Solitary organisms can minimise fitness loss from parasitism with a facultative change to an earlier reproduction. Such a shift of the reproductive effort gives the host a chance to compensate for the cost on future reproduction resulting from the infection. In the case of social insects, where brood care and reproductive effort are shared between the queen and her workers, adjustments of the reproductive effort would depend on collective decision-making.
In the February issue of Ecology Letters, Moret and Schmid-Hempel at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zurich, report a study that tested for this possibility by experimentally activating the immune response of individual workers in colonies of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris. This induction resulted, in combination with environmental conditions, in a reduction of fitness of the social unity and a collective response towards earlier reproduction. As both phenomena are expressed at the level of the colony, the result suggests that key elements of the use of immune defence have been maintained through the evolutionary transition to sociality.
Kate Stinchcombe | alfa
Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta
Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
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