ECOL 467/567: Pollination ecology
Behavior, cognition, and ecology of pollinators

course description & schedule
Course syllabus (pdf file)
another graduate course taught by me: ECOL596V
another course taught by me: ECOL597S
another graduate course taught by me: ECOL596H
Course list for the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
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Soc. Ins. Lab

This course was taught in Spring 2009.
It will be on offer again, but possibly not until Fall 2011 or later.
If you are a student interested in the course, drop me an email, so I can judge how many people would like to take it.

We will discuss current research topics related to the coevolution of pollinators and plants. This will include issues of cognitive ecology, signal detection & evolution, evolution of mutualisms, cheating and cooperation, foraging theory, biological markets, etc. Students will also have the opportunity to suggest topics for discussion.
The goal of this class is to give students a comprehensive background in current issues and research topics related to the evolution and ecology of pollinator-plant interactions. In addition, students will get the opportunity to discuss how theory and conceptual advances in this area relate to their own research topics. We will mostly stick to current literature, but also read a book on cognitive ecology of pollination as an introduction. The format of the class will enable students to get training in giving presentations and chairing discussions, as well as skills in summarizing and evaluating relevant literature.
Students will become familiar with the terminology and methods used in cognitive ecology, foraging theory, and ecology and evolution of mutualisms research. Students will practice reading and discussing current research in fields that are not directly related to their own. They will also be trained in presenting on their own field/interests to a non-specialist audience.

We are very lucky that some of the most prominent scientists in this area have agreed to give guest lectures in the class: Dan Papaj, Nick Waser, James Thomson, Ted Fleming, and Judie Bronstein.

Grading: there is no end-of-term paper or exam. The main assignment is to prepare a presentation and discussion session (including a one-page handout) and to write or revise a "Wikipedia" entry related to the topic of your presentation. Grades are also based on participation in discussions, and reading the readings.

STUDENTS: make sure you give a 'who's who' presentation in every class from now on - you have to do 5 total - one slide only, no more than 5 min - include a picture of the person, their research area and their major contributions made so far, and some personal stuff (where do they work, where did they do their PhD, etc.).
Also, make sure you pick a topic to write your Wikipedia article on, and start thinking about how to do that.

open sections of this course: 467, 567

Please email me if you have questions about the course:

Instructor: Anna Dornhaus
I'm a biologist with a special interest in collective behavior and cognition (esp. 'collective intelligence'). I work with social insects, particularly bumble bees, honey bees, and ants.
check out my lab webpage, department webpage, or personal webpage
Feel free to contact me with questions about the course or if you are interested in working in my lab:

Students from this course have created, substantially edited or expanded the following Wikipedia articles:
- none yet -

Students: please check whether your article was tagged, and address the comments or respond to them. Please read the quality/formatting standards for Wikipedia if your article receives a complaint. Feel free to add to/improve other students' articles. Some of these articles may be better joined together or joined with relevant larger categories. You can also comment on the tags on other student's articles.

Course plan for Fall 2009

Date Topic Presenter Reading
Aug 26 Picking topics & dates Dornhaus -
Sep 2 Foraging behavior by pollinators - effects on plants Sevan Suni Harder et al. 2001, Heinrich 1975
Sep 9 Optimal foraging and adaptation in foraging Judith Ramirez Chittka et al. 1999, Raine et al. 2006
Sep 16 Traplining and other search patterns Fred Drumlevitch Thomson 1995, Ohashi & Thomson 2005, Saleh & Chittka 2007
Sep 23 Communication and recruitment Alexander Walton Dornhaus & Chittka 2004b, NEW: Gruter & Farina 2009, optional: Dornhaus & Chittka 2004a, Gruter et al. 2008, Brockmann & Sen Sarma 2009
Sep 30 Pollinator cognition Dan Papaj guest lecture Raguso & Willis 2002, Lynn et al. 2005, skim this: Hebets & Papaj 2005
Oct 7 Learning, neural constraints, and foraging specialization Chris Meehan Waser et al. 1996, Chittka & Thomson 1997
Oct 14 Pollination syndromes Nick Waser & Mary Price Waser et al., Ollerton et al. 2009, optionally see this discussion in the literature: Smith et al. 2008, Fenster et al. in press, Smith et al. in press
Oct 21 Social learning in pollinators Kathleen Powers Worden & Papaj 2005, Leadbeater & Chittka 2007, optional: Chittka & Leadbeater 2007
Oct 28 Flowers as acoustic stimuli Judith Ramirez v. Helversen et al. 2003, v. Helversen & v. Helversen 2003, optional: v. Helversen 2004
Nov 4 Traplining or Plant-pollinator coevolution James Thomson guest lecture Ohashi & Thomson 2009
Nov 11 Veteran's Day no classes -
Nov 18 Evolution of pollination mutualisms Judie Bronstein guest lecture Herre et al. 2008, Sakai 2002, optional: Bronstein et al. 2006
Nov 25 Vertebrates as pollinators Ted Fleming guest lecture Fleming et al. 2009, optional: Fleming & Muchhala 2008
Dec 2 Biological Markets Fred Drumlevitch Ollerton 2006
Dec 9 Plant-pollinator (food) webs Chris Meehan Memmot 1999