University of Cambridge
Cambridge CB2 3EA
Dr Veronica Bennett joined the lab in 2006, as a visitor. She is working on bumblebee foraging dynamics. Animal behaviourists have been working on bee behaviour and learning capacity for some time, using artificial stimuli, and have shown that bees can learn to discriminate on the basis of vision (colour or illumination), olfaction or touch, and to associate particular stimuli with a reward. Veronica has been following up some observations of Professor Enrico Coen's group in Norwich concerning the distribution of different coloured snapdragon species in the Pyrenees; one pink with a yellow lip and the other pure yellow. The hybrid between these tow species expresses both pigments and appears orange. Although gene flow has been demonstrated between the populations of different colours, there are virtually no hybrids of intermediate colour to be found in the wild. Veronica is investigating whether this phenomenon can be accounted for by the preferences of foraging bees. Possible explanatory phenomena include colour constancy of individual bees, and the apparency of the different colours of flower to the bee's colour vision system.
Course Co-ordinator for Part IA Evolution and Behaviour