Dr. Anna Dornhaus

Positions and Education: 
  • 2016-present: Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona
  • 2010-2016t: Associate Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona
  • 2005-2010: Assistant Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona
  • 2002-2005, Visiting Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol
  • 2002, Associate Researcher, Dept. of Artificial Intelligence, University of Würzburg
  • 2002, Ph.D., Zoology, University of Würzburg
  • 1999, Diplom (=M.S.), Biology, University of Würzburg
Research Interests: 

Organization in groups, how collective behaviors emerge from the actions and interactions of individuals, is the main interest of Anna Dornhaus. As model systems she studies social insect colonies (bumble bees, honey bees and ants) in the laboratory and in the field, as well as using mathematical and individual-based modeling approaches. She investigates mechanisms of coordination in foraging, collective decision-making, task allocation and division of labor. Her recent work has included the role of communication in the allocation of foragers to food sources; the evolution of different recruitment systems in different species of bees, and how ecology shapes these recruitment systems; house hunting strategies in ants; speed-accuracy trade offs in decision-making; and whether different group sizes necessitate different organizational strategies.

Selected Publications: 


  1. Dornhaus, A. and L. Chittka. 2004. Information flow and regulation of foraging activity in bumble bees. Apidologie 35: 183-192, DOI: 10.1051/apido:2004002
  2. Dornhaus, A. and L. Chittka. 2004. Why do honey bees dance?. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 55: 395-401, DOI 10.1007/s00265-003-0726-9
  3. Dornhaus, A., Franks, N.R., Hawkins, R.M., and H.N.S. Shere. 2004. Ants move to improve - colonies of Leptothorax albipennis emigrate whenever they find a superior nest site. Animal Behaviour 67: 959-963, DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2003.09.004
  4. Franks, N.R., Dornhaus, A., Fitzsimmons, J.P. and M. Stevens. 2003. Speed vs. Accuracy in Collective Decision-Making. Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences 270: 2457-2463, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2003.2527
  5. Chittka. Dyer, A., Bock, F., and A. Dornhaus. 2003. Bees trade off foraging speed for accuracy. Nature 424: 388.
  6. Franks, N.R. and A. Dornhaus. 2003. How might individual honeybees measure massive volumes?. Proceedings B: Biology Letters 270 (Supplement 2): 181-182, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0047
  7. Dornhaus, A., Brockmann, A. and L. Chittka. 2003. Bumble bees alert to food with pheromone from tergal gland. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 189: 47-51, DOI 10.1007/s00359-002-0374-y
  8. Dornhaus, A. and S. Cameron. 2003. Alertment in Bombus transversalis. Apidologie 34: 87-88
  9. Dornhaus, A. 2002. When do dances make a difference? Significance of honey bee recruitment depending on foraging distance. Entomologia Generalis 26: 93-100
  10. Dornhaus, A. and L. Chittka. 2001. Food alert in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris): possible mechanisms and evolutionary implications. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 50: 570-576, DOI 10.1007/s002650100395
  11. Dornhaus, A. and L. Chittka. 1999. Evolutionary origins of bee dances. Nature 401: 38, DOI 10.1038/43372

Contact Information

Lab Phone: 
(520) 626-5565
Office Phone: 
(520) 626-8586
Office Location: 
Lab Location: