Plasticity and house building in social insects
Led by Graeme Ruxton
This project uses mathematical modelling to investigate the role of developmental plasticity in the evolution of insect nest-building behaviour. We are contrasting constructive (EES) and programmed (traditional) conceptions of development by exploring (i) the importance of plasticity in building rules, and (ii) the extent to which the complete insect construction can be understood in terms of activities responsive only to local conditions in a part of the structure (e.g. light, oxygen or carbon-dioxide levels), as opposed to the final form being genetically specified.
EES predictions this project tests
- Conceptual issues
- Evolutionary innovations
- Inclusive inheritance
- Evolutionary diversification