Research Interests

In my PhD project I am studying circadian rhythms in bumblebees. Circadian rhythms (like our sleep/wake cycles) enable organisms to anticipate and to prepare for predictable changes in their environment.

In social insects like bumblebees, the colony as a super-organism has a foraging rhythm aligned to the patterns of resource availability. Within this colony rhythm, the activity patterns of individuals are embedded.

I‘m interested in how division of labour in bumblebee colonies changes temporarily under different light conditions, especially under continuous daylight.

To be able to monitor the foraging activity of individual bumblebees over their whole life-span I‘m using the radio frequency identification technology (RFID). Thereby the foragers are tagged individually with small RFID transponders (see picture above). The foraging activity of tagged bees can henceforth be recorded automatically by RFID readers, which are placed at the nest entrance.

An article about the use of RFID in our lab at QMUL - including a short video - can be found at the BBC.