Dr Natacha Rossi

Rm: Portacabin 1, Fogg Building

Email: n.rossi@qmul.ac.uk

Research interests

I am a behavioural ecologist specialized in cognition with a particular interest in decision-making and the rules underlying behaviours, whether they are neural, evolutionary, or physical. My approach of science leans towards a un-anthropocentrism of cognitive sciences, being more interested in how species match to specific environmental conditions.

I am currently working on my own project (Fyssen grant), in collaboration with Dr Joe Woodgate, in which we are using harmonic radar technology and chemical analyses to investigate the territorial behaviour of male bumblebees (Bombus terrestris audax). Many important questions regarding the particular patrol flying of male bumble bees remain unanswered given that the past work is largely based on fragmentary observations and speculation since bees were often not individually marked and their flight speed and covered area prevented lasting tracking. The difficulty in observing mating behaviour in many social insect species means that far less information about these behaviours and their consequences for paternity success is available compared to non-social insects or vertebrates. We will use the harmonic radar to properly track individual males on large distances and over several days, as well as chemical analyses to make the link between the navigation strategies employed by male bumblebees to mate and their chemical inter-individual variability that actually translates into insemination and paternity success.

My previous postdoctoral work (ECOS+ grant, University of Buenos Aires) and PhD (Universities Paul Sabatier and Paris 13) were focused on broadening the definition of pheromones by exploring their modulatory effect on responsiveness, learning, and decision making in different social insect species (Apis mellifera, Camponotus aethiops, Linepithema humile).