Individual heterogeneity and collective behavior in insects
I'm interested in understanding the nature and evolution of social behavior in insects, and particularly in how individual heterogeneity drives group behavior and performance. Using an automated tag tracking system, we've shown that individual bumblebee workers show enormous and persistent variation in behavior, and this variation drives dynamic responses to a collective disturbance. See the "tools and software" page for more information on the tracking approach ("BEEtag"). In collaboration with a team of undergraduate researchers from Harvard College and Dr. Ben de Bivort, I've also used this tracking system to study collective light avoidance behavior in cockroaches (Blaberus discoidalis).
Collective light avoidance behavior in cockroaches (Blaberus discoidalis)
Using BEEtag to track individual cockroaches during collective light avoidance
A video describing our recent study on individualy in bumblebees