The work group consisted of the following individuals, followed by their research interests:
Dr. Arnd Baumann, Institut fuer Biologische Informationsverarbeitung Forschungszentrum, Juelich, Germany
Dr. Baumann is interested in the molecular analysis of components of signal transduction pathways in neurons of invertebrates. In recent years he has cloned and characterized different members of ion channel- as well as biogenic amine-receptor gene- families from drosophila and the honey bee. Biogenic amine receptors are considered to be important modulators of learning and behavior, therefore, his approach should contribute to a better understanding complex neuronal networks that lead to plasticity of animal behavior.
Dr. Michael Breed, EPO Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
Dr. Breed's research interest is in how individuals communicate and perceive their colony membership. His work on nestmate recognition over the past 20 + years has shown how complex olfactory cues are derived from many intrinsic and extrinsic factors and used by social insects to accept or reject nestmates or intruders. Making the correct decisions at the colony entrance are of paramount importance for the evolution of social organization.
Dr. Jean-Louis Deneubourg, Center for Nonlinear Phenomena and Complex Systems, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
Dr. Deneubourg develops nonlinear mathematical models demonstrating how complex social organization can emerge from the self-organized activities of individual social insects. His models have focussed on the social behavior of ants but have had much broader implications for understanding how complex systems are organized. He is considered a leader in the field of complex systems dynamics.
Dr. Joachim Erber, Technische Universität Berlin, Institut für Ökologie
Dr. Erber analyses the neural mechanisms underlying different forms of behavioral plasticity in the honey bee. He uses behavioral analyses, electrophysiological recordings, neuroanatomical and neuropharmacological studies and molecular techniques. At the behavioral level he mainly studies different forms of tactile learning. In collaboration with Rob Page he found that the responsiveness to sucrose stimuli is strongly correlated with the learning performance. Bees with low response thresholds for sucrose show better acquisition and less extinction during tactile and olfactory learning.
Dr. Jennifer Fewell, Department of Biology, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Dr. Fewell empirically tests models of the evolution of insect social behavior. Her approach has been to demonstrate how social behavior is an emergent property of group living and can be a simple, inescapable consequence of group living. She also studies the complex dynamics of social foraging in honey bees and has demonstrated how changes in environmental cues lead to changes colony organization.
Dr. Juergen Gadau, Universität Wuerzburg, Biozentrum Zoologie II, Am Hubland, Würzburg, Germany
Dr. Gadau is an evolutionary geneticist interested in the genetic basis of evolutionary change. He employs genome mapping methods to determine the genetic architecture underlying observed variation in behavior and morphology within and between species. He has demonstrated how few genes with major effects can be responsible for observable adaptive differences between closely related species. He has also used a comparative structural genomic approach to better understand the evolution of recombination rates in social insects in order to better understand the effects of complex intracolonial genetic structure on social behavior.
Dr. Wulfila Gronenberg, Arizona Research Laboratories - Division of Neurobiology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
Dr Gronenberg's research is focussed on the control of complex behavior by the brain. He uses a comparative approach to explore the neuroethology of social insects, especially ants, by studying brain morphology and anatomy. The rational is that behavioral differences and transitions in behavior result from structural and functional differences of the nervous system. Brain structures are of particular interest because they are also involved in learning and memory storage, which are essential elements of social insect behavior and colony life.
Dr. Bert Hölldobler, Universität Würzburg, Biozentrum Zoologie II, , Am Hubland, Würzburg, Germany
Dr, Hölldobler's research has centered on understanding the behavioral mechanisms, chemistry, physics, neural physiology, and "information technology" underlying communication systems of social insects. Communication is essential for cooperative societies. Cooperation in social insects, as with any social group, is often accompanied by social conflict. His laboratory has ongoing sociogenetical investigations, employing DNA- fingerprinting techniques, to help understand the evolution of such contradictory behavioral patterns in animal societies. Dr. Hölldobler's research on the behavior and ecology of ants is unprecedented and is reflected in his Pulitzer Prize winning book "The Ants".
Dr. Zachary Huang, Department of Entomology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
Dr. Huang combines behavioral, genetic, and physiological analyses of honey bees to study the evolution and mechanisms of social behavior. His focus is on the behavioral transition of workers from "nursing" the young inside the hive to foraging in the field. He and his colleagues have found that social interactions among workers slow down the aging process -- workers deprived of social interactions become foragers much sooner. They also employ computer simulations to understand the mechanisms of behavioral development of honey bee workers.
Dr. Greg J. Hunt, Department of Entomology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Dr. Hunt studies the behavioral genetics and genomics of the honey bee, and the role of genetic variation in division of labor. He and his colleagues have been mapped genes as quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that influence several important behavioral traits, such as foraging, stinging and learning. They are developing and testing models to explain how defensive behavior is organized at the colony level and what social feedback mechanisms influence individual defensive behavior of bees. They are also developing tools for genomic studies of honey bees.
Dr. Robert L. Jeanne, Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin
The social behavior of wasps has been the primary object of research for Dr. Jeanne and his students. They have determined many of the details of communication of alarm, recruitment of nestmates to food and new nest sites, pheromones and allomones and their glandular sources, as well as division of labor, individual specialization, foraging behavior, reproductive behavior, and nesting behavior. His central interest in recent years has been the relationship between the size of a group and the properties of emergent group behavior. They are also analyzing the mechanisms by which task groups interact to regulate nest construction and respond to perturbations in nest construction activity.
Dr. Penelope F. Kukuk, Division of Biological Science, The University of Montana, Missoula, Montana
Dr. Kukuk studies the origins of sociality. Her research over the years has focussed on understanding how the nesting behavior, distribution of animals within populations, and the genetic structure of populations facilitate the evolution of eusociality in insects. Her comparative studies with sweat bees span all levels of social organization from solitary to eusocial.
Dr. Uli Müller, Institut für Neurobiologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Dr. Müller studies the mechanisms underlying learning and memory. In the recent years he has primarily focused on the function of different intracellular signaling cascades in associative and non-associative learning in honey bees with the aim to understand how features of external stimuli modulate the temporal activation of distinct second messenger cascades and how this relates to neuronal and behavioral changes. Recently he and his research group have begun to investigate how individual behavior is influenced by various internal and external factors like pheromones, food satiation, circadian rhythm, etc. interfere with these processes and how this relates to changes in behavior.
Dr. Sandy Mitchell, University of Pittsburgh, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Dr. Mitchell is a philosopher of biology who studies epistemological and metaphysical issues in the philosophy of science. Currently, she is working on a project "Taking Complexity Seriously" that presents both philosophical arguments for and concrete examples of integrative pluralism that she considers the best model of contemporary science. In this pursuit she is investigating the strategies found in biological sciences for integrating theories and explanations at different levels of analysis and organization. In particular I am looking at two areas in detail; explanations of insect social behavior and ecosystem determinants of biological diversity. The aim is to give a detailed account of both the diversity of integrative strategies in the biological sciences and the emergent patterns that may provide guidance and insight into what works when it does, and the hazards that obstruct the way.
Dr. Stig W. Omholt. Agricultural University of Norway, Department of Animal Science
Part of Dr. Omholt's research program is focused on providing protocols to make the honey bee a real laboratory animal. This includes developing technology to maintain colonies in the laboratory, egg sampling systems, cryopreservation of germ plasm, nuclear transplantation, intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection, in vitro feeding, embryo cloning, and genetic transformation.. He has also developed a new mathematical framework for describing and analyzing general complex dynamic systems as a tool to build a conceptual bridge between regulatory biology and classical genetics. Current projects involve work on the hive bee to forager transition in honey bee colonies, the regulatory anatomy of honey bee life span, and conceptual issues related to social evolution in general.
Dr. Robert Page, Jr., Department of Entomology, University of California, Davis, California
How do complex insect societies evolve? This is the focus of Dr. Page's research program. In order to answer this questions we need to better understand the organization of behavior at the gene, neuron, nervous system, whole animal physiology, individual behavior, and social unit. We also must understand the population and evolutionary genetics of organism we study. With his collaborators, they have studied the foraging behavior of honey bees at all of these levels of organization and have successfully demonstrated how substitutions of alleles at variable quantitative trait loci affect the neural system of honey bees resulting in specific changes in foraging behavior and colony-level phenotypes.
Dr. Mary Jane West-Eberhard, Escuela de Biologia, Universidad de Costa Rica, Cuidad Universitaria, Costa Rica
Dr. West-Eberhard's primary interest is in the social biology and evolution of social wasps, especially tropical species from nest-sharing casteless species to highly specialized swarming ones. Branching off from this, she has written on kin selection, social and sexual selection, evolutionary aspects of animal communication, and developmental plasticity in relation to evolution, and continue to be interested in these topics. She has just finished a book on developmental plasticity and evolution, an interest that began with the ontogeny of social roles in wasps, and led, through studies of alternative phenotypes (caste polyphenisms, and polymorphisms), to analysis of the role of condition-sensitive switches in structuring development in general.
Workgroup members not in attendance: Dr. Joachim Erber and Dr. Eric Bonabeau