The USE laboratory is interested in the organisation of animal societies, in the underlying physiological and ethological mechanisms as well as in the adaptive value of collective patterns put in an ecological perspective. Both experimental and theoretical studies are mainly conducted on social insects (ants, honeybees, etc) but also on presocial/gregarious animal species as well as on societies of artificial agents (micro-robots).
We identify the generic rules that shape spatial structures (trail network, nest construction, etc.), temporal patterns (activity rhythms, etc.) and social organization (division of labour, task specialization, etc.).
The practical issues of this research involve the development of new modalities to control animal populations as well as the assessment of their impact on the environment (e.g. impact of ant fauna on vegetation, etc.).