- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Like to know more about honey bees make collective decisions?
Mark your calendar to attend a seminar this week at the University of California, Davis.
Brian Johnson, assistant professor at the UC Davis Department of Entomology, will speak on "Organization of Work in the Honey Bee" from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17 in 6 Olson Hall. This is part of the Animal Behavior Graduate Group's winter seminar series.
The talk is open to all interested persons.
"I will be speaking on the role of self-organizing pattern formation mechanisms in biology using collective decision making in the honey bee as a case history," said Johnson, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty last year. He received his doctorate in 2004 from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. in behavioral biology. His UC Davis lab does research on integrative approaches to honey bee behavior, genetics, evolution, and health.
Johnson's major professor, noted bee expert Thomas Seeley of Cornell, delivered two presentations at UC Davis last month.
Seeley, author of Honeybee Democracy, says that honey bees "make decisions collectively--and democratically. Every year, faced with the life-or-death problems of choosing and traveling to a new home, honey bees stake everything on a process that includes collective fact-finding, vigorous debate, and consensus building."
Fortunately, Seeley's two UC Davis talks are available for (yes, free!) public viewing on UCTV. The first, presented Jan. 19, is titled Swarm Intelligence in Honey Bees. The second, given Jan. 20, is The Flight Guidance Mechanism of Honey Bee Swarms.
Also on UCTV, you can listen to Johnson's UC Davis talk last October on How Bees Use Teamwork to Make Honey.
All three were webcast by professor James R. Carey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. Carey strongly believes that research seminars from all 10 UC campuses should be recorded and posted on UCTV. He led the drive to make that happen.
One thing's for certain: you'll never look at honey bees the same way again after accessing these three videos--or reading Seeley's book--or attending Johnson's lecture on Friday.