Waters Lab

Social Insect Biology

BIO 475 (3.0 cr)

Biology of The Social Insects

The eusocial insects, including ants, bees, wasps, and termites, are among the most ecologically dominant species on this planet. They transform the environment, engage in warfare, cultivate symbiotic and agricultural relationships, and construct elaborate nests with complex architectural innovations. Some social insect societies demonstrate hallmark features of altruism and social cohesion while others are ruled by policing behaviors and dominance hierarchies maintained through brutal aggression. This course will explore the mechanisms responsible for the foundation and functional dynamics of social insect societies.