Poster prize to Tal!

Gratulations Tal on the best poster prize in the meeting of the Zoological Society of Israel!

Conference season

We attended two insect/social-insect conferences this summer: the meeting of the European Sections of the IUSSI in Helsinki and the American IUSSI satellite meeting of the huge ICE 2016 in Orlando. Pnina, Tal, Daphi, and Eyal presented in talks and posters and we got some recognition from the international social insect community. ICE in Orlando was huge: 6000+ participants, 40+ symposia in parallel, for a full week! Overwhelming, super informative and productive! We met with our American collaborators, especially Etya Amsalem who just started her new lab in Penn State and DeWayne Shoemaker, and we got to know many of the leading people in the field and also learn a lot about other fields in insect science.

Pop science in Nola Socks

Eyal gave a talk in the Nola Socks pub on "The paradox of the evolution of altruism", from Darwin's ants to our genomic age research of the molecular basis of social evolution. The place was packed and lots of people expressed their interest!

The BIG Camponotus dig

This was it! after several failed attempts we came back to the Dead Sea with full intent not to let those difficult Camponotus cericeus ants delay the progress of science any more! This time we took off the gloves and brought a BIG shovel. The amazingly dexterous digger opens a 2X2X1 meter hole in 5 minutes. This took two manual diggers the better part of a day in our previous attempts. We then jumped in and continued the delicate work of extracting the ants with shovels. The ants finally gave in and we came back with a nice loot - samples of hundreds of ants from each of seven nests. These ants made it especially difficult for us, but it was worth it! Next Daphna will start the behavioral experiments, video tracking, and finally RNA extraction, transcriptomic sequencing, and differential expression analysis. If all goes well, these ants will reveal their BIG secret: the genes responsible for social information sharing!