Neural mechanisms of social behavior

The social interaction with others has beneficial impact in various animals. Animals develop the social behavior that can be flexibly modified depending on the social environment to maximize their fitness and health. At the same time, social deprivation has negative effect for the life of social animals. It is suggested that social interactions influence not only the behavior but also the physiology of social organisms, but there is little information on the mechanisms by which this occurs. Social insects, in particular ants, live in the complex social organization. They are the suitable models to study the complex social behavior. They have small genomes and simpler nervous system than more highly social animals like mammals. However, they live in the sophisticated social organization and innately have complex behaviors. We are investigating the ant’ behavior, physiology, and their gene expression profile by manipulating their social environment and aim to reveal the evolutional origin and neural mechanisms of social behavior.

Koto, A., Mersch, D., Hollisand, B., Keller, L.: Social isolation causes mortality by disrupting energy homeostasis in ants. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 10.1007/s00265-014-1869-6, 2015



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