Dr Tanya Latty

A12 - Macleay Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 5216

Website Room 253, A12 - Macleay
Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory
Homepage

Biographical details

I have a PhD in Insect Ecology and have worked on a wide variety of criters including bees, slime moulds, dragonglies, bark beetles, slugs and ants. I find invertebrates endlessley amazing, and I love using field and lab based experiments to learn more about these fascinating creatures!

Research interests

I am broadly interested in invertebrate behaviour and ecology with a special focus on collective behaviour in social insects and slime moulds. I conduct experiments both in the lab and in the field.

Teaching and supervision

I am always looking for motivated, enthusiastic students to join our vibrant and active lab. I work within the Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects lab group,so my students have the opportunity to interact and work with a wide variety of very clever people including molecular biologists, behavioural ecologists, mathematicians and computer scientists. Honours and PhD projects will usually focus on some aspect ofbehaviour and/or ecologyin ants, slime moulds, honey bees or Australian native bees (although I am open to working with other species). Iam particularly interested in questions related to group behaviour and swarm intelligence.If you think you might be interested in becoming my student, the first step is to have a good look at my publications at the bottom of the page; this will give you a general idea of the kind of projects I typically work on. Next, contact me! My email address is: tanya.latty@sydney.edu.au. I am happy to discuss potential projects.

I also have a number of volunteer opportunities. If you are an undergraduate student interested in getting some experience in a research environment, please drop me an email!

Current projects

Problem solving in slime moulds:Slime moulds are giant unicellular amoebas. Despite lacking a brain, these bizarre organisms are capable of complex problem solving. We have found that slime moulds are capable of balancing risk and food quality, adjusting their search strategies and balancing their nutritional uptake. I am broadly interested in exploring the behaviour of these organisms in more detail.

Dynamic problem solving in ants and slime moulds:The goal of this project is to understand how self-organized natural systems are able to solve problems under changing conditions. I aim to examine the mechanisms that allow these types of decisions to be made in two different decentralized systems: ant colonies and slime moulds. This is part of an international collaboration between the labs of Dr. Madeleine Beekman, Dr. Martin Middendorf, Dr. David Sumpter and Dr. Toshi Nakagaki.

Self-organised transportation networks in ants and slime moulds:I am interested in the structure, function and development of ant transportation networks. Human engineers and urban planners face the task of designing efficient and cost effective networks. Since building longer roads/tracks requires more resources (and is therefore more costly), a challenge for engineers is to design transportation networks that minimise resource use while still maintaining connectivity between cities, stations etc. Similar problems are faced by ant colonies which build trail networks to connect multiple nests to many food sources. How do ants 'design' transportation networks in the absence of centralised control? What, if anything, do ants optimise when building networks? This work is done in close collaboration with computer scientist Kai Ramsch at the University of Leipzig. In addition to these main projects, I have also worked on a number of organisms including: bark beetles, honey bees, banana slugs, Laricobius nigrinius, and flour beetles.

Ecology and Conservation of Australian Native Bees: Australia is home to 1600+ species of native bee and we know almost nothing about their behaviour and ecology. My research on native bees falls into three main areas: the urban ecology of native bees, developing techniues for increasing native bee abundance and diversity in agricultural areas, and investigating the behavioural ecology of native bees.

In the media

Selected grants

2015

  • Bees in the city: conserving native bees in urban environments; Latty T; NSW Environmental Trust/Research Grant.

2011

  • Tracking moving targets: dynamic foraging in ants and slime moulds; Latty T; Australian Research Council (ARC)/Discovery Projects (DP).

2010

  • NSERC Fellowship; Latty T; National Research Council Canada/Research Support.

2008

  • Conference travel to the International Congress of Entomology, Durban, South Africa, July 2008; Latty T; Ian Potter Foundation/Travel Support.

Selected publications

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Journals

  • Tan, K., Latty, T., Hu, Z., Wang, Z., Yang, S., Chen, W., Oldroyd, B. (2014). Preferences and tradeoffs in nectar temperature and nectar concentration in the Asian hive bee Apis cerana. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 68(1), 13-20. [More Information]
  • Reid, C., Beekman, M., Latty, T., Dussutour, A. (2013). Amoeboid organism uses extracellular secretions to make smart foraging decisions. Behavioral Ecology, 24(4), 812-818. [More Information]
  • Latty, T. (2013). Influences of movement behavior on animal distributions at edges of homogeneous patches. International Journal of Zoology, 2013, 1-8. [More Information]
  • Latty, T., Beekman, M. (2013). Keeping track of changes: the performance of ant colonies in dynamic environments. Animal Behaviour, 85(3), 637-643. [More Information]
  • Lihoreau, M., Latty, T., Chittka, L. (2012). An exploration of the social brain hypothesis in insects. Frontiers in Physiology, 3, 1-7. [More Information]
  • Granovskiy, B., Latty, T., Duncan, M., Sumpter, D., Beekman, M. (2012). How dancing honey bees keep track of changes: the role of inspector bees. Behavioral Ecology, 23(3), 588-596. [More Information]
  • Reid, C., Latty, T., Beekman, M. (2012). Making a trail: informed Argentine ants lead colony to the best food by U-turning coupled with enhanced pheromone laying. Animal Behaviour, 84(6), 1579-1587. [More Information]
  • Symonds, M., Magrath, M., Latty, T. (2012). Reproductive Consequences of Male Arrival Order in the Bark Beetle, Ips grandicollis. Journal of Insect Behavior, 25(4), 401-407. [More Information]
  • Reid, C., Latty, T., Dussutour, A., Beekman, M. (2012). Slime mold uses an externalized spatial "memory" to navigate in complex environments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 109(43), 17490-17494. [More Information]
  • Nicolis, S., Zabzina, N., Latty, T., Sumpter, D. (2011). Collective irrationality and positive feedback. PLoS One, 6(4), 1-6. [More Information]
  • Latty, T., Beekman, M. (2011). Irrational decision-making in an amoeboid organism: transitivity and context-dependent preferences. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B Biological Sciences, 278(1703), 307-312. [More Information]
  • Wallin, K., Latty, T., Ross, D. (2011). Orientation Behavior of the Predator Laricobius nigrinus (Coleoptera: Derodontidae) to Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and Host Tree Odors in a Multi-Chambered Olfactometer. Environmental Entomology, 40(4), 864-872. [More Information]
  • Latty, T., Beekman, M. (2011). Speed-accuracy trade-offs during foraging decisions in the acellular slime mould Physarum polycephalum. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B Biological Sciences, 278(1705), 539-545. [More Information]
  • Latty, T., Ramsch, K., Ito, K., Nakagaki, T., Sumpter, D., Middendorf, M., Beekman, M. (2011). Structure and formation of ant transportation networks. Journal of the Royal Society. Interface, 8(62), 1298-1306. [More Information]
  • Dussutour, A., Latty, T., Beekman, M., Simpson, S. (2010). Amoeboid organism solves complex nutritional challenges. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 107(10), 4607-4611.
  • Latty, T., Beekman, M. (2010). Food quality and the risk of light exposure affect patch-choice decisions in the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Ecology, 91(1), 22-27.
  • Latty, T., Reid, M. (2009). First in line or first in time? Effects of settlement order and arrival date on reproduction in a group-living beetle Dendroctonus ponderosae. Journal of Animal Ecology, 78(3), 549-555.
  • Latty, T., Beekman, M. (2009). Food quality affects search strategy in the acellular slime mould, Physarum polycephalum. Behavioral Ecology, 20(6), 1160-1167.
  • Latty, T., Magrath, M., Symonds, M. (2009). Harem size and oviposition behaviour in a polygynous bark beetle. Ecological Entomology, 34(5), 562-568.
  • Latty, T., Duncan, M., Beekman, M. (2009). High bee traffic disrupts transfer of directional information in flying honeybee swarms. Animal Behaviour, 78(1), 117-121. [More Information]
  • Latty, T., Reid, M. (2009). Who goes first? Condition and danger dependent pioneering in a group-living bark beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64(4), 639-646. [More Information]
  • Wallin, K., Latty, T. (2008). Novel intermediate-term individual marking technique for slugs. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 74(3), 299-300.
  • Bailey, S., Hargreaves, A., Hechtenthal, S., Laird, R., Latty, T., Reid, T., Teucher, A., Tindall, J. (2007). Empty flowers as a pollination-enhancement strategy. Evolutionary Ecology Research, 9(8), 1245-1262.
  • Latty, T. (2006). Flexible Mate Guarding Tactics in the Dragonfly Sympelrum Internum (Odonata: Libellulidae). Journal of Insect Behavior, 19(4), 469-477. [More Information]

2014

  • Tan, K., Latty, T., Hu, Z., Wang, Z., Yang, S., Chen, W., Oldroyd, B. (2014). Preferences and tradeoffs in nectar temperature and nectar concentration in the Asian hive bee Apis cerana. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 68(1), 13-20. [More Information]

2013

  • Reid, C., Beekman, M., Latty, T., Dussutour, A. (2013). Amoeboid organism uses extracellular secretions to make smart foraging decisions. Behavioral Ecology, 24(4), 812-818. [More Information]
  • Latty, T. (2013). Influences of movement behavior on animal distributions at edges of homogeneous patches. International Journal of Zoology, 2013, 1-8. [More Information]
  • Latty, T., Beekman, M. (2013). Keeping track of changes: the performance of ant colonies in dynamic environments. Animal Behaviour, 85(3), 637-643. [More Information]

2012

  • Lihoreau, M., Latty, T., Chittka, L. (2012). An exploration of the social brain hypothesis in insects. Frontiers in Physiology, 3, 1-7. [More Information]
  • Granovskiy, B., Latty, T., Duncan, M., Sumpter, D., Beekman, M. (2012). How dancing honey bees keep track of changes: the role of inspector bees. Behavioral Ecology, 23(3), 588-596. [More Information]
  • Reid, C., Latty, T., Beekman, M. (2012). Making a trail: informed Argentine ants lead colony to the best food by U-turning coupled with enhanced pheromone laying. Animal Behaviour, 84(6), 1579-1587. [More Information]
  • Symonds, M., Magrath, M., Latty, T. (2012). Reproductive Consequences of Male Arrival Order in the Bark Beetle, Ips grandicollis. Journal of Insect Behavior, 25(4), 401-407. [More Information]
  • Reid, C., Latty, T., Dussutour, A., Beekman, M. (2012). Slime mold uses an externalized spatial "memory" to navigate in complex environments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 109(43), 17490-17494. [More Information]

2011

  • Nicolis, S., Zabzina, N., Latty, T., Sumpter, D. (2011). Collective irrationality and positive feedback. PLoS One, 6(4), 1-6. [More Information]
  • Latty, T., Beekman, M. (2011). Irrational decision-making in an amoeboid organism: transitivity and context-dependent preferences. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B Biological Sciences, 278(1703), 307-312. [More Information]
  • Wallin, K., Latty, T., Ross, D. (2011). Orientation Behavior of the Predator Laricobius nigrinus (Coleoptera: Derodontidae) to Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and Host Tree Odors in a Multi-Chambered Olfactometer. Environmental Entomology, 40(4), 864-872. [More Information]
  • Latty, T., Beekman, M. (2011). Speed-accuracy trade-offs during foraging decisions in the acellular slime mould Physarum polycephalum. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. B Biological Sciences, 278(1705), 539-545. [More Information]
  • Latty, T., Ramsch, K., Ito, K., Nakagaki, T., Sumpter, D., Middendorf, M., Beekman, M. (2011). Structure and formation of ant transportation networks. Journal of the Royal Society. Interface, 8(62), 1298-1306. [More Information]

2010

  • Dussutour, A., Latty, T., Beekman, M., Simpson, S. (2010). Amoeboid organism solves complex nutritional challenges. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 107(10), 4607-4611.
  • Latty, T., Beekman, M. (2010). Food quality and the risk of light exposure affect patch-choice decisions in the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Ecology, 91(1), 22-27.

2009

  • Latty, T., Reid, M. (2009). First in line or first in time? Effects of settlement order and arrival date on reproduction in a group-living beetle Dendroctonus ponderosae. Journal of Animal Ecology, 78(3), 549-555.
  • Latty, T., Beekman, M. (2009). Food quality affects search strategy in the acellular slime mould, Physarum polycephalum. Behavioral Ecology, 20(6), 1160-1167.
  • Latty, T., Magrath, M., Symonds, M. (2009). Harem size and oviposition behaviour in a polygynous bark beetle. Ecological Entomology, 34(5), 562-568.
  • Latty, T., Duncan, M., Beekman, M. (2009). High bee traffic disrupts transfer of directional information in flying honeybee swarms. Animal Behaviour, 78(1), 117-121. [More Information]
  • Latty, T., Reid, M. (2009). Who goes first? Condition and danger dependent pioneering in a group-living bark beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64(4), 639-646. [More Information]

2008

  • Wallin, K., Latty, T. (2008). Novel intermediate-term individual marking technique for slugs. Journal of Molluscan Studies, 74(3), 299-300.

2007

  • Bailey, S., Hargreaves, A., Hechtenthal, S., Laird, R., Latty, T., Reid, T., Teucher, A., Tindall, J. (2007). Empty flowers as a pollination-enhancement strategy. Evolutionary Ecology Research, 9(8), 1245-1262.

2006

  • Latty, T. (2006). Flexible Mate Guarding Tactics in the Dragonfly Sympelrum Internum (Odonata: Libellulidae). Journal of Insect Behavior, 19(4), 469-477. [More Information]

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