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MechAnt SIGNED

Behavioural biomechanics of insect herbivory - a case study on leaf-cutter ants

Total Cost €

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EC-Contrib. €

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Partnership

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 MechAnt project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the MechAnt project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "MechAnt" about.

proposes    constraints    continuing    species    foraging    toughness    yield    sized    interactions    separate    principal    terrestrial    behavioural    adaptive    material    cutting    science    ease    physical    computer    ergonomic    ant    little    ing    herbivorous    materials    performance    engineers    feeders    determinant    highlight    ecosystem    colonies    leaf    reveal    labour    individual    mechanical    castes    engineering    pose    feeding    leaves    cutter    dominant    insect    division    protection    combine    pest    parties    security    crop    mechant    integrating    ontogeny    hypothesis    model    herbivores    mechanics    colony    quantitatively    eusocial    ranging    social    ecology    vision    cut    wear    energetic    ecosystems    plant    biomechanical    hence    mandibular    underpinning    criteria    pave    relationship    insects    ants    organisation    world    machine    workers    food    transform    learning    demography    threat    link    herbivore    insights    nano    rigorous    foragers    differently    global    investigation    strategies    plants    evolution    relations    determinants    innovations   

Project "MechAnt" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.

Coordinator
IMPERIAL COLLEGE OF SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND MEDICINE 

Organization address
address: SOUTH KENSINGTON CAMPUS EXHIBITION ROAD
city: LONDON
postcode: SW7 2AZ
website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 1˙998˙764 €
 EC max contribution 1˙998˙764 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2019-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2020
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2020-01-01   to  2024-12-31

 Partnership

Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    IMPERIAL COLLEGE OF SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND MEDICINE UK (LONDON) coordinator 1˙998˙764.00

Map

 Project objective

Insect herbivores are a dominant element in terrestrial ecosystems, and pose a continuing threat to global food security. However, little is known about a key determinant of insect herbivore success: the mechanics of plant-feeding. MechAnt proposes to transform our understanding of insect-plant relations by providing a rigorous biomechanical investigation into how insects cut leaves, using the major ecosystem engineers and principal insect pest of the New World, the leaf-cutter ants, as a model system. Specifically, MechAnt will combine the traditionally separate fields of behavioural ecology, mechanical engineering, materials science, computer vision and machine learning to investigate: (1) the mechanical and energetic constraints determining the cutting ability, and ontogeny of task choice of differently-sized workers, and hence the adaptive value of physical castes in eusocial insects; (2) the relationship between plant material properties, ease of cutting, and mandibular wear, which will reveal the key mechanical determinants of plant-herbivore species interactions; (3) the division of labour, ontogeny and demography of leaf-cutter colonies foraging on leaves of different “toughness”, testing the hypothesis that leaf-cutter colonies are organised according to ergonomic criteria. By integrating insights ranging from nano-scale mechanics up to whole-colony ecology, MechAnt will quantitatively link the mechanical properties of plants with the performance of individual foragers, the organisation of foraging parties, and the demography and social organisation of leaf-cutter ant colonies. The resulting understanding of the biomechanical innovations underpinning the success of the leaf-cutter ants will yield insights into the behavioural ecology of advanced plant-feeders, highlight the role of biomechanical constraints in the behaviour and evolution of herbivorous insects, and pave the way for the development of novel crop protection strategies.

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The information about "MECHANT" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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