Robyn Douglas, email@example.com and Olav Rueppell, firstname.lastname@example.org. University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Department of Biology, Greensboro, NC
In contrast to the classic aging models, honey bees have a highly complex social structure that is experimentally accessible. Although social effects on longevity are widely recognized in humans, almost no experimental aging studies have addressed social factors in animals. We investigate the effects of different colony age structure on individual life spans and offspring production in honey bees. We compare demographic data from focal workers in single-cohort and double-cohort colonies with workers in colonies with a natural age composition. Furthermore, we contrast offspring mass and longevity among the three experimental conditions. Our results will be discussed in the broader context of how social systems affect the evolution of life span.