Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor Barbara Taborsky public lecture

11 September 2018, 5.15 PM - 11 September 2018, 7.00 PM

Professor Barbara Taborsky, University of Bern, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Switzerland

LT4, School of Chemistry

Experiments under the Surface: The Behavioural Ecology of Cooperative Breeding in Fish

Cooperative breeding, where individuals forego own reproduction to help raising offspring that are not their own (so-called ‘brood care helpers’), occurs not only in humans but also in a number of vertebrate species, both in birds and mammals, and in several groups of insects. Cooperative breeding, which entails self-sacrifice of own reproduction, is difficult to reconcile with evolutionary theory, which predicts that organism should maximize their life time reproductive success. It has been most often explained by kin selection, where helpers gain fitness benefits from helping related individuals.

In fish, cooperative breeding occurs only in a single subfamily of cichlids, the Lamprologines, where it has evolved independently at least 5-6 times. Interestingly, in these fish, helpers most often raise offspring that are unrelated to themselves. I will present a series of experiments done in the natural environment of these fish, the East African Lake Tanganyika that revealed why cooperative breeding in absence of kin selection can evolve.

Followed by a drinks reception.

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Experiments under the Surface: The Behavioural Ecology of Cooperative Breeding

in Fish

 

Contact information

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