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Bumblebee flight performance in cluttered environments: effects of obstacle orientation, body size and acceleration

Overview of attention for article published in Journal of Experimental Biology, September 2015
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  • Above-average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (64th percentile)
  • Average Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source

Mentioned by

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3 tweeters
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1 Facebook page

Citations

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23 Dimensions

Readers on

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87 Mendeley
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Title
Bumblebee flight performance in cluttered environments: effects of obstacle orientation, body size and acceleration
Published in
Journal of Experimental Biology, September 2015
DOI 10.1242/jeb.121293
Pubmed ID
Authors

J. D. Crall, S. Ravi, A. M. Mountcastle, S. A. Combes

Abstract

Locomotion through structurally complex environments is fundamental to the life history of most flying animals, and the costs associated with movement through clutter have important consequences for the ecology and evolution of volant taxa. However, few studies have directly investigated how flying animals navigate through cluttered environments, or examined which aspects of flight performance are most critical for this challenging task. Here, we examined how body size, acceleration and obstacle orientation affect the flight of bumblebees in an artificial, cluttered environment. Non-steady flight performance is often predicted to decrease with body size, as a result of a presumed reduction in acceleration capacity, but few empirical tests of this hypothesis have been performed in flying animals. We found that increased body size is associated with impaired flight performance (specifically transit time) in cluttered environments, but not with decreased peak accelerations. In addition, previous studies have shown that flying insects can produce higher accelerations along the lateral body axis, suggesting that if maneuvering is constrained by acceleration capacity, insects should perform better when maneuvering around objects laterally rather than vertically. Our data show that bumblebees do generate higher accelerations in the lateral direction, but we found no difference in their ability to pass through obstacle courses requiring lateral versus vertical maneuvering. In sum, our results suggest that acceleration capacity is not a primary determinant of flight performance in clutter, as is often assumed. Rather than being driven by the scaling of acceleration, we show that the reduced flight performance of larger bees in cluttered environments is driven by the allometry of both path sinuosity and mean flight speed. Specifically, differences in collision-avoidance behavior underlie much of the variation in flight performance across body size, with larger bees negotiating obstacles more cautiously. Thus, our results show that cluttered environments challenge the flight capacity of insects, but in surprising ways that emphasize the importance of behavioral and ecological context for understanding flight performance in complex environments.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 3 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 87 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 3 3%
Sweden 1 1%
Unknown 83 95%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 20 23%
Student > Master 19 22%
Researcher 17 20%
Student > Bachelor 10 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 5 6%
Other 11 13%
Unknown 5 6%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 43 49%
Engineering 18 21%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 4 5%
Physics and Astronomy 4 5%
Neuroscience 4 5%
Other 9 10%
Unknown 5 6%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 3. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 03 October 2018.
All research outputs
#6,993,830
of 13,594,271 outputs
Outputs from Journal of Experimental Biology
#3,372
of 5,947 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#85,141
of 240,659 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Journal of Experimental Biology
#73
of 141 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,594,271 research outputs across all sources so far. This one is in the 48th percentile – i.e., 48% of other outputs scored the same or lower than it.
So far Altmetric has tracked 5,947 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 11.8. This one is in the 42nd percentile – i.e., 42% of its peers scored the same or lower than it.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 240,659 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 64% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 141 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one is in the 46th percentile – i.e., 46% of its contemporaries scored the same or lower than it.