Group Size, Scaling of Work, and Metabolism in Ant Colonies

This project is co-funded by the Animal Behavior program in the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems, the Mathematical Biology program in the Division of Mathematical Sciences, and the BIOMAPS program for proposals at the interface of Biology, Math and the Physical Sciences. Understanding the mechanisms underlying metabolic scaling has potential applications in physiology, medicine, and agriculture. The energy-based models and experiments in this project will be relevant well beyond social insect colonies, including informing human population scaling issues. The project will connect this research with a Mathematics and Social Biology Co-mentoring Program, to train research teams of undergraduates together in biology and mathematics. Students will participate in a formal training program on social biological principles and simulation modeling, and then participate as cross-disciplinary teams in collaborative research. Existing connections with research and minority programs at ASU will be used to recruit under-represented students into the program. Teaching modules on group size, social behavior, and metabolism for online K-12 use will also be developed in collaboration with ASU's Ask-a-Biologist outreach program.

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Project details 

Principal Investigator(s)

Jennifer Fewell

Co-Principal Investigator(s)

Yun Kang

Date: July 15, 2016-June 30, 2019

Agency: NSF (Animal Behavior and Math Biology Programs)

Award: $500,000