Abstracts (first author)
Growth, maintenance and reproduction in ant colonies
Organisms have to allocate their available resources into growth, maintenance and reproduction throughout their life, and several life-history studies have documented a trade-off between growth and reproduction. However, the invested energy and costs for maintenance are usually difficult to evaluate in individual organisms. In this study, we monitor single-queen ant colonies of the species Cardiocondyla obscurior throughout their whole life. With this model organism, it is possible to not just measure the allocation of resources into colony growth/maintenance and into sexual reproduction but to gain insights in the time-dependent resolution of the allocation patterns throughout the complete life cycle of a large number of colonies and the consequences on colony fitness and queen lifespan. Specifically, we focus on investment into maintenance, which cannot be measured in whole organisms, and its consequences for subsequent colony survival.