This week EEB welcomes Dr. Jim Quinn from the Department of Biology, McMaster University:
Cooperation and conflict within groups of joint-nesting cooperative birds
The most common mode of cooperative breeding, “helper-at-the-nest” systems are typically made up of a dominant monogamous pair along with their adult offspring breeding on a traditional territory. Genetic monogamy on limited territories, resulting in adult helpers that are siblings to the offspring they help may be explained by kin selection. Nonetheless, helpers may gain individual fitness benefits by remaining on safe and limited territories, gaining practice at parental care, and inheriting territories.
My students and I study an uncommon system of cooperatively breeding joint-nesting birds that live in groups with multiple male and female breeders sharing a single nest. Pukeko are polygynandrous rails from New Zealand that live in kin groups in much of their range. Smooth-billed anis are socially monogamous cuckoos that live and breed in groups of non-kin. I will examine adaptations for group living, as well as conflicts within groups that lack monogamy or kinship.
The EEB Seminars run weekly, on Thursdays, in the EEB Lounge of the BioSciences Complex, Room 4338, from 12:30-1:30pm. Light refreshments are served starting at 12:15.