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Title: A Stochastic Model of Territorial Conflict in Tetramorium caespitum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
Authors: Munoz-Rogers, Rodrigo
Advisors: Couzin, Iain
Department: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Class Year: 2013
Abstract: Limited resources lead to agonistic encounters between animals. Competition between conspecifics can be particulary fierce, as members of the same species vie for the same food sources, habitat spaces, and reproductive partners. Because physical fighting is so costly, selection should favor behaviors that mitigate conflict. Several species across taxa do indeed use displays, rituals, and varying degrees of assessment to partition resources without physical altercations. Territoriality arises when the benefits of excluding competitors from a bounded space through these means outweigh the costs. Social animals maintaining territories present especially complicated cases in terms of intergroup dynamics during territorial conflict. The social insects present a unique way to study these intergoup dynamics. Using Tetramorium caespitum as a focal species, I here present a stochastic model for intercolonial territorial conflicts in these ants. In a review of modeling techniques of agonstic behavior and conflicts in the Formicidae, nestmate recognition, RHP assessment in terms of size disparities between workers, encounter context, and proportions of nestmates present versus enemies present all seem to modulate aggressive behavior in many species. I conclude that more rigorous ethological studies in tandem with theoretical models will greatly increase our understanding of agonistic behavior in ants, and likewise in animals in general.
Extent: 69 pages
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1992-2016

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