Project 8
Plasticity and house building in social insects

Led by Graeme Ruxton


termite mound

Photo by Jared Belson


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

Back to top