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Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Program

Biology

Date of Award

5-2010

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Darrell J. Moore

Committee Members

Edith Seier, Thomas C. Jones

Abstract

Classical experiments on honey bee time-memory showed that foragers trained to collect food at a fixed time of day return the following day with a remarkable degree of time-accuracy. A series of field experiments revealed that not all foragers return to a food source on unrewarded test days. Rather, there exist two subgroups: "persistent" foragers reconnoiter the source; "reticent" foragers wait in the hive for confirmation of source availability. A forager's probability of being persistent is dependent both on the amount of experience it has had at the source and the environmental conditions present, but the probability is surprisingly high (0.4-0.9). Agent-based simulation of foraging behavior indicated these high levels of persistence represent an energetically optimal strategy, which is likely a compromise solution to an ever-changing environment. Time-memory, with its accompanying anticipation, enables foragers to improve time-accuracy, quickly reactivating the foraging group to more efficiently exploit a food source.

Document Type

Thesis - Campus Only

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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