Stefan Popp


Dornhaus Lab


  • PhD with Anna Dornhaus at the University of Arizona (2017-present)
  • MSc with Flavio Roces at the University of Würzburg (2015-2017)
  • BSc with Flavio Roces & Tomer Czaczkes at the University of Würzburg (2011-2015)

Research Interests: 

I am interested in how simple agents in a group interact with other agents and the environment to produce complex and adaptive collective behaviors. My current research project investigates the search behavior of rock ants. Workers of this species forage solitarily and typically do not recruit, but still leave trails of 'footprint pheromones'. I study 1) how foragers use information contained in the footprint pheromones to shape their search paths, and 2) how the surface structure influences their search paths. I focus on the proximate behavioral rules and the outcome of colony search efficiency. I mostly film ants in a large arena in the lab and analyze movement tracks gathered from custom tracking software.


  • Popp, S., Buckham-Bonnett, P., Evison, S. E., Robinson, E. J. H., & Czaczkes, T. J. (2018). No evidence for tactile communication of direction in foraging Lasius ants. Insectes sociaux, 65(1), 37-46.