Impact of Stress on Nest Relocation in Ants

Paul, Bishwarup (2013) Impact of Stress on Nest Relocation in Ants. Masters thesis, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata.

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Relocation of a colony from one nest to another is common in ants. However this process is bound to be complicated as hundreds of adults, immature young and any stored resources have to be transported from one site to another while facing issues with predators and colony cohesion along the way. To understand the context in which ants relocate and the robustness of the process, we applied increasing levels of stress to the nest and observed the changes to the relocation dynamics both at the level of individuals and the colony. Diacamma indicum, a locally abundant native ponerine species, has been used as the model system for this study. This species is known to use tandem running - a relatively primitive form of recruitment, where a leader walks its follower from one location to another while maintaining physical contact throughout the process, for nest relocation. In lab based experiments three different levels of stress were applied to the colonies such that they were forced to relocate - first with only physical disturbance, where colony structure was disturbed, in the second increase in light intensity was applied along with physical disturbance, and in the third temperature of the nest was increased along with physical disturbance and increased light intensity. No significant increase was detected in either the relocation time or the rate of relocation with increasing stress. Similarly there was no significant impact on the division of labour among the leaders who were responsible for carrying out the relocation process with increasing stress. Thus we conclude that D. indicum colonies are immune to the stress level we subjected them to and that the relocation process they employ is rather robust. Further examination with additional stress and higher sample sizes will strengthen the current study and help us to understand the amazing adaptations these superorganisms show to the environment they live in.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Supervisor: Dr. Sumana Annagiri
Uncontrolled Keywords: Relocation; Ant Colony; Nest Relocation; Stress; Ant
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
Depositing User: IISER Kolkata Librarian
Date Deposited: 14 May 2013 09:56
Last Modified: 12 Nov 2014 05:00

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