Individual variation in social behavior is one of the most striking features of cooperative animal societies. In a new study from the June issue of American Naturalist, Michael A. Cant (University of Cambridge), Justine B. Llop (University of Cambridge), and Jeremy Field (University College London) investigate the extent to which differences in aggressive behavior within a cooperative society can be explained by "inheritance rank"--the likelihood that an individual will get to mate successfully in that society based on their rank--or place in the social hierarchy. They can only pass on their genes when they reach the top of the hierarchy, usually after those ahead of them in the rank have died and they have inherited the right to reproduce.
"Certain group members inflict or receive many more acts of aggression than others. In some cases, these acts (which include bites, shoves, mounts, and charges) appear to regulate cooperative activity in the group by activating lazy workers, for example, or punishing defectors," write the researchers.
The researchers developed two simple mathematical models that predicted that, if inheritance rank mattered in a cooperative society, then the rates of aggression would be highest toward the front of the queue and that the aggression would increase as the time available to inherit the ability to breed ran out in seasonal animals. These predictions were tested on field colonies of the paper wasp Polistes dominulus by recording aggression between all group members and then repeatedly removing the dominant wasps.
Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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