The use of vertebrate model systems to study social evolution
15 - 18 August 2009, Adelboden, Bernese Alps
Prof. Tim Clutton-Brock, University of Cambridge, UK:
"Structure and Function in Mammal Societies".
Dr. Dik Heg, University of Bern, Switzerland:
"The Use of a Cichlid Fish Model to Study Social Evolution".
Prof. Marta Manser, University of Zurich, Switzerland:
"Coordination and communication in meerkats".
Prof. Jan Komdeur, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands:
"The use of long-term pedigree data to understand the dynamics of adult traits in wild populations"
Dr. David S. Richardson, University of East Anglia, UK:
"Alturism, infidelity and grandparents; cooperative breeding in the Seychelles".
Dr. Kelly Stiver, Yale University, USA.
Organizer: Prof. Michael Taborsky, Department Behavioural Ecology, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern
To understand the evolution of complex social organization (including structured groups, cooperation between group members, task sharing, individualized relationships, divergent social roles) we need suitable model systems that (1) dispose of the required complexity of social organization, (2) allow to observe and measure relevant traits and their fitness effects in the field, and (3) enable performance of crucial experiments to unravel underlying ultimate and proximate mechanisms of advanced sociality. Among vertebrates, there are a few model systems that fulfil these criteria, like meerkats, Seychelles warblers and Lake Tanganyika cichlids. The aim of this symposium is to provide state-of-the-art insight into the mechanisms underlying advanced social behaviour by bringing together experts studying respective model systems in mammals, birds and fishes.
Structure of the symposium
Invited speakers and other participants who wish to contribute to the theme of the symposium will present relevant results and overviews of the(ir) research on the respective model systems. In the discussion, we shall emphasize the involved ultimate and proximate mechanisms and attempt to compare them between different vertebrate taxa to understand the importance of intrinsic differences in their biology. We shall further discuss the pros and cons of the respective model systems to unravel general principles of social evolution. We expect that at the end of this symposium the participants will dispose of a good understanding of some of the most complex and best studied model systems of social evolution.
The symposium will take place in Adelboden, an alpine village in the Bernese Alps. The venue is the high-altitude holiday resort Crea Hotel Adelboden that combines the convenience of a nice setting in a breathtaking landscape with the practical amenities of a well-proven seminar venue. It is within easy reach by public transport from any Swiss city.
For all details of the meeting and Registration please look here
1 - 2 ECTS can be obtained, depending on the contribution of the participant