Offre de thèse : University of Konstanz, Germany

A fully funded position is available to study the social regulation of stinging behaviour of honeybees. Honeybees defend their nest against large predators thanks to a collective effort to harass and sting the intruder. The stinger apparatus has evolved to detach upon stinging elastic skin (such as ours) to maximize venom delivery, but the drawback is that the mutilated bee then dies within a few hours. Thus, the colony under threat must achieve a delicate balance: enough bees need to respond that the intruder is successfully deterred, but without unnecessarily depleting the colony of its workforce. The aim of this project is to understand how this balance is reached. In particular, it focuses on how each individual bee takes the decision to attack or not, depending on the social information that it receives. We aim for an integrative approach, ranging from behavioural experiments and modelling to neuroanatomy and pharmacology.

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