Presentation Title

An analysis of how Tapinoma Ants Respond to a Trade-off Between Distance and Food Quality

Faculty Mentor

Peter Nonacs

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

Location

87

Session

poster 1

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

Optimal foraging theory is often used to explain the trade-offs organisms make when searching for food in complex environments. Ants are a good study system to examine behavioral trade-offs when foraging because their colony growth depends on the amount of food brought back to the nest by foragers. Ants have been shown to assess their environment and communicate complex information to each other to increase the number of individuals foraging at a discovered food source. Here, I investigated the foraging decisions of Tapinoma sessile an ant species commonly known to be a house pest in North America. I explored how these ants prioritized the quality of food in comparison to the distance they have to travel to obtain it. Ant colonies were baited in the field with two different food sources, a high-quality source (highly concentrated sugar water) and a low quality food source (low concentration of sugar water). The high-quality food was always placed twice the distance from the nest than the low quality food source was placed. I observed 3 colonies each of which underwent 3 trials lasting 2 hours. During trials both the high- and low-quality foods were present at their respective experimental distances and the number of ants at each food source was counted every 15 minutes. The results of this work did not demonstrate a trade-off between distance and food quality. Both the close and far food source were utilized by ants at the same rate. However, the amount of time in which the food source had been available had a significant influence on how many ants were at a particular source, such that as time increased the number of ants on either food source increased. This trend reversed after 60 minutes of exposure which may indicate satiation. A greater understanding of how ants make decisions on where to forage may be helpful in creating novel pest management strategies

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Nov 23rd, 8:00 AM Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM

An analysis of how Tapinoma Ants Respond to a Trade-off Between Distance and Food Quality

87

Optimal foraging theory is often used to explain the trade-offs organisms make when searching for food in complex environments. Ants are a good study system to examine behavioral trade-offs when foraging because their colony growth depends on the amount of food brought back to the nest by foragers. Ants have been shown to assess their environment and communicate complex information to each other to increase the number of individuals foraging at a discovered food source. Here, I investigated the foraging decisions of Tapinoma sessile an ant species commonly known to be a house pest in North America. I explored how these ants prioritized the quality of food in comparison to the distance they have to travel to obtain it. Ant colonies were baited in the field with two different food sources, a high-quality source (highly concentrated sugar water) and a low quality food source (low concentration of sugar water). The high-quality food was always placed twice the distance from the nest than the low quality food source was placed. I observed 3 colonies each of which underwent 3 trials lasting 2 hours. During trials both the high- and low-quality foods were present at their respective experimental distances and the number of ants at each food source was counted every 15 minutes. The results of this work did not demonstrate a trade-off between distance and food quality. Both the close and far food source were utilized by ants at the same rate. However, the amount of time in which the food source had been available had a significant influence on how many ants were at a particular source, such that as time increased the number of ants on either food source increased. This trend reversed after 60 minutes of exposure which may indicate satiation. A greater understanding of how ants make decisions on where to forage may be helpful in creating novel pest management strategies