species, however, often differ in the type and mechanisms of communication and collective organization employed. I show here how individual-based models can be used to identify the non-intuitive benefits of different mechanisms of communication and division of labour and how these benefits may depend on the external environment as well as traits of the society itself. This allows us to understand under what ecological conditions particular types of collective organization may have evolved, and thus can also help to explain variation among species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-37
Number of pages13
JournalMathematical and Computer Modelling of Dynamical Systems
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012

Keywords

  • behavioural ecology
  • collective behaviour
  • communication
  • evolution of behaviour
  • individual-based model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics

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