Information for students

For the Animal Cognitive Ecology course click here
For  the Agent Based Modelling Workshop click here
Student research in the ACElab

Want to carry out a research project at the ACElab? If you're motivated, reliable, and interested in animal behaviour, you will fit in well here. While primarily aimed at University of Regensburg students, any interested person may apply. Contact Dr. Tomer Czaczkes for details.

 

We offer a range of research project types:

  • 3 and 6 week research practicals (BSc & MSc)
    (note: as 3 weeks is too short to do sensible science, we lengthen these into 4 week projects, students working 4 days a week, c. 6 hours a day)

  • Full BSc and MSc projects

  • PhD studentships
    PhD students from other labs who are interested in running a project in the ACElab are also welcome.

     

(Funded positions will be advertised, but interested students with good ideas can contact T. Czaczkes, and can collaborate on writing a DFG grant for funding)

 

Student projects at the ACElab always involve real research. We aim to publish all student research in high quality journals, with the students as a co-author on the publication.

Experimental methods

The ACE lab is a behavioural ecology lab, so all our projects relate to animal behaviour. Projects might involve:

  • Investigating memory use or trail following in ants using T-mazes

  • Exploring how ants value food sources by observing pheromone deposition (see this in action here)

  • Studying value perception in fruitflies using the Proboscis Extension Response (see this in a action in a different lab here)

  • Studying the cognitive abilites of ants by training them on mazes

  • Studying collective foraging decisions by releasing hundreds of ants onto a foraging arena

  • Studying the shelter preference of woodlice to understand economic trade-offs

  • Using Agent Based Modelling to understand how the behaviours of individual animals affect how groups react

 

Our main study organism is the ant Lasius niger, but we will also study flies, woodlice, spiders, or any other animal which is right for the experiments we want to run. We mainly do lab work, but will happily do fieldwork in both Europe and worldwide, if we can find a good excuse to go.

Marked ants
Marked ants drinking at a feeder
T-maze
Testing pheromone following. The pheromone trail is on the left.
Path use as information
Little glass beads coated in the smell of ants are used to test whether ants use the presence of other ants as an information source.
Collective decision making
We examine how memory and pheromones affect colony-level decisions, such as which food source to use.
Agent-based model
If we can't run the experiment we want to in real life, we can make a model to simulate it.
Ant toilets
Using coloured food, we examine the defecation behaviour of ants. Because why not?
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-click to enlarge-

Hibernation

As we use wild-caught ants, ant work can only take place between March and November. In the winter we work with Drosophila or do modelling work

last updated:  02.07.2019

Marked ants

Marked ants drinking at a feeder