Social network plasticity decreases disease transmission in a eusocial insect

N. Stroeymeyt, A.V. Grasse, A. Crespi, D. Mersch, S. Cremer, L. Keller, Science 362 (2018) 941–945.

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Journal Article | Published | English
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Abstract
Animal social networks are shaped by multiple selection pressures, including the need to ensure efficient communication and functioning while simultaneously limiting disease transmission. Social animals could potentially further reduce epidemic risk by altering their social networks in the presence of pathogens, yet there is currently no evidence for such pathogen-triggered responses. We tested this hypothesis experimentally in the ant Lasius niger using a combination of automated tracking, controlled pathogen exposure, transmission quantification, and temporally explicit simulations. Pathogen exposure induced behavioral changes in both exposed ants and their nestmates, which helped contain the disease by reinforcing key transmission-inhibitory properties of the colony's contact network. This suggests that social network plasticity in response to pathogens is an effective strategy for mitigating the effects of disease in social groups.
Publishing Year
Date Published
2018-11-23
Journal Title
Science
Acknowledgement
This project was funded by two European Research Council Advanced Grants (Social Life, 249375, and resiliANT, 741491) and two Swiss National Science Foundation grants (CR32I3_141063 and 310030_156732) to L.K. and a European Research Council Starting Grant (SocialVaccines, 243071) to S.C.
Volume
362
Issue
6417
Page
941 - 945
ISSN
IST-REx-ID

Cite this

Stroeymeyt N, Grasse AV, Crespi A, Mersch D, Cremer S, Keller L. Social network plasticity decreases disease transmission in a eusocial insect. Science. 2018;362(6417):941-945. doi:10.1126/science.aat4793
Stroeymeyt, N., Grasse, A. V., Crespi, A., Mersch, D., Cremer, S., & Keller, L. (2018). Social network plasticity decreases disease transmission in a eusocial insect. Science, 362(6417), 941–945. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aat4793
Stroeymeyt, Nathalie, Anna V Grasse, Alessandro Crespi, Danielle Mersch, Sylvia Cremer, and Laurent Keller. “Social Network Plasticity Decreases Disease Transmission in a Eusocial Insect.” Science 362, no. 6417 (2018): 941–45. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aat4793.
N. Stroeymeyt, A. V. Grasse, A. Crespi, D. Mersch, S. Cremer, and L. Keller, “Social network plasticity decreases disease transmission in a eusocial insect,” Science, vol. 362, no. 6417, pp. 941–945, 2018.
Stroeymeyt N, Grasse AV, Crespi A, Mersch D, Cremer S, Keller L. 2018. Social network plasticity decreases disease transmission in a eusocial insect. Science. 362(6417), 941–945.
Stroeymeyt, Nathalie, et al. “Social Network Plasticity Decreases Disease Transmission in a Eusocial Insect.” Science, vol. 362, no. 6417, NLM , 2018, pp. 941–45, doi:10.1126/science.aat4793.
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