Lab Report Summary

Wen, P., Ji, B.-Z., & Sillam-Dussès, D. (2014). Trail communication regulated by two trail pheromone components in the fungus-growing termite Odontotermes formosanus (Shiraki). PLoS ONE, 9(3), e90906.

This article was about the termite species Odontotermes formosanus, their pheromones and the behaviors that they activate.  The scientist were looking for three different components while conducing this lab, the chemical nature, deposition, and response regulation of the termites during their search for food. They also wanted to know who was secreting which pheromone. Trail pheromones DDE and DOE were tested in different concentrations to see which amount of each would provoke a certain behavior. Scientist used extracted pheromones from the termites as well as identical synthetic compounds to lay trails to see what exactly activated a behavior. The results from the experiment show that workers secrete both DDE and DOE. In regards to which pheromone caused each behavior, DDE tells other termites to initiate a search for food, while DOE both recruits termites from the nest and leads them where the food is.

There were several different experiments going on in the article and it was a little confusing. It took about three times before the text started to make sense. The organization of the report was not in the standard lab report order. It went straight from the introduction to the results to the discussion then to methods and materials. At first I tried to read it in the standard lab report structure but it didn’t make a lot of sense so I just read it as it was written. The discussion was only a paragraph which I liked because it was short. I read this one because I wanted to know what the make up of the pheromones were, and they may have mentioned it, but I did not understand enough of it to tell you for sure if they did or not. In the end, even though it was a little confusing to follow along, with lots of words that I have never seen before, I did find the article interesting.


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