Evol Ecol Res 17: 671-683 (2016) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
Division of labour by provisioners
Ronald C. Ydenberg1 and Lia Hemerik2
1Behavioral Ecology Research Group, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada and 2Biometris, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands
Correspondence: R. Ydenberg, Behavioral Ecology Research Group, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada. email: email@example.com
Question: Animals of many species work as members of a group such as a pair or colony to provision various resources to a central place. Group members could work as generalists (all group members self-feed to obtain fuel and deliver cargo; e.g. food items for offspring, non-food items such as building materials) or as specialists (collect only fuel, or only cargo).
Mathematical method: We developed a simple analytical model to investigate conditions favouring these basic alternatives.
Key assumptions: We assumed that natural selection favours mechanisms that maximize the delivery rate of cargo, fuel being important only in so far as it enables the work of the delivery of cargo to be supported.
Conclusions: The model shows that this division of labour boosts the aggregate rate of cargo delivery when the round trip time a provisioner saves by not having to forage for its own fuel more than offsets the required allocation of group members to exclusive fuel collection. We note that groups with this provisioning division of labour are common in social insects, but appear absent among vertebrates. Several hypotheses may explain this marked difference. We suggest that provisioning by division of labour represents an early step in social evolution that was greatly elaborated in the bees and ants.
Keywords: central place foraging, collection of fuel vs. cargo resources, division of labour, provisioning, social evolution, teamwork.
DOWNLOAD A FREE, FULL PDF COPY
IF you are connected using the IP of a subscribing institution (library, laboratory, etc.)
or through its VPN.
© 2016 Ronald C. Ydenberg. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.
Subscribing institutions/libraries may grant individuals the privilege of making a single copy of an EER article for non-commercial educational or non-commercial research purposes. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also use articles for non-commercial educational purposes by making any number of copies for course packs or course reserve collections. Subscribing institutions/libraries may also loan single copies of articles to non-commercial libraries for educational purposes.
All copies of abstracts and articles must preserve their copyright notice without modification.