Integrative analysis of serotonin-mediated behavioural phase transition in the desert locust

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Zoology

Abstract

Animals may undergo profound changes in their behaviour, body shape and colour in response to varying environmental conditions. This poses a major problem in biology: how do the surroundings in which an animal lives, influence the expression of its genes and mould its brain function, its hormones, and hence its behaviour, so that it is appropriately adapted to changing circumstances. The Desert Locust shows an extreme example of this malleability; it can change reversibly from a shy and inconspicuous, solitary creature that flies at night to one that is highly conspicuous, day flying and occasionally aggregates in vast numbers which has devastating economic effects. These two forms - the solitarious and gregarious phases - are strikingly different in appearance, physiology and behaviour. They can be bred in the laboratory and made to switch from one phase to the other and back, by simply raising them in isolation or in a crowd. They have relatively few nerve cells in their brain so that it is possible to understand the changes that occur during these phase transitions and to illuminate the similar mechanisms that occur in more complex animals when they find themselves in new circumstances. The key decision a locust must make is to join with or avoid other locusts. Once this has been made subsequent changes in physiology, body shape and colour follow from the continuing presence or absence of other locusts. Tickling the hind legs of a solitarious locust to mimic the effects of jostling with others, or the sight and smell of other locusts, can, in 1-2 h, cause the behaviour to become gregarious. This transition is accompanied by substantial changes in the amounts of many chemicals in its nervous system. In particular serotonin (a substance that in human brains affects many moods such as aggression and depression, and the release of which is affected by drugs such as ecstasy) shows a large but short-lived increase and, critically, it is both necessary and sufficient to induce the change in behaviour. We have determined which nerve cells show changes in their serotonin levels. We now wish to understand how serotonin changes the workings of nerve cells to bring about the transformation of behaviour. To achieve this aim we have these key objectives: 1. Identify and characterise the nerve cells that change their production of serotonin during the initial change in behaviour. How far do they extend through the central nervous system? How do they respond in the presence of other locusts, and what effects do they have on other nerve cells to bring about changes in behaviour? 2. Identify the nerve cells that are influenced by the release of serotonin. What chemical changes does serotonin cause in the internal workings of these nerve cells? This will be examined at the level of specific molecules that engage in cascades of chemical reactions to pass information within one cell and to neighbours. 3. Serotonin can change the effectiveness and the time course of communication between nerve cells, providing an essential building block of learning. How do differing amounts of serotonin in the nervous system before, during and after the experience of crowding, affect communication between nerve cells? Does serotonin have different effects in solitarious and gregarious locusts? 4. Examine in detail how solitarious and gregarious locusts differ in their patterns of daily activity such as feeding, exploring their environment and sleeping, and begin to look at how genes that regulate their body clock differ in the two phases. 5. Gregarious locusts quickly revert to solitarious behaviour if they are removed from the crowd. What are the mechanisms that maintain their gregarious behaviour and what is the complimentary process that leads to solitarious behaviour?

Technical Summary

How does the interplay between the environment and gene expression mould brain function and behaviour so that an animal can adapt to changing circumstances? Desert Locusts show an extreme form of this phenotypic plasticity by changing from a shy animal, cryptic in appearance and avoiding other locusts, to one that lives in large groups, has bright warning colours as nymphs and is actively attracted to other locusts. We wish to capitalise on our recent breakthrough in identifying serotonin (5HT) as underlying the transformation from solitarious to gregarious behaviour, and our identification of neurons that up-regulate 5HT within 1 h of receiving gregarizing stimuli. We wish to build on these data by using a systems approach to identifying the sequence of processes, at molecular, cellular and neural levels that link the increased release of 5HT with changes of neuronal function and behaviour in this tractable model. We have these key objectives: 1. Characterise the anatomy and physiology of the individual serotonergic neurons that up-regulate 5HT production during behavioural gregarization. 2. Identify the targets of 5HT-mediated plasticity during phase change. We will determine: the targets of PKA phosphorylation both i) at the cellular level by identifying the anatomical location of neurons affected by gregarization and ii) at the molecular level, within neurons. 3. Determine how altered physiological function underlies the changes associated with behavioural gregarization. We will analyse how serotonin affects the physiology of identified neurons, before, during and after phase change. 4. Determine the behavioural consequences of phase change on circadian rhythms and aggregation. 5. Determine how the gregarious phase is maintained and how it is lost during the process of behavioural solitarization that occurs when gregarious locusts are isolated from the crowd.

Publications

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Knight K (2016) Long legs drive solitarious locusts' powerful leaps in The Journal of Experimental Biology

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Niven JE (2012) Visually targeted reaching in horse-head grasshoppers. in Proceedings. Biological sciences

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Ott SR (2012) Critical role for protein kinase A in the acquisition of gregarious behavior in the desert locust. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

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Simões P (2011) Associative olfactory learning in the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria. in The Journal of experimental biology

 
Title Digital Artwork: brain images for popular science outreach 
Description SRO created a set of popular science images that illuminate the intricate structure of the locust brain and its relation to the body. They were publicly released via Cambridge University (tinyurl.com/ott-UCam) to accompany the 24 May 2010 press release., SRO created a set of popular science images that illuminate the intricate structure of the locust brain and its relation to the body. They were publicly released via Cambridge University (tinyurl.com/ott-UCam) to accompany the 24 May 2010 press release. These images were widely taken up by the national and international print and online media, and feature in many of the press reports on our scientific research (e.g., tinyurl.com/ott-spiegel), and on numerous blogs. For example, they drew t 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2010 
Impact Used in feature articles in various commercial print media. 
URL https://www.flickr.com/photos/cambridgeuniversity/sets/72157624001953943/detail/
 
Description The transformation in Desert Locusts between a harmless solitarious phase and a radically different and economically damaging swarming gregarious phase exemplifies the astonishing extent to which animals of the same genetic makeup can tailor body and behaviour to the conditions they encounter.

1. We found that Protein Kinase A (PKA), a signalling protein implicated in various forms of learning in other animals, has been co-opted to control the transition to gregarious behaviour in locusts. A specific drug that inhibits PKA interferes with this transition, but not with gregarious behaviour established through prolonged crowding. Significantly, we were able to demonstrate that PKG, which has been implicated as a candidate mechanism in previous research, has no role in the transition. The 'learning' protein PKA thus acts as a molecular switch in a social feedback loop, because gregarious behaviour ensures that crowding is maintained. Our results indicate that the biochemical mechanisms that trigger locust swarming are similar to what enables humans and other animals to respond to novel experiences, including social change.

2. We found that living in dense groups has a dramatic effect on the size and structure of the locusts' brain. Despite being smaller than solitary locusts, swarming locusts develop brains that are 30% larger. In solitary locusts the parts of the brain that deal with vision and smell are proportionately larger, possibly helping them to detect faint or distant stimuli, whereas in the swarming locust huge increases in size occur in the parts of the brain associated with learning and processing complex information.

3. By using microarray technology, we have identified 214 genes that are differentially expressed in the nervous system of solitarious and gregarious locusts, and whose altered expression may therefore be implicated in bringing about swarming behaviour and/or enable locusts of either phase to deal with the different challenges they face. These include genes encoding proteins that are associated with nervous system development and plasticity, sensory perception, and the response and resistance to stress.

4. We have developed two novel complementary paradigms for assessing how locusts learn to associate food with odours. A key advantage is that, unlike with previous paradigms, locusts are restrained during training, thus allowing precise control of the learning parameters. We have identified the palp opening response (POR) as a new behavioural measure of acquisition of an olfactory Pavlovian association.

5. We have identified and characterised (i) a long-latency ingestion-dependent learning mechanism that enables locusts to avoid odours associated with poisonous food, and (ii) differences in aversive learning between solitarious and gregarious locusts.
Exploitation Route As outlined in the previous section, two findings in particular have potential for non-academic exploitation in the development of new control strategies for pest insects:

(1) Our identification of a critical role of PKA in the transition to swarming behaviour may open up the development of novel, locust-specific control agents that avoid the collateral effects on other organisms.

(2) The discovery and characterisation of a mechanism by which locusts associate odours with the ingestion of toxic food could be used to reduce the loss of insecticide efficacy that arises from the insects' acquiring learned behavioural avoidance of baits. Our identification of a critical role of PKA has considerable potential for exploitation in the development of new locust control agents: downstream components of PKA signalling in locusts may have sufficiently distinct genetic sequences and protein structures to present targets for locust-specific control strategies that interfere with the transition to swarming behaviour.

Behavioural resistance through food avoidance learning is a major efficacy limiter of oral insecticides. Our discovery and characterisation of a long-latency aversive learning mechanism that is activated by the ingestion of toxic food has implications for the control of locusts and other pest insects.

Locusts are a powerful model system for answering the question of how brains process odour information. What has precluded extending this research to how brains learn about the meaning of odours was the lack of a paradigm for training and testing learning in restrained locusts. To quote Aldworth & Stopfer (2012, Current Biology) , "[Our] recent development of a behavioral paradigm for assessing associative learning in locusts will allow researchers to tackle these problems from physiology to behavior in a single animal. This will be an important step to understanding the formation of associative memories."
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Other

 
Description We have provided scientific advice and live animals for episode 4, 'Gluttony' of the TV series 'Richard E Grant's 7 Deadly Sins of the Animal Kingdom'. In this, we have worked closely with the production company, Back2Back Productions. The episode was first broadcast on Discovery Channel and on Sky 3D, and is available on demand on iTunes and Amazon.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Creative Economy
Impact Types Cultural,Economic

 
Description Development of advanced level in vivo electrophysiology training material
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Course provides advanced training in electrophysiological techniques underpinning in vivo research to 6 PhD level researchers per year. Open to BBSRC and Institutionally funded researchers from the Midlands region, UK.
 
Description NC3Rs Expert Working Group on Impact
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
Impact National level funding body guidance on impact generation in the area of improved animal welfare.
 
Description 14ALERT
Amount £638,019 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/M012034/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2015 
End 01/2016
 
Description BBSRC Responsive Mode Research Grants
Amount £689,981 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/L02389X/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2014 
End 01/2018
 
Description Mechanisms driving acquisition and maintenance of swarming behaviour in locusts
Amount £258,101 (GBP)
Funding ID F/09 364/K 
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2011 
End 06/2014
 
Description Royal Society University Research Fellowship - Renewal (3 Years) : Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Phase Change in Locusts
Amount £323,730 (GBP)
Funding ID UF090004 
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2010 
End 03/2014
 
Title Automated Quantification of Behaviour by Computer Video Tracking 
Description A key instrument in the analysis of behavioural phase change has been the development of an assay that permits the quantification of a locust's individual behavioural phase state (Roessingh et al. 1993, Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B). A single locust is placed in a rectangular arena facing a group of conspecifics on one side and observed to record several behavioural parameters. By applying multivariate binary logistic regression, these parameters are used to define a statistical model that yields the probability of being gregarious for an animal of unknown phase state. In the past, the behavioural parameters were obtained using manual event recording software, which is highly laborious and yields observer-dependent results. Some recent studies have therefore employed automated video tracking in closed-source commercial software, which however lacks transparency as to how the behavioural parameters are derived. To overcome these disadvantages we developed a computerised assay that comprises a modified arena and GNU open-source software components under Linux. The behaviour of the animal in the arena is recorded on digital video using Coriander and ffmpeg software. The position and orientation of the animal is then tracked off-line in SwisTrack. We developed GNU Octave code to calculate 25 behavioural parameters from the frame-by-frame positional and orientation information. Based on data from about 150 long-term solitarious and 150 long-term gregarious fifth-instar locusts, four behavioural parameters (time spent near stimulus group, fractal dimension, number of jumps, number of long walk bouts) were carefully selected to define the logistic regression model. The model correctly classifies over 90% of locusts with a known rearing history into their respective phases and can be used to objectively predict the unknown phase state of an experimental animal. The assay is completely transparent and can be easily used and modified by others. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This research method has been adopted by the research group of Prof. Jozef Vanden Broeck at KU Leuven, Belgium. It has enabled several research projects: - PhD research project of a jointly supervised research student based in the Leuven Group; - PhD research project of a BBSRC-funded MIBTP research student at the University of Leicester; - research on BBSRC grant BB/L02389X/1, "Dynamics and origins of socially induced plasticity of behaviour" 
 
Title Development of solitarious locust facility and techniques to rear and work with solitarious and gregarious locusts 
Description Development of world-leading state-of-the-art solitarious (isolated) locust facility and techniques to rear and work with solitarious and gregarious locusts. Space to quarantine field-sourced animals and carry out experimental protocols. Crucial to support research into mechanisms of locust swarming. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2015 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact New collaborations (Ould Babah, Mauritania; Fonseca, Brazil). TV documentary (Back2back Productions). Showpiece at University Open Days influencing career decisions of many undergraduate students. 
 
Title uHPLC analysis of biogenic amines 
Description Development of protocols to assay biogenic amines in insect tissues 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Development of new research collaborations 
 
Description Agreement between Cambridge, Leicester and Leuven - Leicester part 
Organisation University of Leicester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The University of Cambridge, University of Leicester, and the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, have entered a formal Research and Collaboration Agreement for joint work on "Molecular Aspects of Locust Development". The specific objective of the Agreement is for the partners to "develop a technology to (i) identify transcripts responsible for polyphenism in locusts and (ii) investigate how patterns of gene expression relate to the animals behaviour, physiology and morphology."
Start Year 2008
 
Description Agreement between the Universities of Cambridge, Leicester and Leuven - Leuven part 
Organisation Catholic University of Louvain
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The University of Cambridge, University of Leicester, and the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, have entered a formal Research and Collaboration Agreement for joint work on "Molecular Aspects of Locust Development". The specific objective of the Agreement is for the partners to "develop a technology to (i) identify transcripts responsible for polyphenism in locusts and (ii) investigate how patterns of gene expression relate to the animals behaviour, physiology and morphology."
Start Year 2008
 
Description Collaboration with University of Sydney, Australia 
Organisation University of Sydney
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The Cambridge team around SR, MB and SRO have a long-standing collaboration with the research group of Professor Steve Simpson at the University of Sydney, Australia. As part of this collaboration, Burrows and Rogers have visited the Sydney lab on invitation of Simpson for a 6-week research visit to work on mechanisms of phase change in locusts.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Partnership with Algerian Ministry of Science and Research Organisations 
Organisation Directorate General of Scientific Research and Technological Development (DGRSDT)
Country Algeria 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution lgeria is one of the countries worst affected by locust swarm outbreaks. We have entered a Partnership with the Algerian Direction General de la Recherche Scientifique et Développement Technologique (DGRSDT) that was facilitated through Dr. Mohamed Boudjelal at GlaxoSmithKline Services Unlimited. The aims of this partnership are 1. To test our discoveries of the mechanism of gregarization (which were made in locusts from long-term laboratory cultures) on locusts from wild populations, both in laboratory experiments and under quasi-field conditions. 2. To develop laboratories in Algeria to meet the needs of Algerian and international scientists to study the underlying mechanisms of phase change in locusts and ultimately to develop better control strategies. 3. To hold an international workshop in Algeria that will bring together scientists working on locust biology and control. 4. To form an international network of scientists, starting with the partnership with the University of Cambridge. Funding would be available from our Ministry for aspects of work in Algeria, with the network eventually applying for international grants. 5. To enable reciprocal knowledge transfer and training and extend the research partnership towards the education of the next generation of Algerian scientists. Burrows and Rogers were guests of the Direction General de la Recherche Scientifique et Développement Technologique, Ministère de L'enseignement Supérieure et la Recherche Scientifique, Algeria, during an official visit from February 27th to March 3rd 2010. As part of the programme, Rogers addressed an interdepartmental meeting of the Algerian government in Algiers. The trip also involved a journey down into the deep Sahara to a new locust research facility being built near the city of Tamanrasset.
Start Year 2010
 
Title Automated Quantification of Behaviour by Computer Video Tracking 
Description A key instrument in the analysis of behavioural phase change has been the development of an assay that permits the quantification of a locust?s individual behavioural phase state (Roessingh et al. 1993, Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B). A single locust is placed in a rectangular arena facing a group of conspecifics on one side and observed to record several behavioural parameters. By applying multivariate binary logistic regression, these parameters are used to define a statistical model that yields the probability of being gregarious for an animal of unknown phase state. In the past, the behavioural parameters were obtained using manual event recording software, which is highly laborious and yields observer-dependent results. Some recent studies have therefore employed automated video tracking in closed-source commercial software, which however lacks transparency as to how the behavioural parameters are derived. To overcome these disadvantages we developed a computerised assay that comprises a modified arena and GNU open-source software components under Linux. The behaviour of the animal in the arena is recorded on digital video using Coriander and ffmpeg software. The position and orientation of the animal is then tracked off-line in SwisTrack. We developed GNU Octave code to calculate 25 behavioural parameters from the frame-by-frame positional and orientation information. Based on data from about 150 long-term solitarious and 150 long-term gregarious fifth-instar locusts, four behavioural parameters (time spent near stimulus group, fractal dimension, number of jumps, number of long walk bouts) were carefully selected to define the logistic regression model. The model correctly classifies over 90% of locusts with a known rearing history into their respective phases and can be used to objectively predict the unknown phase state of an experimental animal. The assay is completely transparent and can be easily used and modified by others. 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2011 
Impact Currently used in research projects at the University of Leuven to analyse locust behaviour. 
 
Description "Kinase's role in desert locust gregariousness" - PNAS highlight our article in "This week in PNAS" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Our article on the role of Protein Kinase A in swarming behaviour (Ott et al. 2011, PNAS) has been selected by the journal for a feature in their front section "This Week in PNAS - In This Issue". The section highlights particularly interesting articles published in that given print issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).

Feature published in PNAS vol. 109 no. 7 pp. 2177-2684.

The published front section can be accessed at the Journal site:

doi: 10.1073/iti0712109 Feature in PNAS vol. 109 no. 7 pp. 2177-2684, highlight section "This Week in PNAS / In This Issue"

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
URL http://www.pnas.org/content/109/7/2177.full.pdf+html
 
Description 2012 Leipzig Invited Talk to DFG Research Unit - Ott 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact SRO presented an invited talk on research outcomes to an academic audience of PIs, post-docs and graduate students at the University of Leipzig, Germany. The invitation was organised and sponsored by the DFG (German Research Foundation) Research Unit FOR 1363 "Biogenic Amines in Insects" that spans 9 research groups across several German Universities.

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description 2013 invited seminar Cologne - Ott 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Swidbert Ott gave an invited talk on 'Transformative experiences: phase change, learning and personality in desert locusts' to students and staff at the University of Cologne, Germany. This was followed by discussions with staff and research students about their research activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description 2013 invited seminar Dublin - Ott 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Swidbert Ott gave an invited talk on 'Ganging up for a change: causes and consequences of swarming behaviour in desert locusts' to students and staff at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. This was followed by discussions with staff and research students about their research activities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Article in Belgian Magazine "Knack" print edition 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Our work on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the transition to swarming behaviour in the desert locust was featured in an article in the print edition of Belgian weekly newsmagazine "Knack" (circulation about 122,000). The feature referenced two publication outcomes of this grant, Ott et al. PNAS 2011 and Badisco et al. PLoS One 2011. Article in print edition

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Article in Pop-science magazine "Eos" print edition 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Our findings on the critical role of protein kinase A in the transition from solitary to swarming behaviour have been featured in the print edition of "Eos", a monthly popular science magazine distributed in The Netherlands and Flanders. Print article in Eos magazine

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description BBC News Online - Swarming 'swells' locusts' brains 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The BBC covers our finding that the brains of swarming gregarious-phase locusts are much larger and of markedly different proportions compared with the brains of solitary-phase locusts in an extensive feature entitled "Swarming 'swells' locusts' brains" on their online news pages (tinyurl.com/ott-bbc).

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10158856
 
Description BBSRC Business mag 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Swidbert R. Ott worked with the BBSRC Press Office on a feature article in the print magazine BBSRC Business (Spring 2015 issue), a controlled circulation magazine which is distributed free of charge to end users of research and to individuals with an interest in BBSRC.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/documents/bbsrc-business-spring-2015/
 
Description BBSRC News online feature 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Swidbert R. Ott worked with the BBSRC on a blog feature for Fundamental Bioscience News on the BBSRC website:
Bugs' life: the nerve cells that make locusts 'gang up'
The feature went live on 17 December 2014 and is available from the URL below.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/news/fundamental-bioscience/2014/141217-pr-nerve-cells-that-make-locusts-gang...
 
Description BNA Bulletin 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Swidbert R. Ott gave an interview to the BNA Bulletin, the print magazine of the British Neuroscience Association, on his research career and contributions to locust phase change research. SRO also provided images relating to BBSRC-funded research.

The double-page feature article "All Change: Phase transitions in the desert locust" appeared in the Autumn 2015 issue of the BNA Bulletin. One of the images provided by SRO, showing the expression of serotonergic neurones in part of the locust CNS, was chosen as cover image for the print magazine.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.bna.org.uk
 
Description Claudia Steinert interview 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Swidbert R. Ott was interviewed by German science writer Claudia Steinert for an article in the end-of-term Magazine of the prestigious German School of Journalism (Deutsche Journalistenschule, www.djs-online.de). 3000 print copies of the magazine were sent out to all big publishing houses in Germany. An online version is available at http://www.klartext-magazin.de/53A/das-magazin/
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.klartext-magazin.de/53A/das-magazin/
 
Description Feature in Bild der Wissenschaft print edition 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Our finding that the brains of swarming gregarious-phase locusts are much enlarged and of markedly different proportions compared with the brains of solitary-phase locusts is featured in the print edition of the German popular science magazine "Bild der Wissenschaft".

The coverage comprises the image of a locust brain at full page width, created by S.R. Ott using laser scanning microscopy, and a caption with the title, "Schwärmen macht schlau" (Swarming makes you smart). print feature

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Feature in Metro print edition - Top In Field 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Our finding that the brains of swarming gregarious-phase locusts are much enlarged and of markedly different proportions compared with the brains of solitary-phase locusts is featured in the print edition of the daily free UK newspaper "Metro", in a news brief entitled "Top In Field". news brief

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Feature on locusts needing more brains in the swarm - ORF online 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Austrian national public service broadcasting corporation ORF have covered our discovery that swarm-living locusts develop larger brains in an extensive feature on their online news pages:

"Heuschrecken brauchen im Schwarm mehr Hirn"

(locusts need more brains in the swarm)

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL http://science.orf.at/stories/1648757/
 
Description Further international press coverage of Ott & Rogers 2010 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Our discovery that "Locusts living in swarms develop bigger brains" has been covered widely by over 40 newspapers and news sites across the globe, including:



Der Spiegel (Ger), Daily India, Bild der Wissenschaft (Ger), Wissenschaft Aktuell (Ger), Ethiopian Review, Yahoo News UK, Postimees (Estonian daily), National Geographic Deutschland (Ger), Discover Magazine, Tehran Times print edn., Iran Daily print edn., Diario Granma (Cuban daily), Aachener Zeitung (Ger), Berliner Zeitung (Ger), Focus online (Ger), UK Wired News.§

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Further online coverage of Ott et al. PNAS 2011 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach international
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Our discovery of a critical role for PKA in locust swarming has received extensive online coverage across the globe. We found about 60 online pages that ran our story, e.g.:



http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-12-protein-implicated-grasshoppers-swarm.html

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-12/uoc-nii121911.php

http://in.news.yahoo.com/learning-protein-turns-grasshoppers-swarming-pests-090506043.html

http://apnaindia.com/news/protein-turns-harmless-grasshoppers-into-destructive-swarms-16207.html

http://www.sciencecodex.com/read/new_insight_into_why_locusts_swarm-83424

http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112443654/new-insight-into-why-locusts-swarm

http://www.sciencenewsline.com/biology/2011122004440047.html

http://indiacurrentaffairs.org/protein-turns-harmless-grasshoppers-into-destructive-swarms/

http://www.myscience.me.uk/news/2011/new_insight_into_why_locusts_swarm-2011-cambridge

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-12-protein-implicated-grasshoppers-swarm.html
 
Description INsecTIME Open Day 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact INsecTIME is a Marie Curie Initial Training Network consortium of laboratories and SME's spanning seven EU countries, plus Israel, whose unifying theme is the molecular genetic study of insect biological timing.

In this openday activity, partners and students of the INsecTIME consortium, members of the University of Leicester Genetics department and invited speakers demonstrated to the general public how insects play a pivotal role in Genetics and biomedical research, with particular focus on biological clocks.

We contributed interactive experiments, live electrophysiology and displays about our research. This Open Day was primarily targeted at the general public regionally, but also served as a conference for delegates from all INsecTIME consortium partners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://insectime.org/main/community/outreach-symposium/
 
Description Independent Online - Locusts living in swarms 'develop bigger brains' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Independent Online edition covers our finding that the brains of swarming gregarious-phase locusts are much larger and of markedly different proportions compared with the brains of solitary-phase locusts in an article entitled,

"Locusts living in swarms 'develop bigger brains'" (tinyurl.com/ott-indy)

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/locusts-living-in-swarms-develop-bigger-brains-1983244.htm...
 
Description Interview for Belgian radio station Radio 1 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Belgian national radio station Radio 1 broadcast a feature on our finding that protein kinase A is critical for the transition to swarming behaviour in desert locusts (published in Ott el al. 2011, PNAS). The feature included an interview with our co-author Heleen Verlinden from the Catholic University of Leuven. Radio broadcast,

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.radio1.be/programmas/nieuwe-feiten/sprinkhanen-leren-om-zwerm-te-leven
 
Description Invited Talk at University of Graz / Austria 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I was invited to talk to faculty and students at the University of Graz, Austria, on

"Ganging up for a change: causes and consequences of swarming behaviour in Desert Locusts"

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Invited Talk at University of Sussex - Ott 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Ott gave an invited seminar talk on

"Phase polyphenism in the Desert Locust: Ganging up for a change"

to faculty and graduate students at the School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex.

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Invited Talk at University of Sydney - Rogers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact R gave an invited talk about our research on the mechanisms of phase change in locusts to academic staff and graduate students at the University of Sydney, Australia.

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Press Release on "New insight why locusts swarm" (UCam) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Ott worked with the University of Cambridge Office of Communications to issue a press release on our forthcoming paper, 'A critical role for protein kinase A in the acquisition of gregarious behavior in Desert Locust', by Ott et al., published in the PNAS Online Early Edition the week of December 19-23, 2011. Press release;

Images for use by the media;

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Press Release on "Sprinkhanen leren om in zwerm te leven" (Univ. Leuven, BE) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Our collaborators at the University of Leuven, Belgium, worked with their Communications Office to issue a press release on our forthcoming publication, "A critical role for protein kinase A in the acquisition of gregarious behavior in the Desert Locust" by Ott et al., published in the PNAS Online Early Edition the week of December 19-23, 2011. Press release, titled:

"Sprinkhanen leren om in zwerm te leven" (Locusts learn to live in the swarm);

Images for use by the media;

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Press Release on "Swarming locusts need larger brains" (UCam) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact SRO worked with the University of Cambridge Office of Communications to issue a press release on our forthcoming paper,

'Gregarious desert locusts have substantially larger brains with altered proportions compared with the solitarious phase' published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B on 26 May 2010 Press release

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Press release 'Bugs Life' 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Swidbert R. Ott worked with the University of Leicester Press Office:
Press release "Bugs life: the nerve cells that make locusts 'gang up'" relating to publication of
Rogers, Ott (2015) Differential activation of serotonergic neurons during short- and long-term gregarization of desert locusts. Proc. Biol. Sci., DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.2062

The press release was taken up by many online science news services and news feeds, including:
ScienceDaily (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141217090612.htm)
(e)ScienceNews (http://esciencenews.com/articles/2014/12/17/bugs.life.the.nerve.cells.make.locusts.gang)
PhysOrg (http://phys.org/news/2014-12-bugs-life-nerve-cells-locusts.html)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2014/december/bugs-life-the-nerve-cells-that-make-...
 
Description Press release phase learning 2013 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Swidbert R. Ott worked with the University of Leicester and University of Sussex Press Offices to release a Press Release,
"The company you keep shapes what you learn"
related to the publication of
Simões PM, Niven JE, Ott SR. Phenotypic transformation affects associative learning in the desert locust. Curr Biol. 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.10.016

The press release was picked up by many international science news services and news feeds, including
AAAS EurekaAlert (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-11/uol-tcy112013.php)
Phys.Org (http://phys.org/news/2013-11-locust-company.html)
ScienceDaily: two separate releases,
- https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121125816.htm
- https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140114090818.htm
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2013/november/the-company-you-keep-shapes-what-you...
 
Description Radio feature on WDR5 (Germany) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact German public radio station WDR5 featured our work in a 6 min radio feature on

"Warum Heuschrecken wandern" (Why locusts swarm)

in their science radio magazine "Leonardo"M Radio feature: available as audio-on-demand at

http://www.wdr5.de/sendungen/leonardo/s/d/26.05.2010-16.05/b/warum-heuschrecken-wandern.html

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL http://www.wdr5.de/sendungen/leonardo/s/d/26.05.2010-16.05/b/warum-heuschrecken-wandern.html
 
Description The Telegraph Online - Locusts grow bigger brains to deal with crowds 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Telegraph Online edition covers our finding that the brains of swarming gregarious-phase locusts are much larger and of markedly different proportions compared with the brains of solitary-phase locusts in an article entitled: "Locusts grow bigger brains to deal with crowds" (tinyurl.com/ott-tele) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7765330/Locusts-grow-bigger-brains-to-deal-with-crowds.html

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/7765330/Locusts-grow-bigger-brains-to-deal-with-crowds.html
 
Description UCam Research News - Why locusts swarm 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Cambridge University have selected our press release and press image accompanying Ott et al. PNAS 2011 to feature prominently on the Cambridge University Research News site:


This dissemination channel was picked up widely by news web sites across the world (see separate outcome for collated online coverage of the story) Webpage:

no actual impacts realised to date
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
URL http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/new-insight-into-why-locusts-swarm/
 
Description back2back productions 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Tom Matheson and Swidbert R. Ott provided scientific advice and live animals to the TV production company "back2back Productions" for
for episode 4, 'Gluttony' of the TV series 'Richard E Grant's 7 Deadly Sins of the Animal Kingdom'.

The episode was first broadcast on Discovery Channel and on Sky 3D, and is available on demand on iTunes and Amazon.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
URL https://skyvision.sky.com/Brand/1957/richard-e-grants-seven-deadly-sins-of-the-animal-kingdom