Kaur, Rajbir Dr.

Dr. Rajbir Kaur

Curriculum Vitae

Since 2016 Humboldt postdoctoral fellow, University of Mainz, Germany
2015-2016 IISER-Mohali postdoctoral fellow, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research-Mohali, India
2008-2015 Ph.D thesis. Biology, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research-Kolkata, India

Title: Behavioural mechanism of colony relocation in the Indian queenless ant Diacamma indicum.

2006-2007 Lecturer, DPMC, Dehradun, India
2004-2006 M.Sc Biotechnology, H. N. B. Garhwal University, India

B.Sc Biology, University of Delhi, Delhi, India


Postdoctoral Project: Influence of personality composition of groups on their decision making process

How groups make decisions remains an intriguing scientific question. Studies on collective decision-making processes in humans revealed that groups benefit from a diverse personality composition, especially when novel problem solutions are necessary. Similarly, Temnothorax ant colonies are more productive when consisting of workers of different behavioral types. Social insects are obligatory group-living species, which live in self-organized societies. These relatively stable groups allow to study the influence of individual personalities on decision-making during critical situations such as nest defense or relocation. Previous studies have shown that social insects often use a quorum system, in which a collective decision is made after a certain percentage of group members decided individually. In emergency situations, this slow process may be too costly and specialists or keystone individuals dominate the decision-making process. Such an emergency is the attack of slavemakers on ant colonies. The ant Temnothorax longispinosus, host to the slavemaking ant Temnothorax americanus shows two kinds of responses when under slavemaker attack – fight or flight (Jongepier and Foitzik, 2016). It is unclear what influences which decision the colonies make, but we expect that the colonies’ composition into known behavioral types influences the decision-making process. Workers can be assigned to these behavioral categories based on individual tests and colony composition can be manipulated. Presently, I am working on a) how group decisions, in particular nest relocation, are influenced by different behvaioural types and b) how consistent these behvaioural types are at the level of both colony and individual.

Temnothorax longispinosus Host colony Temnothorax americanus slavemaker colony


Kaur, R., Joseph, J. Anoop, K. & Sumana, A. (accepted). Characterization of recruitment through tandem running in an Indian queenless ant Diacamma indicum. Royal Society Open Science.

Kaur, R. & Sumana, A. (2015). Influence of colony associated factors on nest selection in an Indian queenless ant. Ecological Entomology. 40, 78-84.

Kaur, R. & Sumana, A. (2014). Coupled adult-brood transport augments relocation in the Indian queenless ant Diacamma indicum. Insectes Sociaux.16, 141-143.

Kaur, R., Anoop, K. & Sumana, A. (2012). Leader follows leaders to reunite colony – Relocation dynamics of Indian queenless ant in its natural habitat. Animal Behaviour. 83, 1345-1353.