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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.

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

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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