Thesis subject

Landing dynamics of bumblebees

Foraging bumblebees make up to a 1000 landings on flowers each foraging trip. To control their landing, they depend primarily on their vision, and thus landing performance depends strongly on the visual characteristics of the flower. In this thesis project, you will study the flight dynamics of bumblebees landing on artificial flowers with varying colour and contrast characteristics.

You will train bumblebees to land on artificial flowers of which the colour and light intensity are adjustable. These artificial flowers consist of a food source and a programmable LED light panel. You will film the landing manoeuvres of the bumblebees with a stereoscopic video system, allowing you to analyse the 3D landing dynamics of the bumblebees.   

This study is a part of the PhD project “Bumblebees in the spotlight”, in which we study the visual-motor system of flying bumblebees. The project is a collaboration between the Experimental Zoology Group, the Resource Ecology Group, the Behavioural Ecology Group, and Bees@wur at Wageningen University & Research.

Examiner: Prof. Dr. Ir. Johan L. van Leeuwen
Supervisors: Lana de Vries
Martin Lankheet
Florian Muijres
Contact: Lana de Vries (via contact form)
Begin date: 15/01/2021 (variable)
End date: 01/10/2022 (variable)
Credits: 36 ECTS (variable)
For: MSc Biology / Animal Sciences
Requirements: Successful completion of Functional Zoology (EZO 30806)
Used skills: Experimental design, insect behaviour, 3D high speed video techniques, programming, statistics