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How ants use quorum sensing to estimate the average quality of a fluctuating resource.

Franks NR, Stuttard JP, Doran C, Esposito JC, Master MC, Sendova-Franks AB, Masuda N, Britton NF - Sci Rep (2015)

Bottom Line: By using a quorum threshold, namely the number of ants within a new nest site, to determine their choice, the ants are in effect voting with their feet.Our results show that such quorum sensing is compatible with homogenization theory such that the average value of a new nest site is determined by ants accumulating within it when the nest site is of high quality and leaving when it is poor.Hence, the ants can estimate a surprisingly accurate running average quality of a complex resource through the use of extraordinarily simple procedures.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol.

ABSTRACT
We show that one of the advantages of quorum-based decision-making is an ability to estimate the average value of a resource that fluctuates in quality. By using a quorum threshold, namely the number of ants within a new nest site, to determine their choice, the ants are in effect voting with their feet. Our results show that such quorum sensing is compatible with homogenization theory such that the average value of a new nest site is determined by ants accumulating within it when the nest site is of high quality and leaving when it is poor. Hence, the ants can estimate a surprisingly accurate running average quality of a complex resource through the use of extraordinarily simple procedures.

No MeSH data available.


The mean probability with 95% CIs of a T. albipennis colony choosing the fluctuating nest (FN) instead of the constant nest (CN) of mediocre quality in relation to the percentage of time it was good vs poor quality; 25% G : 75% P is 25% good : 75% poor quality, 50% G : 50% P is 50% good : 50% poor quality, 75% G : 25% P is 75% good : 25% poor quality.
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f2: The mean probability with 95% CIs of a T. albipennis colony choosing the fluctuating nest (FN) instead of the constant nest (CN) of mediocre quality in relation to the percentage of time it was good vs poor quality; 25% G : 75% P is 25% good : 75% poor quality, 50% G : 50% P is 50% good : 50% poor quality, 75% G : 25% P is 75% good : 25% poor quality.

Mentions: Ant colonies chose the Fluctuating rather than the Mediocre nest with an average probability of 0.809 when the Fluctuating nest was mostly good (75% G : 25% P); with an average probability of 0.484 when it was good and poor for identical periods (50% G : 50% P) and with an average probability of 0.327 when it was mostly poor (25% G : 75% P). The difference between the highest and lowest of these probabilities is statistically significant (GLMM with Bonferroni post-hoc tests, 75% G vs 25% G: t = 2.972, d.f. = 41, p = 0.015; 75% G : vs 50% G: t = 1.856, d.f. = 41, p = 0.141; 50% G vs 25% G: t = 0.833, d.f. = 41, p = 0.410; Fig. 2).


How ants use quorum sensing to estimate the average quality of a fluctuating resource.

Franks NR, Stuttard JP, Doran C, Esposito JC, Master MC, Sendova-Franks AB, Masuda N, Britton NF - Sci Rep (2015)

The mean probability with 95% CIs of a T. albipennis colony choosing the fluctuating nest (FN) instead of the constant nest (CN) of mediocre quality in relation to the percentage of time it was good vs poor quality; 25% G : 75% P is 25% good : 75% poor quality, 50% G : 50% P is 50% good : 50% poor quality, 75% G : 25% P is 75% good : 25% poor quality.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4495386&req=5

f2: The mean probability with 95% CIs of a T. albipennis colony choosing the fluctuating nest (FN) instead of the constant nest (CN) of mediocre quality in relation to the percentage of time it was good vs poor quality; 25% G : 75% P is 25% good : 75% poor quality, 50% G : 50% P is 50% good : 50% poor quality, 75% G : 25% P is 75% good : 25% poor quality.
Mentions: Ant colonies chose the Fluctuating rather than the Mediocre nest with an average probability of 0.809 when the Fluctuating nest was mostly good (75% G : 25% P); with an average probability of 0.484 when it was good and poor for identical periods (50% G : 50% P) and with an average probability of 0.327 when it was mostly poor (25% G : 75% P). The difference between the highest and lowest of these probabilities is statistically significant (GLMM with Bonferroni post-hoc tests, 75% G vs 25% G: t = 2.972, d.f. = 41, p = 0.015; 75% G : vs 50% G: t = 1.856, d.f. = 41, p = 0.141; 50% G vs 25% G: t = 0.833, d.f. = 41, p = 0.410; Fig. 2).

Bottom Line: By using a quorum threshold, namely the number of ants within a new nest site, to determine their choice, the ants are in effect voting with their feet.Our results show that such quorum sensing is compatible with homogenization theory such that the average value of a new nest site is determined by ants accumulating within it when the nest site is of high quality and leaving when it is poor.Hence, the ants can estimate a surprisingly accurate running average quality of a complex resource through the use of extraordinarily simple procedures.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol.

ABSTRACT
We show that one of the advantages of quorum-based decision-making is an ability to estimate the average value of a resource that fluctuates in quality. By using a quorum threshold, namely the number of ants within a new nest site, to determine their choice, the ants are in effect voting with their feet. Our results show that such quorum sensing is compatible with homogenization theory such that the average value of a new nest site is determined by ants accumulating within it when the nest site is of high quality and leaving when it is poor. Hence, the ants can estimate a surprisingly accurate running average quality of a complex resource through the use of extraordinarily simple procedures.

No MeSH data available.