We've enjoyed a tremendous level of support, both financial and in kind, over the many years of this work. With our thanks, here is who they are.


Earthwatch provided us support and volunteers for five years, from 1995 to 2000. Earthwatch provided the first serious funding to enable me to make the transition from physiology of avian incubation to termites. The focus of this work was to measure actual flows of air in termite mounds, measurements of the internal environment of nest and mound, and a host of odd exploratory ideas. This work was based outside the town of Outjo, in northern Namibia, on the farm Namatubis. Earthwatch also funded a short stint of work on mounds of another termite species, Trinervitermes trinervoides, in South Africa near the tiny town of Kamieskroon, in Namaqualand.

National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation supported our work from 2003 to 206. Our NSF project was aimed at clarifying the connection between termite behavior and mound architecture. This phase also saw the shift of venue to the Omatjenne Agriculural Research Farm, near Otjiwarongo, in northern Namibia. NSF's support allowed us to begin to tease apart claims of social homeostasis in termite colonies, and to begin to clarify the role of water in mound building and social homeostasis.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK)

The EPSRC supported Rupert Soar's work on details of mound structure, from 20xx to 20yy. It provided for the engineering, development and implementation of the "slice-and-scan" project that produced the most detailed picture of termite mound structure that has ever been done.

U S Army Research Office

Since 2008, the US Army Research Office has supported our work on swarm building by termites. With their support, we have finally begun to clarify the complicated details of how termite swarms produce the coherent structure of the mound.

National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society provided support from 20xx to 20yy, to bolster our work on the role of water in mound building. This enabled us to carry out the definitive experiment that showed the connection between nest water balance and mound building.

Human Frontiers Science Program

The Human Frontiers Science Program (HFSP) provided four years of generous funding to extend our work to India, and to bring in several collaborators from the United States (Scott Turner, Maha Mahadevan), the United Kingdom (Rupert Soar), India (Sanjay Sane) and Namibia (Eugene Marais). We used these funds to explore basic questions in swarm cognition and the management of internal climates.

The National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health is supporting our further work on swarm cognition, through a grant to Drs Justin Werfel and Radhika Nagpal, both of Harvard University. We are carrying out work on expanding our understanding of swarm cognition and its role in building behavior. It allowed me to bring on to the project a post-doctoral researcher, Paul Bardunias

National Museum of Namibia

The National Museum of Namibia has been our principal in-country liaison, principally through the generous support of Dr Eugene Marais, Chief Curator.

Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Namibia

The Ministry of Agriculture Research Directorate has been an invaluable partner throughout this research, providing us with logistical and in kind support at the Omatjenne Agricultural Research Station.

Termite pages

Termite home



Social homeostasis

Nest temperature

Water homeostasis 1

Water homeostasis 2

Water homeostasis 3

Fungal symbiosis

Fungal symbiosis and water 1

Fungi and water homeostasis 2

Gas exchange 1

DC vs AC Gas Exchange

Gas exchange 2

Gas exchange 3

Gas exchange 4


Team Omatjenne