Document Detail

Balancing organization and flexibility in foraging dynamics.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20627107     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Process    
Proper pattern organization and reorganization are central problems facing many biological networks which thrive in fluctuating environments. However, in many cases the mechanisms that organize system activity oppose those that support behavioral flexibility. Thus, a balance between pattern organization and pattern flexibility is critically important for overall biological fitness. We study this balance in the foraging strategies of ant colonies exploiting food in dynamic environments. We present discrete time and space simulations of colony activity that uses a pheromone-based recruitment strategy biasing foraging towards a food source. After food relocation, the pheromone must evaporate sufficiently before foraging can shift colony attention to a new food source. The amount of food consumed within the dynamic environment depends non-monotonically on the pheromone evaporation time constant-with maximal consumption occurring at a time constant which balances trail formation and trail flexibility. A deterministic, 'mean field' model of pheromone and foragers on trails mimics our colony simulations. This reduced framework captures the essence of the flexibility-organization balance, and relates optimal pheromone evaporation to the timescale of the dynamic environment. We expect that the principles exposed in our study will generalize and motivate novel analysis across a broad range systems biology.
Michaelangelo Tabone; Bard Ermentrout; Brent Doiron
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2010-07-11
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of theoretical biology     Volume:  266     ISSN:  1095-8541     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Theor. Biol.     Publication Date:  2010 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-08-24     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376342     Medline TA:  J Theor Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  391-400     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Department of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
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