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Colony Personality and Pace-of-life Syndrome in Bumblebees (ColonyPersPOLs)
Start date: Mar 1, 2013, End date: Feb 28, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Human personality is a rather self-evident phenomenon with which we are all intimately familiar. In recent years, evidence has been accumulating that personality is not only found in humans but also in a wide range of other animal species. Even if it was thought that there was no particular reason for animals to have personality, it is now recognised that consistent individual differences in behaviour could be adaptive. The pace-of-life syndrome (POLs) hypothesis predicts that individuals should differ in a suite of physiological traits that have coevolved with the life-history particularities of the species and very recent arguments suggest that differences in personality should also form integrative POLs. Yet, only very few empirical studies have shown a link between life history, immunity and behaviour within a species. This proposal aims at filling an important lacuna in the field by incorporating consistent colony behavioural traits within the POLs, using bumblebee colonies as a model system. I focus on the colony-level behaviour because 1) no work has ever addressed if and how differences in colony-level personality should form integrative POLs 2) the use of whole insect colonies will give the unique opportunity to study simultaneously the phenomenon of personality at multiple levels of individuality, deconstruct the seemingly complex colony personality into units (workers' personality) and experimentally manipulate them. I will first show if there are POLs in which colony personality covaries with colony physiology and colony life history traits. I will then delineate the underlying mechanisms leading to colony POLs analysing the role of each single bee personality in determining colony personality and its connection to colony immunity and life history. I will examine if different colony personalities, from a POLs perspective, are linked to different levels of susceptibility delineating the evolutionary and ecological consequences of personality and POLs.
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