Integration of metabolism and behaviour in insects: the importance of energetics, endocrine regulation and circadian rhythms
Principal Investigator: Matthias W. Lorenz
Based on our extensive previous work on the physiology of crickets, in our current core project (start: 07/2011) we employ an integrative approach to elucidate the endocrine basis of the interrelation between energy allocation and behaviour. We attempt to identify the interplay between endocrine and behavioural rhythms and the importance of this relation for the temporal regulation of anabolic and catabolic processes, phases of rest and activity, and the investment in egg production (females), sexual display (males), and agonistic behaviour (males and females). We also strive to identify the parameters that make male courtship songs attractive to females and to unravel the endocrine mechanisms and the energetic aspects underpinning males’ investment in acoustic signalling. Since the general condition of males (comprised of traits such as size, metabolic performance, symmetry, innate immunity, age) is advertised during acoustic signalling, we are also interested in the relative importance of heritability and of the life-history on the expression of these traits.