Dr Ana Sendova-Franks

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About me

My research interests are in the area of collective behaviour. I am fascinated by the social organisation of ant colonies because it is concurrent and decentralized, yet also very flexible and robust. For us, humans, this begs the question: how do ant colonies work? From the point of view of biology, this question is about proximate mechanisms, that is, how ant societies work at present as opposed to how they have evolved. However, because ants have been honed by natural selection for more than 100 million years to the great ecological success they have today, they are interesting not only in themselves but also as a prime model system for learning lessons about self-organized, flexible and robust organisation of multiple components. This has been of interest to the engineers, computer scientists and sociologists with whom I have been collaborating. As dynamical, spatially structured systems, which consist of many concurrently interacting entities and can be taken apart and put together again in controlled experimental conditions, ant societies are also of interest to the physicists and mathematicians with whom I work. My experimental work is carried out in collaboration with the Ant Lab at Bristol (http://www.bristol.ac.uk/biology/research/behaviour/antlab/) and I have contributed to the establishment of the rock ant, Temnothorax albipennis, as a model species for understanding social organisation and decision-making in collective, decentralized systems. In 2011 I was elected as the Executive Editor of Animal Behaviour (http://www.journals.elsevier.com/animal-behaviour/) and member of the Council of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB, http://asab.nottingham.ac.uk/index.php) for five years.

For the full list of my publications, more details about my research work or my background, please visit:

Area of expertise

I am a scientist and an applied statistician. My undergraduate teaching is in statistics and research methods. I teach students in mathematics, biological sciences and business management at all levels. I also contribute to the statistical advice offered to undergraduates, postgraduates and colleagues through the espressoMaths initiative of my Faculty (http://www.cems.uwe.ac.uk/mslc/).


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