Matching Items (38)

131355-Thumbnail Image.png

Method Comparison for Odor Discrimination in Camponotus floridanus

Description

Complex animal societies consist of a plethora of interactions between members. To successfully thrive they must be able to recognize members and their kin, and to understand how they do this we need sufficient and reliable methods of testing. Eusocial

Complex animal societies consist of a plethora of interactions between members. To successfully thrive they must be able to recognize members and their kin, and to understand how they do this we need sufficient and reliable methods of testing. Eusocial insects are especially good at recognizing their nestmates, but the exact mechanism or how well they can discriminate is unknown. Ants achieve nestmate recognition by identifying varying proportions of cuticular hydrocarbons. Previous studies have shown ants can be trained to discriminate between pairs of hydrocarbons. This study aims to compare two methodologies previously shown to demonstrate odor learning to identify which one is the most promising to use for future odor learning experiments. The two methods tested were adapted from Sharma et al. (2015) and Guerrieri and d’Ettorre (2010). The results showed that the Guerrieri method demonstrated learning better and was more reliable and faster than the Sharma method. The Guerrieri method should be used in future experiments regarding odor learning discrimination

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2020-05

130932-Thumbnail Image.png

Ants as a Model for Animal Communication: A Study of Ant Cuticular Hydrocarbons

Description

Across the animal kingdom, communication serves a vital purpose. The transfer of information between and among species is often paramount to many behaviors including mating, collaboration, and defense. While research has provided tremendous insight into animal communication and interaction, there

Across the animal kingdom, communication serves a vital purpose. The transfer of information between and among species is often paramount to many behaviors including mating, collaboration, and defense. While research has provided tremendous insight into animal communication and interaction, there is still much that we have yet to understand. Due to their reliance on interactions that maximize efficiency within their complicated colony structure and array of member roles, eusocial insects serve as an excellent model for animal communication. Among eusocial insects, ants are some of the most heavily researched, with a tremendous amount of literature focused on their cuticular hydrocarbons. Along with serving as a waterproofing agent, cuticular hydrocarbons also play a major role in recognition and communication in these insects. By studying the importance of hydrocarbons in ant social structure, their tremendously specialized olfactory system, and the use of learning assays in its study, parallels between communication in ants and other animals are revealed, demonstrating how ants serve as a relevant model for animal communication as a whole.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2020-12

132615-Thumbnail Image.png

An intimate view of the unique architecture of Harpegnathos saltwater nest using aluminum nest casts

Description

Abstract:
Given the incredible variety in ant nest architecture, this experiment sought to evaluate how the nest architecture of Harpegnathos saltator differs from other species’ nests. To achieve the ability to evaluate the structure of H. saltator nest, we created

Abstract:
Given the incredible variety in ant nest architecture, this experiment sought to evaluate how the nest architecture of Harpegnathos saltator differs from other species’ nests. To achieve the ability to evaluate the structure of H. saltator nest, we created experimental colonies varying in size from 20, 40, 60, 80 workers of Harpegnathos saltator in five-gallon buckets of sand and then allowing the colonies to grow for four months and twelve days. To create the nest casts, we developed a charcoal kiln out of a galvanized trash can and used a ceramic crucible to hold the aluminum being melted. Using molten aluminum to create nest casts of each colony produced, we obtained three poorly developed nests and one decent nest. The decent nest cast, the 80 worker H. saltator nest, was lacking key features of H. saltator nests that have been excavated in the field. However, they do share many of the same structures such as the shaping of the chambers. The ability of the experimental colonies to excavate the soil provided in the buckets to them was likely halted by poor penetration of water into superficial layers of the soil, thus making the soil too difficult to excavate and form the structures that are key elements of the species nest architecture. Despite these key challenges which the colonies faced, the 80-worker colony showed extensive vertical development and did display features associated with natural H. saltator colonies. Thus, given the display of some key features associated with characteristics of the H. saltator nests excavated in the field, it can be said that with some modification to technique that this is a viable avenue for future study of nest architecture and colony structure.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2019-05

133208-Thumbnail Image.png

Worker Policing Mechanisms in Ponerine Ant Species

Description

For colonies of ponerine ant species, sterility regulation after a founding queen's death is not totally achieved in the worker caste, and the possibility of sexual reproduction is opened to workers. The persisting survival of these colonies is dependent on

For colonies of ponerine ant species, sterility regulation after a founding queen's death is not totally achieved in the worker caste, and the possibility of sexual reproduction is opened to workers. The persisting survival of these colonies is dependent on capturing the optimal reproductive ratio; yet, an informational gap bounds the mechanisms detailing the selection of new reproductives and the suppression of ovarian development in rejected reproductives. We investigated the mechanisms of worker policing, one of the primary methods of ovarian suppression, through continuous video observation for a period of five days at the start of colony instability. Observations suggest policing in H. saltator is performed by a majority of a colony, including potential reproductives, and requires multiple events to fully discourage ovarian growth.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2018-12

131300-Thumbnail Image.png

Quantifying Intragenomic Variability in the 18S Gene of Trichonympha from Zootermopsis

Description

The 18S ribosomal RNA gene is ubiquitous across eukaryotes as it encodes the RNA component of the ribosomal small subunit. It is the most commonly used marker in molecular studies of unicellular eukaryotes (protists) due to its species specificity and

The 18S ribosomal RNA gene is ubiquitous across eukaryotes as it encodes the RNA component of the ribosomal small subunit. It is the most commonly used marker in molecular studies of unicellular eukaryotes (protists) due to its species specificity and high copy number in the protist genome. Recent studies have revealed the widespread occurrence of intragenomic (intra-individual) polymorphism in many protists, an understudied phenomenon which contradicts the assumed homogeneity of the 18S throughout an individual genome. This thesis quantifies and analyzes the level of intragenomic and intraspecific 18S sequence variability in three Trichonympha species (T. campanula, T. collaris, T. postcylindrica) from Zootermopsis termites. Single-cell DNA extractions, PCR, cloning, and sequencing were performed to obtain 18S rRNA sequence reads, which were then analyzed to determine levels of sequence divergence among individuals and among species. Intragenomic variability was encountered in all three species. However, excluding singleton mutations, sequence divergence was less than 1% in 53 of the 56 compared individuals. T. collaris exhibited the most substantial intragenomic variability, with sequence divergence ranging from 0 to 3.4%. Further studies with more clones per cell are needed to elucidate the true extent of intragenomic variability in Trichonympha.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2020-05

131323-Thumbnail Image.png

Adaptation of Camponotus floridanus’ Cuticular Hydrocarbon Profile under High Temperature Conditions

Description

Insects are small creatures highly susceptible to water loss. A major factor in the prevention of water loss through an insect’s cuticle are their cuticular hydrocarbons (CHC), a lipid layer consisting mostly of long-chain hydrocarbons. CHCs consist of different molecules

Insects are small creatures highly susceptible to water loss. A major factor in the prevention of water loss through an insect’s cuticle are their cuticular hydrocarbons (CHC), a lipid layer consisting mostly of long-chain hydrocarbons. CHCs consist of different molecules called alkanes, alkenes, and methyl branched hydrocarbons which all have varying levels of hydrophobicity. Ants are a massively abundant family of insects with important roles in the ecosystem that also utilize CHCs. Camponotus floridanus isare athe native ant species of the Florida Keys which areis known to have variable environmental temperature. Being exposed to temperatures as high as 35 °C, these ants are expected to have mechanisms that allow them to adapt to their environment. It was hypothesized that CHCs may change in concentration or composition as a means to combat the changes in cuticular permeability due to the variable temperatures that the ants experience. We therefore used C. floridanus worker ants to learn more about CHC plasticity in insects when exposed to elevated temperatures. We found four CHC componentspeaks that showed a statistically significant increase in concentration when comparing the control to treatment colonies: 3,7 dimethyl C31, an underdetermined methyl branched C31, 3,7,11 trimethyl C31, and an undetermined tetramethylbranched C31. These significant changes in concentration occurred on longer chain hydrocarbons. Under further examination, it was found that there was a strong positive correlation between elution time and the differences in medians of peak area between control and treatment colonies. This shows that there was a shift in the CHC profile resulting in an increased concentration of longer chained methyl-branched hydrocarbons. It also suggests that branched hydrocarbons also play some role in the water proofing mechanism of C. floridanus.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2020-05

134162-Thumbnail Image.png

Analysis of Egg-Laying Rates of Harpegnathos Saltator Through Different Methods of Observation

Description

Insects have intricate systems they depend on for survival. They live in societies where every individual plays an important role. Ants are a great example of this observation. They are known for having structurally sound societies that ensure the livelihood

Insects have intricate systems they depend on for survival. They live in societies where every individual plays an important role. Ants are a great example of this observation. They are known for having structurally sound societies that ensure the livelihood of the colony. The ant species analyzed for this research, Harpegnathos saltator, portrays a structured colony and serves as a useful example of levels of hierarchy. In the colony of H. saltator, one can find a queen, gamergates, workers, and male ants living underground in Southern India. Recording and analyzing egg-laying rates are important in this study because of the amount of information it provides. It is used especially when observing the relationship among the gamergates in colonies with varying colony sizes. Three different methods were used to record the egg-laying rates, each providing insight into valuable information. Results show that the smaller colonies with fewer identified gamergates do share an equal amount of egg-laying. In larger colonies, it appears that there are more active identified gamergates than others. Egg-laying duration times are smaller in colonies with fewer gamergates. It is also found that the presence of brood does not affect egg-laying rates and reproductive inhibition could be a possibility based on two of the colonies observed F65 and F21. Based on the data found, a more active colony that attempts to maintain stability by demonstrating aggression may be affecting the reproduction of gamergates. Future work that would further strengthen the research and conclusions made would involve further observation of colonies, both large and small, with varying numbers of gamergates. More observation involving behavior among gamergates and workers would also be beneficial. Mathematical modeling could also be incorporated to create equations that could determine information about colonies based on size, number of gamergates, and egg-laying rates.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2017-12

133275-Thumbnail Image.png

Conservation of Avian Species: Examining the Prevalence of Urban and Non-Urban Bird Species Admitted to Wildlife Centers in the Greater Phoenix Area

Description

Due to the widely accepted trend of urbanization displacing wildlife from their natural habitats and niches, many wildlife conservation organizations have sprouted up, even in Phoenix. Liberty Wildlife Foundation is one that rehabilitates avian wildlife. Several studies have mentioned an

Due to the widely accepted trend of urbanization displacing wildlife from their natural habitats and niches, many wildlife conservation organizations have sprouted up, even in Phoenix. Liberty Wildlife Foundation is one that rehabilitates avian wildlife. Several studies have mentioned an opposing theory: that urbanization helps conserve those species that have turned urban environments into a niche of their own. Since these wildlife conservation centers are localized in cities themselves, this brings into question these organizations' definitions of the term "wildlife." This study examined injury and recovery statistics to determine just how many of the patients admitted were conventional wildlife versus urban-dwelling city birds, and whether this classification had any effect on their likeliness of recovery and release. The data showed that out of over 130 species, a few key urban species contributed to an overwhelmingly large majority of injured birds admitted to the center in 2017; urban and non-urban birds, however, had relatively equal average release frequencies, demonstrating then that their likelihood of recovery was predominantly dependent on the injury borne by them.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2018-05

128231-Thumbnail Image.png

Molecular Traces of Alternative Social Organization in a Termite Genome

Description

Although eusociality evolved independently within several orders of insects, research into the molecular underpinnings of the transition towards social complexity has been confined primarily to Hymenoptera (for example, ants and bees). Here we sequence the genome and stage-specific transcriptomes of

Although eusociality evolved independently within several orders of insects, research into the molecular underpinnings of the transition towards social complexity has been confined primarily to Hymenoptera (for example, ants and bees). Here we sequence the genome and stage-specific transcriptomes of the dampwood termite Zootermopsis nevadensis (Blattodea) and compare them with similar data for eusocial Hymenoptera, to better identify commonalities and differences in achieving this significant transition. We show an expansion of genes related to male fertility, with upregulated gene expression in male reproductive individuals reflecting the profound differences in mating biology relative to the Hymenoptera. For several chemoreceptor families, we show divergent numbers of genes, which may correspond to the more claustral lifestyle of these termites. We also show similarities in the number and expression of genes related to caste determination mechanisms. Finally, patterns of DNA methylation and alternative splicing support a hypothesized epigenetic regulation of caste differentiation.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
2014-05-20

129004-Thumbnail Image.png

Mechanisms of Social Regulation Change Across Colony Development in an Ant

Description

Background: Mutual policing is an important mechanism for reducing conflict in cooperative groups. In societies of ants, bees, and wasps, mutual policing of worker reproduction can evolve when workers are more closely related to the queen's sons than to the sons

Background: Mutual policing is an important mechanism for reducing conflict in cooperative groups. In societies of ants, bees, and wasps, mutual policing of worker reproduction can evolve when workers are more closely related to the queen's sons than to the sons of workers or when the costs of worker reproduction lower the inclusive fitness of workers. During colony growth, relatedness within the colony remains the same, but the costs of worker reproduction may change. The costs of worker reproduction are predicted to be greatest in incipient colonies. If the costs associated with worker reproduction outweigh the individual direct benefits to workers, policing mechanisms as found in larger colonies may be absent in incipient colonies.

Results: We investigated policing behavior across colony growth in the ant 'Camponotus floridanus.' In large colonies of this species, worker reproduction is policed by the destruction of worker-laid eggs. We found workers from incipient colonies do not exhibit policing behavior, and instead tolerate all conspecific eggs. The change in policing behavior is consistent with changes in egg surface hydrocarbons, which provide the informational basis for policing; eggs laid by queens from incipient colonies lack the characteristic hydrocarbons on the surface of eggs laid by queens from large colonies, making them chemically indistinguishable from worker-laid eggs. We also tested the response to fertility information in the context of queen tolerance. Workers from incipient colonies attacked foreign queens from large colonies; whereas workers from large colonies tolerated such queens. Workers from both incipient and large colonies attacked foreign queens from incipient colonies.

Conclusions: Our results provide novel insights into the regulation of worker reproduction in social insects at both the proximate and ultimate levels. At the proximate level, our results show that mechanisms of social regulation, such as the response to fertility signals, change dramatically over a colony's life cycle. At the ultimate level, our results emphasize the importance of factors besides relatedness in predicting the level of conflict within a colony. Our results also suggest policing may not be an important regulatory force at every stage of colony development. Changes relating to the life cycle of the colony are sufficient to account for major differences in social regulation in an insect colony. Mechanisms of conflict mediation observed in one phase of a social group's development cannot be generalized to all stages.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
2010-10-27