We are part of the entomology department at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Current research projects are primarily focused on honey bee behavior and health, but past projects have utilized a number of different arthropod species, and the lab thrives on a broadly comparative scientific framework.
Big questions of interest:
- How do social interactions “get under the skin” to cause behavioral change?
- Why do some social experiences have lifelong impacts while others do not?
- How do the brain and peripheral systems interact to regulate behavior?
- Are there evolutionarily conserved mechanisms of behavioral regulation?
- Mechanisms that encode temporal dynamics of socially regulated aggression
- The neural energetics of aggression
- The molecular mechanisms that link aggression to health resilience
- Social transmission of robbing behavior
- Queen stress and impacts on worker health
Rittschof, C.C. (2017) Sequential social experiences interact to modulate aggression but not brain gene expression in the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Frontiers in Zoology. 14: 1-10.
Rittschof, C.C. & G.E. Robinson. (2016) Behavioral genetics toolkits: toward the evolutionary origins of complex phenotypes. Current Trends in Developmental Biology. 119: 157-204.
Rittschof, C.C. et. al. (2015) Early-life experience affects honey bee aggression and resilience to immune challenge. Scientific Reports. 5:15572.
Rittschof, C.C. et. al. (2015) The energetic basis of behavior: bridging behavioral ecology and neuroscience. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences. 6: 19-27.
Rittschof, C.C. et. al. (2014) Neuromolecular responses to social challenge: common mechanisms across mouse, stickleback fish and honey bee. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111: 17929-17934.
Rittschof, C.C. & G.E. Robinson. (2014) Genomics: moving behavioral ecology beyond the phenotypic gambit. Animal Behaviour. 92:263-270.