We have just got a new fellowship and grant to sponsor a 3-year project on Evolutionary Simulation to study inquilinism in termites. This is a joint effort between our Lab of Termitology at UFV and Dr. Elio Tuci from the Department of Computer Science, Aberystwyth University (UK). The monies ( 214,000.00 reais = 45,000.00 sterling) come from Newton Fund (UK) and CONFAP (National Council of Brazilian State Funding Agencies).
The aim of the project is to study the phenomenon of Inquilinism in Termites species by using
computer-based models. How do inquilines in termites manage to cohabit the nest along with the
building species? Why do host colonies tolerate intruders? What kind of evolutionary pressures can
explain the origin of this phenomenon that apparently benefits only the inquilines? These issues are
difficult to investigate using classic methods at disposal of biologists. Computer simulation models
can help to test and generate new hypothesis that can be subsequently verified with targeted
experiment in nature.