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Rebecca Basile

Thermoregulation and Resource Management in Honeybees (Apis mellifera)

The Distribution of Resources via Trophallaxis and its Impact on the Heating Performance in Western Honeybee Colonies
2010. 188 S.
ISBN: 3-8381-1308-X (383811308X)
Neue ISBN: 978-3-8381-1308-1 (9783838113081)

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The ecological success of social insects is largely based on the complex organization of their colonies. In a honeybee colony, the adjustment of labor is expected to be highly adaptive. Because biotic and abiotic factors like temperature, brood rearing conditions and nectar availability strongly fluctuate, the honey resources which are shared between all members are of crucial importance for the colony s survival. The questions posed are whether there is a performance-related reward system, what controls individual differences in performance, and how such systems might have evolved. This work focuses on the activity of the antennae at initiation of a feeding contact, impact of sugar and water content of food to the heating performance, behavioral differences between donors and recipients of a trophallactic contact, regulation of the trophallactic activity on the brood comb, and possible evolution of the performance related reward system which triggers the feeding and heating activity. The various methods used for fielding the questions in this thesis reach from classical behavioral ecology, behavioral physiology, neurobiology, and theoretical approaches.
Rebecca Basile (born 1974) studied Germanistics and Biology at Tübingen University and started her PhD work at Würzburg University (2003). In 2006 she was awarded with the Premio Leonardo da Vinci by the Rotary Club of Europe for talented people in arts, science and literature. She currently works at the Bee Research Center in Bern.