The Difference in Switching Costs Between Bouts of Identical and Different Tasks in Temnothorax rugatulus
AuthorLausman, Tara Lynne
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractA colony of social insects has many tasks to complete for the good of the colony. The tasks, such as brood care, feeding, foraging and building, could be split among its members (implying specialization). Alternatively, ants could just freely switch between tasks, either doing whatever needs to be done or whatever tasks they come into contact with. If individuals switch from one task to another, they may incur costs, including a time cost. So far, research has yet to quantify such task switching costs. To learn more about switching cost, specifically quantifying the cost in terms of time, videos of Temnothorax rugatulus were observed for specific tasks, such as brood care, feeding, foraging and building. The switching costs were measured in two ways depending on whether the non-switching time or switching time were being measured. For the non-switching time between bouts of the same task, the interval time started when the ant stopped touching the brood item and ended when the ant started touching the brood item. For the switching time between two different tasks, time began when the ant stopped one task and ended when the ant began a second task. The interval time was calculated by recording the time, using the timeline on the video, that the ant stopped one task (or bout of one task) and moved on the next. The data collected from the videos were analyzed using a Welch Two-Sample T-test. Through the study, it was discovered that there was, in fact, no significant delay when Temnothorax rugatulus switch from one task to another.
Degree ProgramGraduate College