Note: IBRG welcomes presentations given by visitors of our affiliated labs. Guest presenters are indicated by an asterisk (*) in the schedule below.
|Akiko Matsumoto-Oda * (University of Ryukyus, Japan)|
|Suzan Murray * (Smithsonian National Zoo)|
|No meeting due to spring recess|
|Natalie Lemanski * (Rutgers)|
|Maggie Corley * (PhD candidate, U Penn)|
I am writing a monograph on Social Butterflies, culminating field research spanning 19 years, plus another 23 years of thinking, analysis, modeling, and trying to write. The central result is qualitative and quantitative description of behavior of the males of five species as they search for potential mates. The behaviors can be caricatured as: random vagrancy, accidental site-fidelity, trap-lining, territoriality, and resource-based leks (literal “singles’ bars”). At the conceptual level, I search for simple sensory cues and behavioral rules that can produce such varied behaviors. Book-ending these results are studies of sensory capabilities and biomechanics as they foster or constrain behavior, and plausible speculations about population consequences of random wandering versus restriction to particular pieces of real estate.
When I have difficulty writing a new chapter, it helps me to present its ideas and data in their homely larval form, the better to organize their metamorphosis into a lovely adult. So at IBRG, you will hear about the Viceroy and its territorial behavior, specifically:
(1) What cues can/do males use to choose habitat and perches that ensure potential visibility of females?
(2) Do individual males recognize particular pieces of real estate?
(3) Do they drive other males away?
I have measured the distances at which males respond to stimuli eliciting relevant behaviors, but I have yet to decide whether to begin or to end with this.
Card-carrying butterfly folk are about evenly divided between those who think that territorial behavior is already known in the Viceroy and its congeners, and those who think that territorial behavior has not been rigorously shown in any species of butterfly. Believers cite plausible answers to one or two of the preceding questions; skeptics need critical answers to all three. I seek your assessment of where I am on the spectrum.
(P.S. For hardcore IBRGers, at Beverage Hour, I can update my insights into the biomechanics of butterfly flight.)Back to schedule
Cooperatively breeding birds vary in how reproduction is divided among individuals, ranging from monopolization by a dominant pair (“high skew”) to equal sharing by co-breeders (“low skew”). Despite a plethora of theoretical models, the ecological and life-history factors that generate this variation remain poorly understood. Most studies have examined skew within a single species, making it difficult to identify variables with broad explanatory power. In this talk, I'll give an overview of a paper (currently in revision at Am Nat) that analyzes data from 83 species of cooperatively breeding birds, finding that kinship within the breeding group is a powerful predictor of reproductive sharing across species. Societies composed of nuclear families have significantly higher skew than those that contain unrelated members, a pattern that holds for both multi-male and multi-female groups. Within-species studies confirm this pattern, showing that unrelated subordinates of both sexes are more likely to breed than related subordinates are. These findings support the predictions of the original “concessions” models of reproductive skew, but they are also consistent with the hypothesis that the risk of incest in kin-based cooperative groups constrains reproduction by relatives. Given that subordinate reproduction may be limited by the availability of unrelated mates, future theoretical models should incorporate the possibility that inbreeding avoidance influences reproductive sharing.Back to schedule
The emergence and spread of savanna in Africa over the past 5 million years is often mentioned as a major factor in human evolution because, as human ancestors came out from forests to savanna, they encountered greater numbers of predators. However, there is little evidence regarding predation’s impact on behavior in non-human primates because of the difficulty of directly observing predation events. Today I will introduce an ongoing study of the influence of predation on behaviors, specifically changing sleeping sites, and mortality in a group of wild anubis baboons (Papio anubis). Our study was conducted at the Mpala Research Centre on the Laikipia Plateau, Kenya, with a group of anubis baboons that has been habituated and continuously monitored since 2010. Leopards are baboons’ main predator, and hunt baboons mostly at night, making the choice of sleeping sites relevant to survival. So: does the experience of predation influence the choices baboon groups make about where to sleep? Results showed that the group moved long distances and changed their sleeping sites on days immediately following predation events. Furthermore, I show that groups tended to avoid sleeping sites where predation occurred for a consistent period of time, indicating a period of predator memory in baboons.Back to schedule
Smithsonian's Global Health Program (SGHP) works with international partners to combat threats to wildlife, human, and ecosystem health and survival by addressing these challenges at their source: the human-wildlife interface. SGHP is based upon the One Health platform, which recognizes that the health of all species is intertwined and closely dependent upon each other. As such, SGHP scientists utilize a broad range of expertise (wildlife veterinarians, pathologists, biologists, research associates, and technicians) to address wildlife health concerns, investigate disease at the human/wildlife interface, and conduct international training programs in an effort to build intervention and response capacity worldwide. These efforts not only act upon threats identified in the present, but also to build the regional capacity to more quickly identify and respond to emerging threats in the future. By promptly joining local health responders with the tools and expertise they need, SGHP works to establish the capacity to prevent emerging infectious diseases at their source.Back to schedule
I am interested in modeling the behavior and evolution of social insects. Particularly, I am interested in what factors favor the evolution of eusociality in different taxa, what reproductive conflicts arise in eusocial colonies, and how such conflicts are resolved to maintain colony stability. I am also interested in collective decision making in insect colonies and how individual behavioral traits of colony members produce emergent behaviors at the colony level.Back to schedule
I will present pilot results and plans for an upcoming predator-prey experiment involving Northern pike and golden shiners. The goals of the experiment are to determine the spatial distribution of risk in a mobile animal group, as well as potential roles of experience, group size, and individual variation between predators. Feedback greatly appreciated.Back to schedule
Reproductive suppression is a means through which intragroup conflict over reproduction may be resolved. Pair-living and socially monogamous primates typically do not reproduce before leaving the natal group, but unlike cooperatively breeding taxa, neither inclusive fitness benefits nor inbreeding avoidance hypotheses may adequately explain their lack of reproduction prior to dispersal. Examining the mechanisms underlying reproductive suppression in pair-living primates is important for understanding the evolution and functioning of this phenomenon in these taxa. In this talk, I examine whether wild Azara’s owl monkeys (Aotus azarae) in the Argentinean Chaco establish reproductive maturity prior to dispersing. I utilized fecal extracts to characterize reproductive hormone profiles of 11 wild juvenile and subadult females using enzyme immunoassays. Subadult females showed hormone profiles indicative of ovulatory cycling and had mean PdG and E1G concentrations approximately five times higher than juveniles. Contrary to the inbreeding avoidance hypothesis, female owl monkeys do not delay puberty, but rather commence ovarian cycling while residing in their natal group. Even so, subadults appear to have a period during which they experience irregular, non-conceptive cycles prior to reproducing. Commencing these irregular cycles in the natal group may allow them to develop a state of suspended readiness, which could be essential to securing a mate, while avoiding the costs of ranging solitarily. Our results indicate that reproductive suppression in female owl monkeys is not due to endocrine suppression, and suggest that adults likely use behavioral mechanisms to prevent subadults from reproducing with unrelated adult males in their natal group.Back to schedule
Coordinated vocalizations, in which two or more individuals actively overlap or alternate their calls, are multifaceted signals that can represent both conflict and cooperation among signalers and are used in a wide variety of behavioral contexts across taxa. I am investigating the functions of coordinated vocalizations in greater anis, cooperatively breeding cuckoos that produce a vocally complex and enigmatic group chorus. Specifically, I am interested in how these choruses are used in communication between groups, and what biologically relevant information they may contain. I will give an overview of my research questions, and will present some preliminary data that I am using to explore different analytical methods to compare choruses. I’m looking forward to discussion and would appreciate feedback on my conceptual approach and on how to go about selecting suitable metrics to compare ani choruses from the scores of methods available.Back to schedule