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Evolutionary mechanisms of cooperation and competition: an integrative approach

English title Evolutionary mechanisms of cooperation and competition: an integrative approach
Applicant Taborsky Michael
Number 122511
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Ethologische Station Hasli Institut für Ökologie und Evolution Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Ecology
Start/End 01.01.2009 - 31.12.2011
Approved amount 714'595.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Ecology
Zoology

Keywords (3)

evolution of sociality; cooperation; alternative reproductive tactics

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Evolutionary mechanisms of cooperation and competition: an integrative approachOur research focuses on evolutionary mechanisms of cooperation and competition. By using an integrative approach, we aim to understand these prime components of sociality at ultimate and proximate levels. We employ theoretical and empirical means towards this end, combining analytical and simulation approaches, experimental and observational methods, and empirical research in the field and under controlled laboratory conditions. Our model systems include (1) Lake Tanganyika cichlids exhibiting some of the most complex social organizations known among vertebrates, and (2) Norway rats that show different levels of reciprocity - mechanisms the importance of which is highly underrated in animal behaviour research. We hypothesize that previous social experience shapes the behaviour of individuals in future interactions, irrespective of the identity of social partners. We shall continue previous attempts of our group to unravel evolutionary and physiological processes responsible for such social feedback mechanisms. We shall extend our study of evolutionary stability of generalized reciprocity by analytical and individual based modelling techniques, and test for the influence of a variation of costs on the propensity to cooperate when no direct reward is provided. In addition, we aim to study hormonal mechanisms involved in the regulation of effects caused by social experience. Furthermore, we hypothesize that ecological factors and conditions intrinsic to a species’ biology shape the social interactions and degree of agonistic and cooperative behaviour, including altruism, which has important effects on the evolution of social systems. In this context, we shall obtain long-term fitness measures in the field (cichlids) and study the importance of individual differences to cope with the environment (cichlids, rats) and to learn (rats). Overall, we aim to move towards developing a comprehensive framework of cooperation and advanced social organization, and this project will greatly help us to proceed in this direction.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
157884 Supercritical fluid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry as a new analytical tool for plant sciences 01.06.2015 R'EQUIP
118464 Evolutionary mechanisms of cooperation and competition: an integrative approach 01.01.2008 Project funding
138660 Evolutionary mechanisms of cooperation and competition: an integrative approach 01.01.2012 Project funding
137108 Proximate and ultimate causes of Cooperation 01.05.2012 ProDoc

Abstract

Evolutionary mechanisms of cooperation and competition: an integrative approachOur research focuses on evolutionary mechanisms of cooperation and competition. By using an integrative approach, we aim to understand these prime components of sociality at ultimate and proximate levels. We employ theoretical and empirical means towards this end, combining analytical and simulation approaches, experimental and observational methods, and empirical research in the field and under controlled laboratory conditions. Our model systems include (1) Lake Tanganyika cichlids exhibiting some of the most complex social organizations known among vertebrates, and (2) Norway rats that show different levels of reciprocity - mechanisms the importance of which is highly underrated in animal behaviour research. We hypothesize that previous social experience shapes the behaviour of individuals in future interactions, irrespective of the identity of social partners. We shall continue previous attempts of our group to unravel evolutionary and physiological processes responsible for such social feedback mechanisms. We shall extend our study of evolutionary stability of generalized reciprocity by analytical and individual based modelling techniques, and test for the influence of a variation of costs on the propensity to cooperate when no direct reward is provided. In addition, we aim to study hormonal mechanisms involved in the regulation of effects caused by social experience. Furthermore, we hypothesize that ecological factors and conditions intrinsic to a species’ biology shape the social interactions and degree of agonistic and cooperative behaviour, including altruism, which has important effects on the evolution of social systems. In this context, we shall obtain long-term fitness measures in the field (cichlids) and study the importance of individual differences to cope with the environment (cichlids, rats) and to learn (rats). Overall, we aim to move towards developing a comprehensive framework of cooperation and advanced social organization, and this project will greatly help us to proceed in this direction.
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