Dresden 2020 – wissenschaftliches Programm

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BP: Fachverband Biologische Physik

BP 28: Statistical Physics of Biological Systems II (joint session BP/DY)

BP 28.4: Vortrag

Mittwoch, 18. März 2020, 16:00–16:15, ZEU 250

Specialisation and plasticity in a primitive social insect — •Adolfo Alsina1, Solenn Patalano2, Martin Bachman3, Irene Gonzalez-Navarrete4, Stephanie Dreier5, Shankar Balasubramanian3, Seirian Sumner5, Carlos Gregorio-Rodriguez6, Wolf Reik2, and Steffen Rulands11Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden, Germany — 2The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK — 3University of Cambridge, Cambridge , UK — 4Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), Barcelona , Spain — 5Institute of Zoology, London , UK — 6Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), Madrid, Spain

Biological systems not only have the remarkable capacity to build and maintain complex spatio-temporal structures in noisy environments, they can also rapidly break up and rebuild such structures. How can such systems can simultaneously achieve both robust specialisation and plasticity is poorly understood. Here we use primitive societies of Polistes wasps as a model system where we experimentally perturb the social structure by removing the queen and follow the relaxation dynamics back to the social steady state over time. We combine a unique experimental strategy correlating measurements across vastly different spatial scales with a theoretical approach. We show that Polistes integrates antagonistic processes on multiple scales to distinguish between extrinsic and intrinsic perturbations and thereby achieve both robust specialisation and rapid plasticity. Such dynamics provide a general principle of how both specialization and plasticity can be achieved in biological systems.

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