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May 31, 2023

12:00 pm 1100 TLSB

Chelsea Cook
Marquette University

" Thermoregulation as an Extended Phenotype in Honey Bees "

Social animals may be particularly resilient to a changing environment because of their ability to utilize social and ecological information to behave collectively. As these social groups behave, they manipulate their environments, creating an extended phenotype. Although many studies show social animals integrate ecological and social information as their environmental context shifts, the mechanisms by which they do this are mostly unknown. Honey bees strictly regulate the temperature of their colony. When it is hot, honey bees circulate cool air into the colony by fanning. Fanning is performed by a relatively small task group (3-50 bees) but is critical behavior for the survival of the colony, as overheated larvae can die. This makes them an excellent model system by which to understand if and how social animals can be resilient to climate change. As such, the Cook Lab explores the sensory collection, communication, and integration of the collective management of temperature in the honey bee colony. We utilize behavioral, physiological, and ecological techniques to study the necessary and sufficient mechanisms of honey bee fanning. By understanding how honey bees manage their environment, we then create tools, such as cold storage, to enhance their health and survival.

Host: EEB Graduate Students