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The variability and adaptive value of visual learning performance in wild and domesticated colonies of the common eastern bumblebee, Bombus impatiens

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Title: The variability and adaptive value of visual learning performance in wild and domesticated colonies of the common eastern bumblebee, Bombus impatiens
Author: Rusnock, Harry
Department: School of Environmental Sciences
Program: Environmental Sciences
Advisor: Raine, Nigel
Abstract: This thesis examined the adaptive value of visual associative learning in the bumblebee Bombus impatiens, first by quantifying variation in performance across four laboratory colour-learning tasks for wild and domesticated colonies, and then by assessing the field foraging performance of individuals relative to their learning ability. Domesticated colonies differed significantly in terms of Learning Performance Index (LPI) in learning tasks. There was no evidence that colony LPI values were distributed differently in wild and domesticated populations. All colonies displayed similar behavioural patterns across learning tasks: learning performance was greatest when blue was the rewarded floral colour, and performance was significantly reduced after two reversals of the colour-reward association, indicating interference. Bees did not learn to prefer a novel, highly rewarding colour (green). In the field, bees with superior LPI scores collected significantly more pollen and nectar per foraging bout, but had similar overall productivity to bees with worse scores.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/16079
Date: 2019-05
Rights: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International