This week EEB welcomes Dr. Ivana Schoepf from the Department of Biology, Queens University:
When to live alone and when to live in groups? A field experiment of the habitat saturation hypothesis
Animals display highly diverse social systems ranging from species that live solitarily to species that live in complex social groups, such as cooperative breeding species with helpers at the nest. Several studies have aimed to understand why social groups form and how they are maintained. Theory predicts that group-living can arise as a consequence of ecological constraints, while reproductive competition between group members should lead to increased costs of group-living, and thus promotes solitary-living. Several studies have confirmed the “ecological constraints“ model (also known as the Habitat Saturation Hypothesis), but field experimental tests of the reproductive competition hypothesis are lacking. Here I will present the results of a field manipulation experiment performed on a wild African mammal aimed at testing these hypotheses.
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.