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Assignment 1 - Chris Stanton BIONB 221 Section September 6...

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Chris Stanton September 6, 2007 BIONB 221 Section Assignment 1 The scientific paper I chose to discuss was “Interaction rate informs harvester ant task decisions” by Michael Greene and Deborah Gordon. This paper studied the social institutions that are developed between patroller and forager ants in red harvester ant colonies ( Pogonomyrmex barbatus ). The basis for the experiment is that the patroller ants leave the nest as sunrise to examine the mound where the nest is built, frequently stopping to examine the ground with their antennae. Upon their return, they communicate with forager ants using their antennae and, depending on the outcome interaction, forager ants will leave the nest if it is safe and travel about 10 – 15 meters out of the nest. The main question of the experiment was to determine if a particular rate of encounters with patrollers was necessary to elicit foraging ants to begin their work. After studying the nests of five colonies for several weeks, the scientists concluded that is seemed as if the rate of foraging actually depended on the rate that the patroller ants returned. They made several hypotheses and predictions regarding the data that they collected. First, they believed
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