Eric Romero Gonzalez
Project Title: Social learning across species boundaries – how honeybees learn about floral resources from bumblebees and vice versa
Summary: The aim of the project is to study heterospecific social learning using honeybees (Apis mellifera) and bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) as models.
Research on social learning has shown that bees can learn about valuable foraging sources by relying on information provided by conspecifics. However, heterospecific social learning has remained understudied. Previous research using dead or model bees has shown that bumblebees can obtain information about useful flowers from heterospecific demonstrators. However, it remains unknown whether a demonstrator moving on flowers can provide a better cue for social learning. In addition, we will evaluate whether the probability of observers copying demonstrators depends on similarity between species. Therefore, this project will use various clay models of close or distant relatives of the honeybee.