The research in Tsutsui lab focuses on ants and bees - how they communicate, why they behave the ways they do, and their evolution. Researchers work in both the field and the lab, using a variety of different approaches. They are especially interested in using techniques from chemical ecology to understand pheromone evolution and performing genetic and genomic analyses to understand natural selection and behavioral evolution.
They are also passionate about preserving biodiversity and open spaces and, therefore, create and share educational materials and events with people of all ages.
In the News
Ants normally distinguish friend from foe by detecting colony-specific molecules called pheromones that coat their bodies. Neil Tsutsui has identified the recognition pheromones and other chemical signals, and has shown in experiments that the ants’ behavior can be tweaked by exposing them to identical, environmentally harmless synthetic pheromones.
In its first year, the initiative will give research innovations by six early-career UC Berkeley faculty members — including technologies to move prosthetic limbs with the power of thought and to control Argentine ants using their own pheromones — a significant boost from the lab to the market.
A research team led by scientists at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University has unlocked the genetic code of the highly invasive Argentine ant, providing clues as to why this species has been so successful.