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How ants use quorum sensing to estimate the average quality of a fluctuating resource

Franks, Nigel R.; Stuttard, Jonathan P.; Doran, Carolina; Esposito, Julian C.; Master, Maximillian C.; Sendova-Franks, Ana B.; Masuda, Naoki; Britton, Nicholas F.

Authors

Nigel R. Franks

Jonathan P. Stuttard

Carolina Doran

Julian C. Esposito

Maximillian C. Master

Ana Sendova-Franks Ana.Sendova-Franks@uwe.ac.uk
Associate Professor in Biometry & Animal Behaviour

Naoki Masuda

Nicholas F. Britton



Abstract

© 2015, Nature Publishing Group. All rights reserved. We show that one of the advantages of quorum-based decision-making is an ability to estimate the average value of a resource that fluctuates in quality. By using a quorum threshold, namely the number of ants within a new nest site, to determine their choice, the ants are in effect voting with their feet. Our results show that such quorum sensing is compatible with homogenization theory such that the average value of a new nest site is determined by ants accumulating within it when the nest site is of high quality and leaving when it is poor. Hence, the ants can estimate a surprisingly accurate running average quality of a complex resource through the use of extraordinarily simple procedures.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 8, 2015
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Research (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 11890
APA6 Citation Franks, N. R., Stuttard, J. P., Doran, C., Esposito, J. C., Master, M. C., Sendova-Franks, A. B., …Britton, N. F. (2015). How ants use quorum sensing to estimate the average quality of a fluctuating resource. Scientific Reports, 5(11890), https://doi.org/10.1038/srep11890
DOI https://doi.org/10.1038/srep11890
Keywords decision-making, quorum sensing, estimating quality, fluctuating resource, complex collective systems, animal behaviour, collective behaviour, applied mathematics
Publisher URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep11890
Related Public URLs http://www.nature.com/srep/2015/150708/srep11890/full/srep11890.html

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