February 13th 12:30 pm - 01:30 pm
Lakeside View Seminar Room, IST Austria

Colony composition, division of labor, and fitness in the clonal raider ant

Host: Sylvia Cremer

  • Yuko Ulrich, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Yuko is a group leader at the department of Ecology and Evolution in Lausanne (CH). She is generally interested in the interplay between social organization and disease resistance in animal societies. In her lab, she uses the clonal raider ant as a study system in order to experimentally investigate the link between the composition of a social group, the structure of its interaction network, and its susceptibility to disease. You can have a look at her group website.


A proposed advantage of group-living is that it enables division of labour among group members, leading to higher efficiency in larger groups. I will describe the results of a study in which we examined the relationship between group size, division of labour, and fitness in the clonal raider ant, using automated behavioural tracking and mathematical modelling. We find that fitness and inter-individual behavioural variation increase rapidly with group size, so that a stable division of labor emerges in very small colonies composed of genetically identical workers.