Navigation Links
Swarms of bees could unlock secrets to human brains
Date:12/9/2011

Scientists at the University of Sheffield believe decision making mechanisms in the human brain could mirror how swarms of bees choose new nest sites.

Striking similarities have been found in decision making systems between humans and insects in the past but now researchers believe that bees could teach us about how our brains work.

Experts say the insects even appear to have solved indecision, an often paralysing thought process in humans, with scouts who seek out any honeybees advertising rival nest sites and butt against them with their heads while producing shrill beeping sounds.

Dr James Marshall, of the University of Sheffield's Department of Computer Science, who led the UK involvement in the project and has also previously worked on similarities between how brains and insect colonies make decisions, said: "Up to now we've been asking if honeybee colonies might work in the same way as brains; now the new mathematical modelling we've done makes me think we should be asking whether our brains might work like honeybee colonies.

"Many people know about the waggle dance that honeybees use to direct hive mates to rich flower patches and new nest sites. Our research published in the journal Science (on December 9), shows that this isn't the only way that honeybees communicate with each other when they are choosing a new nest site; they also disrupt the waggle dances of bees that are advertising alternative sites."

Biologists from Cornell University, New York, University of California Riverside and the University of Bristol set up two nest boxes for a homeless honeybee swarm to choose between and recorded how bees that visited each box interacted with bees from the rival box. They found that bees that visited one site, which were marked with pink paint, tended to inhibit the dances of bees advertising the other site, which were marked with yellow paint, and vice versa

Tom Seeley of Cornell University, author of the best-selling book Honeybee Democracy said "We were amazed to discover that the bees from one nest box would seek out bees performing waggle dances for the other nest box and butt against them with their heads while simultaneously producing shrill beeping sounds. We call this rough treatment the 'stop signal' because most bees that receive this signal will cease dancing a few seconds later."

Dr Patrick Hogan of the University of Sheffield, who constructed the mathematical model of the bees, added: "The bees target their stop signal only at rivals within the colony, preventing the colony as a whole from becoming deadlocked with indecision when choosing a new home. This remarkable behaviour emerges naturally from the very simple interactions observed between the individual bees in the colony."


'/>"/>
Contact: Paul Mannion
P.F.Mannion@Sheffield.ac.uk
01-142-229-851
University of Sheffield
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Bee swarms follow high-speed streaker bees to find a new nest
2. New online report on massive jellyfish swarms released
3. Smart swarms of bacteria inspire robotics researchers
4. Decision making in bee swarms mimic neurons in human brains
5. Vitiligo skin disorder could yield clues in fight against melanoma
6. Saliva proteins could help detection of oral cancer
7. Research about plant viruses could lead to new ways to improve crop yields
8. Nanodiamond drug device could transform cancer treatment
9. UNC study on properties of carbon nanotubes, water could have wide-ranging implications
10. So-called sandfish could help materials handling and process technology specialists
11. Discovery of natural compounds that could slow blood vessel growth
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/17/2017)... -- NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K on Thursday April 13, 2017 ... ... Investor Relations section of the Company,s website at http://www.nxt-id.com  under ... http://www.sec.gov . 2016 Year Highlights: ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... No two people are believed to ... York University Tandon School of Engineering and Michigan ... partial similarities between prints are common enough that ... and other electronic devices can be more vulnerable ... in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication systems feature ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 KEY FINDINGS The global ... a CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period of ... factor for the growth of the stem cell market. ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is ... geography. The stem cell market of the product is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2017)... 23, 2017 As Ebola resurfaces in the ... and 20 suspected cases now reported, a new analysis of ... showed a correlation between the 2014 and 2017 outbreaks of ... sharply in 2012-13, which preceded the 2014 outbreak. An analysis ... gene Replikin counts in 2014-15, which again precedes the current ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Genedata, a leading provider ... the occasion with a strong presence at Bio-IT World Conference & Expo 2017 ... an invitation to all attendees to view posters on the entire range ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Energetiq Technology, a world leader ... expansion to accommodate its rapid growth. , The renovations at the company’s headquarters ... the existing areas. The expansion includes, a state-of-the-art engineering facility, and a second ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Customers often prefer ... again and again. METTLER TOLEDO has released two new videos that show how ... integration of the ACT350 into Siemens and Allen Bradley PLCs is easy and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: