Social behaviour is ubiquitous in nature, and lies at the heart of the so-called "major transitions in evolution", which resulted in the progressive evolution of cells, organisms and animal societies. The Laboratory of Socioecology and Social Evolution (LSSE) is interested in the factors that drive such social behaviour and other complex traits in nature, and uses social insects (ants, bees and wasps), microorganisms, humans and artificial robot swarms as its key model system. Aside from basic research on the evolution of sociality we also study more applied questions relating for example to honeybee diseases, swarm intelligence and evolutionary robotics. Among the techniques we use are video-assisted behavioural observation, pheromone bioassays, chemical analyses using GC/MS, functional morphology, evolutionary modeling, experimental games with human subjects, computer programming, genetic analysis of kinship patterns and microarray and RNAseq differential expression analysis.
Our team currently comprises two PIs, Prof. Tom Wenseleers and Prof. Johan Billen, five postdocs, seven PhD-students, one research fellow, three masters students, four bacherlors students, a lab technician and a varying number of visiting researchers. If you are interested in doing an internship, PhD or postdoc, please look under vacancies or drop us an email.
A sampling of some of our publications :