Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SpaceRadarPollinator Report Summary

Project ID: 339347
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: United Kingdom

Mid-Term Report Summary - SPACERADARPOLLINATOR (Space use by bees– radar tracking of spatial movement patterns of key pollinators)

For the first time in any animal, we have been able to radar-track the precise spatial whereabouts of some individual bumblebees for the entire lifetimes. This study (published by Woodgate et al 2016, PLoS ONE) revealed how bees first explore their environment to collect general spatial information as well as information about suitable foraging locations, and then switch from exploration to exploitation of suitable flower patches and sometimes back to exploration if previously exploited patches become unsuitable. The study also revealed highly individually different strategies of the foragers tested. Another study revealed the spatial structure and mathematical properties of bumblebees’ flight in three dimensions (Lihoreau et al 2016, Scientific Reports). We also explored how, when pairs of bumblebees are tested, they compete with each other for information and resources (Lihoreau et al 2016, PLoS One). A surprising discovery in the exploration of spatial orientation was that when bees have to make intermediate spatial choices to an ambiguous destination between two training locations, their behaviour bears all the hallmarks of emotion like states comparable to those found in mammals (Perry et al 2016, Science). We also discovered that bees caged in a transparent container could learn, by observing knowledgeable conspecifics, the spatial location at which they needed to position themselves in order to obtain a hidden reward by pulling a string (Alem et al. 2016, PLoS Biology). This study and several of the ones listed above generated global media coverage. For example, just one video posted on The Guardian’s Facebook page about the last study was viewed more than 10 Million times within 2 weeks of publication.

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United Kingdom
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