The Editors of The Journal of Experimental Biology are pleased to announce that Dr Audrey Dussutour from the University of Sydney is the winner of this year's JEB Outstanding Paper Prize. The award is announced on the 28th November in The Journal of Experimental Biology at http://jeb.biologists.org.
This annual prize recognises the contribution of an outstanding young scientist to an exceptional research paper. Dussutour was the first author on the paper 'Carbohydrate regulation in relation to colony growth in ants' (Dussutour and Simpson, 2008) and admits that she was 'very happy and surprised,' when she received the news. 'I had to read the email twice,' she admits. 'At first I wasn't sure if the journal wanted me to apply, but then I realised that I had won,' she laughs. Hans Hoppeler, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Experimental Biology says 'I like this paper because it took one of the dominant questions of biology: "how do animal's adjust their energy intake?" from the level of the collective'. Analysing ant foraging habits in response to differently structured colonies, Dussutour and Simpson found that the larvae's appetite for sugar seems to drive the nest's collective stomach.
Steve Simpson, Dussutour's mentor and co-investigator on the paper, says that this discovery is surprising from an ant foraging perspective, but not from a nutritional perspective. Simpson has a long-standing background in nutrition, having studied animals ranging from locusts to humans, but he had never studied the nutritional requirements of social animals. Dussutour comes from a strong ant behaviour background, having worked with Vincent Fourcassi in Toulouse and Jean-Louis Deneubourg in Brussels on ant traffic jams: or to be more correct the absence of ant traffic jams. 'They never happen, no matter how crowded you make the ants' says Dussutour. So, when Simpson became interested in the problem of how a fe
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