White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

The effects of decentralisation on foraging and organisation in social insect colonies

Cook, Zoe (2013) The effects of decentralisation on foraging and organisation in social insect colonies. PhD thesis, University of York.

[img]
Preview
Text (Main thesis text)
The effects of decentralisation on foraging and organisation in social insect colonies.pdf
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

Download (2178Kb) | Preview
[img] Archive (Chapter 2 code files)
Chapter 2 Code Files.zip
Available under License Creative Commons GNU GPL (Software).

Download (64Kb)
[img] Archive (Chapter 5 code fles)
Chapter 5 Code Files.zip
Available under License Creative Commons GNU GPL (Software).

Download (95Kb)

Abstract

Social insect colonies demonstrate some of the most striking social behaviours that are seen in nature. Social interaction in these species defines their behaviour and has a large impact on their success. A number of ant species organise their colony over several socially interacting, but spatially separated nests. This behaviour is known as polydomy. I used simulation modelling to investigate the costs and benefits of this behaviour. The results showed that colony organisation interacts with both foraging strategy and resource distribution to determine the effect of polydomy on foraging success. Importantly, I show that there are previously undiscussed costs to polydomy. I also addressed questions of how the social connections between the nests in a colony are organised. Complex interacting systems such as the trail system formed between nests in a polydomous colony can be represented as a network. I review the use of this representation in studies of social insects and provide suggestions for future studies on how social insect systems may provide insight into the construction and use of effective network systems in general. By representing the trail systems found between nests as networks I show that the systems formed by ants are highly efficient for the transportation of resources but balance this efficiency with the cost of producing trails. A number of simple mechanisms have been proposed for the construction of these networks. I test these theories and show that the simplest mechanisms suggested may not be sufficient to replicate the natural systems. This thesis contributes to the understanding of the behaviour of ants in polydomous colonies and to the understanding of distributed biological systems more generally. The work also provides a basis for future research on how efficient systems can be constructed using simple rules.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Biology (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.605203
Depositing User: Zoe Cook
Date Deposited: 07 May 2014 14:38
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:30
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5634

You do not need to contact us to get a copy of this thesis. Please use the 'Download' link(s) above to get a copy.
You can contact us about this thesis. If you need to make a general enquiry, please see the Contact us page.

Actions (repository staff only: login required)