Colony response to graded resource changes: An analytical model of the influence of genotype, environment, and dominance

Susan M. Bertram, Root Gorelick, Jennifer Fewell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    13 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Successful social groups must respond dynamically to environmental changes. However, a flexible group response requires the coordination of many individuals. Here we offer a static analytical model that integrates variation in environment-based cues for performance of a task with genetically and environmentally based variation in individual responses, and predicts the resultant colony behavior for that task. We also provide formulae for computing effective number of alleles in a haplo-diploid colony founded by any number of parents. Variable colony resources combined with variation among worker phenotypes generate known patterns of colony flexibility, allowing us to explicitly test how the number of loci, dominance/codominance, and the phenotype's environment influences group response. Our model indicates that the number of loci strongly influences colony behavior. For one or two loci, the proportion of workers foraging for pollen remain constant over vast increases in colony pollen stores, but then drops dramatically when the pollen stores increase past a specific threshold. As the number of loci controlling pollen foraging increases, graded increases in pollen stores result in a graded drop in the proportion of the worker population foraging for pollen. The effect of number of alleles is less strong, a result we discuss in light of the fact that a low number of effective alleles are expected in a colony. Comparisons of our model with empirical honey bee (Apis mellifera) data indicate that worker foraging response to pollen stores is driven by one or two loci, each with dominant allelic effects. The growing body of evidence that genotype has strong effects on task performance in social insect colonies, and the variation in within-colony genetic diversity across social insect taxa, make our model broadly applicable in explaining social group coordination.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)151-162
    Number of pages12
    JournalTheoretical Population Biology
    Volume64
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 2003

    Fingerprint

    Pollen
    dominance (genetics)
    genotype
    Genotype
    pollen
    resource
    loci
    foraging
    Bees
    Alleles
    social insects
    Task Performance and Analysis
    alleles
    allele
    social insect
    Insects
    codominance
    phenotype
    Phenotype
    insect colonies

    Keywords

    • Effective number of alleles
    • Genetic variation
    • Social group organization

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

    Cite this

    Colony response to graded resource changes : An analytical model of the influence of genotype, environment, and dominance. / Bertram, Susan M.; Gorelick, Root; Fewell, Jennifer.

    In: Theoretical Population Biology, Vol. 64, No. 2, 09.2003, p. 151-162.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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