Much of behavioral ecology focuses on 'optimal' behavior, i.e. evolution of behaviors that are the best solution to a specific situation. However, animals in nature are confronted with ever-changing circumstances, and often have a diverse set of strategies to adapt their behavior to these. We study how such adaptability is generated at the group level in social insects, and what limits to flexibility exist (or what trade-offs social insects face in this context).
Learning and cognition: individual information use, learning and social learning, and processing of complex signals
Specialization and division of labor: how are flexibility and robustness achieved, and do they trade-off with efficiency? - in the works
‘Personalities’ and behavioral syndromes: personalities are individual (or colony) differences in behavior; behavioral syndromes are sets of correlated traits. Both may imply lack of flexibility, i.e. if individuals stick to their typical reactions despite changing circumstances, and if traits cannot be disassociated from their syndrome. Why do such apparent inflexibilities arise?