Emergence of increased division of labor as a function of group size

Raphaël Jeanson, Jennifer Fewell, Root Gorelick, Susan M. Bertram

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    89 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Empirical evidence suggests that division of labor in insect societies is positively related to group size both within and across taxa. Response threshold models (RTM) have been commonly used to analyze patterns of division of labor. However, these models have been explored empirically and theoretically for only a limited number of tasks, and few studies have examined predictions of the model as colony size and work availability change. We theoretically examine how group size influences division of labor using a fixed response-threshold model. We simultaneously explore how expected by-products of increased colony size, including demand (total work need relative to total work force available) and task number, affect this relationship. Our results indicate that both low demand and high task number positively influence division of labor. We suggest that these changes parallel what is observed within social groups as their size increases, and that, in part, the commonly observed increased division of labor with increasing group size is emergent.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)289-298
    Number of pages10
    JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
    Volume62
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 2007

    Fingerprint

    polyethism
    labor division
    group size
    eclosion
    Advisory Committees
    Insects
    insect colonies
    labor force
    byproducts
    insect
    prediction

    Keywords

    • Colony size
    • Division of labor
    • Tasks number
    • Threshold model

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Ecology
    • Behavioral Neuroscience

    Cite this

    Emergence of increased division of labor as a function of group size. / Jeanson, Raphaël; Fewell, Jennifer; Gorelick, Root; Bertram, Susan M.

    In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Vol. 62, No. 2, 12.2007, p. 289-298.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Jeanson, Raphaël ; Fewell, Jennifer ; Gorelick, Root ; Bertram, Susan M. / Emergence of increased division of labor as a function of group size. In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 2007 ; Vol. 62, No. 2. pp. 289-298.
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