ECOL 497S/597S:

course description
Course syllabus (pdf file)
another graduate course taught by me: ECOL467/567
another graduate course taught by me: ECOL596V
another graduate course taught by me: ECOL596H
Course list for the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
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Soc. Ins. Lab

We will discuss current and classic literature on social insect research. After introductory lectures, the course will include student presentations, discussions of current papers, and guest lectures by experts on various topics.
In the first class session, we will discuss student interests and pick an overarching theme for the class, perhaps 'Colony size', 'Collective foraging', or 'Division of labor'.

The goal of this class is to help students get a solid foundation of knowledge in insect sociobiology, including multilevel selection theory, complex systems theory, behavioral ecology, etc. In addition, students will be introduced to different methods and approaches used in this field, including modeling, lab and field techniques, and genetic tools, and led to consider the use of such methods for their own research. Finally, students will be trained in presentation skills, as well as learning about the career paths of various successful researchers in this field.

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:
Course plan for Fall 2010

Date Topic Presenter Reading
Aug 25 Decided on topics and schedule Dornhaus  
Sep 1 Overview of class and social insect biology, tips on talks Dornhaus  
Sep 8 Evolution of eusociality I: kin selection and haplodiploidy [also: Ant Course in Borneo by Pedro] Dornhaus  
Sep 15 Mechanisms of task allocation (division of labor): in particular, the role of learning Lisa (Danfeng) Wang Ravary et al.
Sep 22 Behavioral syndromes in social insects? Vishwas Boregowda Raine et al.
Sep 29 Evolution of eusociality II: kin vs. group selection and recent controversy Alex Walton Nowak et al.; perhaps also look at the older paper Wilson & Hoelldobler
Oct 6 Social genomics Ryan Ruboyianes Gadau et al. or Bonasio et al.; for a review, check Robinson et al.
Oct 13 The superorganism concept Pedro Rodrigues Strassman & Queller; I also recommend the recent editorial
Oct 20 Evolution of sociality in spiders Scott Trageser Agnarsson et al.
Oct 27 Evolution of learning in bees and other insects Aimee Dunlap Dunlap & Stephens
Nov 3 A discussion on group selection Omar Eldakar Wilson & Wilson; perhaps also check out DS Wilson's blog letter to Dawkins
Nov 10 Structure and function of ant brains Wulfila Gronenberg Gronenberg
Nov 17 Caste evolution Scott Powell Powell; also check out this list for other relevant literature
Nov 24 Evolution and development of morphological castes in ants Diana Wheeler Heinze & Tsuij (focus on winglessness) and Mole et al.
Dec 1 Evolution of body size in insects Goggy Davidowitz Kaspari
Dec 8 Discussion & remaining who's whos Anna Dornhaus -

Who's who in social insect research
All Who's who slides that were presented in Fall 2010.
Who's who talks: everybody will give 5 very short (max 5 min) talks on 5 interesting people who study behavior (I suggest 1 slide).
You have to pick people that noone else is already talking about. Please remember that you cannot do more than one who's who per lecture.
Each who's who should include some bioraphic details, a picture where possible, and a description of major scientific contributions.

Wikipedia articles
Each student writes or substantially expands a wikipedia article. Articles worked on by students from this class:
Apis cerana indica (VB)
Social spiders (ST)
Proboscis extension reflex (DW)
Dominance hierarchy (PAR)
Evolution of eusociality (AW)
Sociogenomics (RR)